Friends, neighbors and family of Michael Carlo gathered at a Whitestone corner Saturday afternoon to honor the lost firefighter in a street renaming ceremony.
Carlo, a native of Whitestone, was one of 343 firefighters who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He was assigned to Engine Co. 230 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
On Saturday a sign reading Firefighter Michael Carlo Avenue was unveiled at the corner of 149th Street and 8th Avenue.
Having grown up down the block, Carlo was no stranger to the corner.
In the early 1980s, he crashed his motor bike into the windshield of a car parked at the very same intersection.
Danny Papa, the owner of the car, heard the accident and leapt out of his business, Whitestone Dental Lab.
He went right through the windshield of my brand new 1982 Firebird, Papa said. His arm was bleeding. He said, Dont tell my father, hell kill me. Ill work it off.
Papa took up Carlo on his offer. For two years, Carlo worked at the Whitestone Dental Lab while attending Bayside High School. The two remained friends ever since.
Carlos parents did not find out the truth about his job at the lab until after his death.
My parents thought he was a great kid going out getting a job, said Rob Carlo, Michael Carlos older brother, who is also a firefighter. They didnt know the real reason.
Ever since he was a teenager, Michael Carlo was a fan of motorcycles and boating, his brother said.
He had four or five different boats, from speedboats to sailboats, Rob Carlo said.
After graduating from high school, Michael Carlo worked for a roofing company. He and his brother trained together for the firefighters exam.
We both took the physical on the same day, Rob Carlo said. We both got 100s on the physical.
The two brothers remained close as they grew older. They played together on the Fire Departments volleyball team and traveled down to the Caribbean every year to take sailing classes.
Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) helped arrange the street renaming ceremony.
Hes one of many individuals who have enabled us to enjoy democracy and freedom, the councilman said.
A memorial ceremony was held in Carlos honor on Nov. 30, 2001 at Holy Trinity Church in Whitestone. The firefighters remains, however, have not been recovered, and his family has not held a funeral.
Friends and family called the street sign an appropriate memorial for the firefighters.
Its fitting, Papa said. He went from a cool kid to a brave man, Ill tell you that.
Rob Coppola, who grew up with Michael Carlo, said Carlo inspired him to become a firefighter.
If I know Mike, every time you drive past that sign, he would want you to think about all the good things in your life, Coppola said.
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.
©2003 Community News Group
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