Middle Village pays honor to WTC victim with street

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Middle Village resident Dianne Signer was a woman who above all else loved her family, relatives said.

So it was no surprise that a large group of Signer's cousins, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers as well as her mother and stepfather turned out for a Sunday afternoon street renaming ceremony in her honor.

The clan joined friends and neighbors in commemorating Signer, who was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, at the intersection of 65th Drive and 75th Place.

Signer worked as a secretary for the investment firm of Fred Alger Management, which was on the 93rd floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center.

Signer, 32, was supposed to be married on Sept. 16, 2001.

"We had the suits ready, everything," her brother John recalled. "Instead of the wedding, we had a memorial."

Signer was three months' pregnant at the time of her death. She had always dreamed of one day starting a family of her own, her relatives said.

While she did not live to give birth to her child, Signer enjoyed spending time with her nieces and nephews.

"At all of our parties, the kids would play with Dianne all day long, as if she were a big kid," said her older brother Kenny.

Kenny Signer said his sister loved to dance and was popular.

"When she came into the room, she'd pretty much light it up," Kenny said. "That bright red hair and those blue eyes, she was easy to remember."

After the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, Councilman Dennis Gallagher (R-Middle Village) told the crowd that he had spoken with many families about Sept. 11 at similar ceremonies in his district.

"The support mechanisms they received from the people in the community is what helped them get through one of the most trying times in their lives," he said.

Assemblyman Michael Cohen (D-Forest Hills) said the street sign would serve as a reminder of Americans' struggle to keep their freedoms.

Dianne "was a casualty on the front line of this new war against people who want to take away our freedom," he said.

Gail Malone, Dianne's aunt, told the crowd about March 23, 1969, the day Dianne was born.

Already the mother of three sons, Patricia Signer secretly prayed for a daughter, Malone said.

Anxious to find out whether her sister had gotten her wish, Malone repeatedly called the hospital to find out the child's sex and was told she would have to wait for the answer.

Finally, one nurse said, "I cannot give you that information over the phone, but I can tell you that your sister is tickled pink."

Since that moment, Malone always felt close to her niece, she said.

"It was impossible not to fall in love with Dianne," she said.

After being presented with a replica of the street sign bearing her daughter's name, Patricia Signer said she was very happy to have the sign put up down the block from her home.

"They did this in honor of Dianne," she said. "It makes you feel good. It's a beautiful thing."

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.

Posted 7:22 pm, October 10, 2011
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