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Avella tours streets renamed after 9/11

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For the seventh year in a row, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) led a motorcade through northeast Queens Tuesday, stopping along the way to pay recognition at streets that have been named after 9/11 heroes.

Six new street names were added to the list of stops — 22 in total — this year, leading the procession of cars adorned with American flags zigzagging its way from College Point to Little Neck on the rainy morning.

At each stop, members of the senator’s staff laid a wreath at the intersections named after firefighters, police officers and service members as friends, family and community members looked on.

Avella would then share a memory of the deceased and ask for a moment of silence, after which the procession would file back into their vehicles and proceed to the next stop.

At Pfc. James E. Prevete Avenue, on the corner of 147th Place and 5th Avenue, Avella remembered the U.S. Army soldier who was killed in Iraq in October 2004.

“He is just one more example of our fellow neighbors who served our country to defend against those who would attack our country,” Avella said of the lifelong Whitestone resident.

He stood alongside Prevete’s mother, Jean, who said she wanted people to remember that her son had died doing what he believed in.

“I think it’s great the people honor him and recognize his service. People are quick to bad-mouth the country and those who serve,” she said of her son, who was killed at the age of 22.

She said incidents such as the helicopter crash that killed 30 service members in Afghanistan last month remind her that many young men and women continue to pay the sacrifice her son made.

But not every member of the motorcade was honoring a lost friend or family member.

At Firefighter Michael Carlo Avenue, at the corner of 149th Street and 8th Avenue, Briarwood resident Richie Lipkowitz said he did not lose anyone on 9/11, but he had attended the senator’s motorcade last year and found it to be moving.

“I didn’t lose anybody,” he said. “You see the names all the time in your daily life. Like Battalion Chief Lawrence Stack, I remember seeing his name in the news all the time.”

On the corner of 11th Avenue and 123rd Street, Battalion Chief Lawrence T. Stack Street was the motorcade’s third stop. Later in the morning it stopped at Firefighter Carl F. Asaro Way.

Asaro? joined the FDNY in 1987 and after he joined the Screen Actors Guild he had parts on “Law & Order” and “Spider-Man,” Avella said on the corner of Willets Point Boulevard and 147th Street.

“They all had lives and they had dreams and aspirations. He wanted to be an actor,” said Avella.

Steve Heller was not a part of the motorcade but came out in the rain once he saw it stop outside his home.

He shared the story of his friend, Robert, who worked at a firehouse on Houston Street.

“He rushed in when everyone rushed out. I went to the Giuliani service and his family member got a boot. I don’t think it was his boot,” he said. “It’s a good thing that these people are being remembered.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 7:09 pm, September 14, 2011
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