Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato Calls on Parks, Buildings and Environment Departments to Preserve Flagpole Honoring Fallen Firefighter

“Asking the relevant City departments to come through for Belle Harbor"
February 6, 2017

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway) today called on the City’s Parks, Buildings and Environmental Conservation Department in a letter to work together with residents of Belle Harbor to preserve a threatened flagpole, which commemorates local Fire Lieutenant Joe Agnello, who died on 9/11.

"The community in Belle Harbor came together to mourn one of their own, and this is how they chose to honor Lieutenant Agnello's sacrifice," said Pheffer Amato. "The mourning and remembrance of the community must be respected, within the parameters of what's possible for the City to do. I am asking the relevant City departments to come through for this community."

The flagpole has been targeted for removal by the NYC Parks Department, on the grounds that a proper permit for its placement was never secured, and that it might interfere with the planned route of an upcoming baffle wall, a structure used to protect Belle Harbor from future storm damage.

"While everybody places storm safety first and foremost, there are ways to continue this process without disruption that respect Lieutenant Agnello, his family, and his community," said Pheffer Amato. "I call on the Parks Department to temporarily suspend removal of the pole, for the Department of Buildings to inspect the pole to ensure it is sound, and for DEC to grant permission to the Parks Department to pave around flagpole if necessary, considering its preexisting status to the baffle wall. If for whatever reason the flagpole must be moved, there must be an alternative, and as much help as they can provide with replacing this important and deeply personal symbol of our community's sacrifice."