Dyker Heights business owners host 9/11 memorial service at McKinley Park

Children wave flags at the memorial service at McKinley Park.
Brooklyn Paper

A pair of Dyker Heights business partners held a memorial service at the neighborhood’s McKinley Park over Labor Day weekend to honor those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Across the street is my old junior high school, Mckinley [and] on Sept. 11, 2001, I was actually in social studies when this happened,” said Jessica Harrison, co-owner of E&J Boutique. “Being a kid at that time it was just a scary moment, and we just can’t forget what happened.” 

Harrison and Erick Feuer, the co-owners of the popular antique shop on Fort Hamilton Parkway, say they sprung into action to host the candlelight vigil at the park after officials announced the city’s traditional 9/11 light tribute in Lower Manhattan would not go on this year.

A child prays during a candlelight vigil in Dyker Heights on Sunday night.Brooklyn Paper

“When we heard that the lights were canceled originally in Manhattan, it was a really low blow for New Yorkers,” Feuer said. “The lights are a way to remember the horrible things that happened at 9/11 and how we came together as a country and became one and really overcame the evil that was there that day.” 

Despite a quick reversal of the city’s decision to call off the lights, the pair decided to go ahead with their memorial service on Sunday, Sept. 6 at the Fort Hamilton Parkway greenspace. The pair eventually partnered with the Brooklyn Tea Party and the Dyker Heights Civic Association, who invited local leaders and other speakers, to bring the event to life.

“We have to continue to tell the story of 9/11, the truth of 9/11 and remain vigilant to stand watch over those who would try to shut our lights down,” said Republican District Leader Liam McCabe at the event.

McCabe was joined at the memorial by a slew of the borough’s Republican representatives of the present, past and possible future — including Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, former southern Brooklyn State Sen. Marty Golden, southern Brooklyn State Senate candidate Vito Bruno, and mayoral candidate Bill Pepitone.

“I am so honored to be here with not only with first responders but members of the community who vowed to never forget and are here tonight to ensure that those lives we lost on 9/11 and those we have lost since as a result of medical conditions are never forgotten,” Malliotakis said. “I am proud to be here with this community and I am glad to see the turnout tonight to ensure that New York City and America know Brooklyn is not forgotten.”

On Friday, which marks the 19th anniversary of the 2001 attacks, groups of politicians and local community groups throughout Brooklyn will host various other events to commemorate the solemn occasion.