Hoehm Town Happenings: A Grand Opening Ceremony: West Nyack Hamlet Green and Firefighter Memorial Park

It’s really hard to believe that the September 11th terrorist attacks occurred twenty-two years ago. Most of us who lived through that day will never forget it. Twenty-two years is a long time, and when you factor in the thousands of people who have died from 9/11 related illness, it is clear the after effects of this terrible event are still occurring. For many, September 11th has become more of a historical event, particularly for the younger generation who were not yet born or old enough to remember.  That is why it is so important for us to honor the heroes that rose to the occasion on that day and in the days after. That is why I am so enormously proud of our new park in West Nyack, which we will soon formally dedicate and recall some local heroes that will never be forgotten.

I invite all Clarkstown residents to join us on September 10th, from 12pm to 3pm, for the official opening ceremony of the “West Nyack Hamlet Green and Firefighter Memorial Park”.This beautiful, new 4-acre park has been open to the public since the spring, but some important features had yet to be delivered and installed. We now have those pieces in place, and we are ready to properly dedicate the park to our bravest of heroes.  Rarely in government, do we have an opportunity such as this to forever commemorate the sacrifice and service of so many. The official opening ceremony will unveil 2 new memorial statues at the center of the park, dedicated to our fallen firefighters. One is a life-size of 9/11 heroes and FDNY Rescue 3 members Thomas and Daniel Foley, and the other is a replica helmet of former West Nyack Fire Chief Kenneth Matero. Thomas Foley died in the September 11th terrorist attack and Daniel Foley died in 2020 as a result of 9/11 related illness.

Both brothers were also members of the West Nyack Fire Department. West Nyack Fire Chief Matero died as a result of fighting a fire in 1974 that occurred at an Italian Restaurant located where the Palisades Center Mall now sits. A third pedestal will be the new home of a steel beam recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.  This beam was previously displayed in the Hamlet Green, but will now be featured as part of the new Firefighter Memorial.  The park also includes a firefighters monument near the entrance to the parking lot, with a plaque that has Saint Florian‘s prayer, also commonly known as the firefighter’s prayer.  This monument and plaque dedicates the entire park to all firefighters; living and dead, volunteer and paid, who have served and/or lived within our community. We are forever grateful for these everyday heroes who protect life and property.

One of the busiest attractions of the new park has been the fully accessible, rubberized surface playground and adult exercise space.  The park also features newly created wetlands surrounded by a 1,150 foot walking trail and boardwalk. There is a new gazebo with benches located on the lawn of the hamlet green, which has already hosted three concerts over the summer. Picnic tables and a decorative chiming clock are other features that have been added to the park. This very special opening day will kick off at 12pm with a firefighter’s parade starting at the West Nyack Firehouse and concluding by 12:30pm in front of the park. A brief ceremony will then take place unveiling the Foley statue and Matero plaque. Members of the Foley and Matero families will be in attendance, along with dignitaries from the FDNY and local government officials.

Immediately following the ceremony, at approximately 1pm, the celebration will continue with a concert by Sheridan Ruitin, a local  Irish band, and hamburgers and hot dogs from Bailey’s Restaurant. In addition, the West Nyack Fire Department will host people at the firehouse after the concert.  This event will be a wonderful family celebration to honor these heroes and formally dedicate the new park.  I am extremely proud of all the work that we’ve done since I’ve been Supervisor, which includes investing in over $50 million worth of infrastructure improvements from our pools to our community centers, to adding over 50 acres of open space.  However, I can think of nothing greater than this new memorial park, which is the second new park that we’ve added in the Town of Clarkstown in the past two years. The park itself is absolutely beautiful and the commemoration of our local heroes, and the special recognition of our firefighters, is perhaps the single most important thing that has been done during my administration these past eight years.
Please join us on September 10th, as Clarkstown honors our fallen bravest and commemorates all firefighters.

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