Category: Archive

A street named Nee…

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The family of Luke Nee, a bonds dealer for Cantor Fitzgerald who was killed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, have pleaded with a Bronx member of the City Council, Joel Rivera, to propose the introduction of a bill that would allow them to put up a memorial street sign in the neighborhood where their son grew up – but to no avail.
The proposed location of the street sign on Minerva place, between 198th and 199th streets in the Bronx, lies three blocks south of the house where Nee grew up and where his Galway-born parents, John and Mary, still live. As teenagers, Nee and his friends would hang out in that area, becoming known locally as “The Minerva boys.”
A local Community Board approved the family’s application in September 2005, but without Rivera’s input, their request has been stuck in limbo for more than two years.
“I got in contact with Rivera’s office, I sent him all the information we had,” according to John O’Keefe, who is married to Nee’s sister Pat.
“He said we had to get approval from the Community Board. He’s been putting us off ever since. I followed up with faxes, phone calls, I sent him the information again, I sent articles mentioning Luke in the New York Times. They just kept saying they never received the information. I sent copies to their office in the Bronx and Manhattan. It’s very unprofessional.”
The information O’Keefe sent included an article in the Daily News from April 26, 2004, about a bill New York City Council had approved, allowing some 89 names to added to street names around New York, including 44 victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“He’s inefficient, he’s not responding to the needs of his constituents,” said Pat O’Keefe, the dead man’s sister.
“It’s a very simple request – we’re asking for one block. It’s rich in memories of Luke and my family. We don’t understand why he’s being so crass and so callous and so uncompassionate. My parents are getting older, with the fifth anniversary approaching it would mean a lot to them,” she said.
In all the time that has passed, Rivera has never once sat down with the family, or even spoken to them in person, according to John O’Keefe.
“I’ve only spoken to his chief of staff and his aides. What is his problem?” he asked.
When contacted by the Echo, Mario Matos, Rivera’s deputy Chief of Staff, said that O’Keefe had spoken to the Chief of Staff. However, after speaking to the Echo, Matos said he called Community Board 7, who allegedly told him they were not aware of the Nee families’ submission.
“All I can tell you is that on our part, we have not gotten anything from the Community Board, and Community Board 7 are telling us they haven’t received anything,” Matos said.
Nee, who was 44, was able to call his wife Irene from the tower before he died on the day of their 19th wedding anniversary. Their only son Patrick, now 16, was in school at the time.
“He was the pet of the block. He was great,” according to Mary Nee, who immigrated with her husband to New York in 1951.
“It would be nice and all his friends would love it. It’s a small thing. He deserves it. He was the only one of his friends who got caught, thank God. There’s not a day goes by when we don’t miss him. It’s just one little street, one little plaque,” she said.

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