The neglected World War I memorial in Douglaston is shabby no more.
With some strong prodding from Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), the 66-year-old monument was cleaned and the area around it spruced up by various city agencies, including the departments of Transportation and Parks and the Economic Development Corp.
At a ceremony Thursday at the site, in a Greenstreet triangle near the Douglaston Long Island Rail Road station, Halloran showed off the improvements. “It’s been cleaned, power washed, oxidation removed and buffed,” he said. “The plants have been cut back, too.”
Participating in the short ceremony were several members of veterans groups from Douglaston, Auburndale and Little Neck.
Halloran brought the issue to the city’s attention in April and chastised agencies for trying to pass the buck in taking responsibility for the restoration. He indicated the site belongs to the DOT and Parks maintains the plantings.
The bronze plaque on the memorial lists the names of 60 men who died in the Great War. “They deserve nothing less,” Halloran said, referring to the restoration.
He praised Claudia Filomena, one of the mayor’s Queens directors of the Community Affairs Unit, who helped facilitate the interagency cooperation. “The city will keep maintaining it,” the councilman said. “It’s far easier to get the city to maintain something” once initial work is done.
He also believes the DOT will repair the crumbling curb cut near the monument.
The memorial was installed in the triangle that is also home to a historic weeping beech tree, whose age is estimated at between 125 and 160 years and which may be the oldest surviving weeping beech in the United States, according to horticultural experts.
Before “Taps” was played, Halloran added: “You learn so much about a place by the way it preserves the memories of its fallen heroes. By restoring this monument, we have thanked them one final time for their sacrifice.”