New York Street Named For Child Killed In Newtown Attack
A street sign in New York now bears the name of a little boy killed in the December elementary school shooting in Newtown.
It’s right across from his favorite subway train in the Queens neighborhood where he spent one year of his short life.
Six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler died alongside 19 other first graders when a lone gunman walked into sandy hook elementary last December and started shooting.
Ben loved swimming, the Beatles, soccer and — perhaps most of all — the 7 train.
A street across from that train now bears his name.
“Congressman Crowley said: ‘Maybe we could name the subway station after Benjamin Wheeler.’ And I said: ‘That’s a great idea. I support it 100 percent, but the MTA can be a little funny about things sometime,’ ” said Jimmy Van Bramer, a city councilman.
Instead, those leaders settled on a street sign.
Ben’s older brother Nate did the unveiling while his mother, Francine, watched and his father, Dave, compared the family’s departed first grader to luminaries whose names oversee other Queens streets.
“Ben didn’t serve in the Second World War and help liberate a concentration camp and live to be 100 like Anthony Camenetti did. Ben was 6. He had just learned how to tie his shoes. That was his major accomplishment and, frankly, he hadn’t really perfected that either,” said Dave Wheeler.
That mix of humor and sadness pervaded much of the hour-long ceremony.
A U.S. congressman sang Ben’s favorite song,”Here Comes the Sun.”
Those who knew Ben remembered his intelligence, curiosity and kindness. And the family whose son called Sunnyside home for barely a year, thanked the community and asked that Benjamin Wheeler Place point out not only where passersby are now but also where they can go in the future.