Brooklyn Bridge Park won’t name lawn for photojournalist killed in Libya

Chris Hondros
Photojournalist Chris Hondros is pictured here in front of a burning building in Misrata, Libya. The photo was taken on April 18, 2011, two days before he was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). (Credit: Kate Orlinsky/Getty Images.)

Despite an apparent outpouring of support for a proposal first put forward by Wall Street Journal photo editor Patrick Whelan, efforts to name a Brooklyn Bridge Park lawn in memory of photojournalist Chris Hondros have been quashed, as the officials behind the lawn-naming contest state that they will not consider naming the space after an individual.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster said they received over 200 e-mails about Hondros. 

Hondros was born in Queens and lived in Brooklyn, most recently in DUMBO, the same neighborhood in which the park is located. He was killed on assignment in Misrata, Libya on April 20, 2011, while covering the rebel uprising. Metro has gathered some of his photos from Libya in a slideshow on the left.

That Hondros’ birthday is this Thursday, March 14, and the second anniversary of his death is next month, contributed to the urgency and excitement to name the lawn for him, Whelan told Photo District News.

Webster said that when the e-mails about Hondros started coming in, they realized their intentions with the contest “hadn’t been clear enough.”

“What we were looking for was a name that was expressive of the park and in line with names for other sections of the park, like the Harbor View Lawn or the Spiral Tidal Pool,” Webster said.

The e-mails about Hondros were so moving, though, that they felt compelled to reply.

“We realized that we had raised expectations of doing something that we felt like we couldn’t fulfill,” Webster explained.

Webster’s e-mail response explained their original intentions, and went on to say that “there are so very many deserving and special Brooklyn residents to memorialize and pay tribute to… as such, the naming of one lawn for one person does not seem fully inclusive of the larger community.”

Photographer Alan Chin told PDN that the message was “disingenuous.”

“All kinds of parks and parts of parks are named for all kinds of people,” he added.

Chin referenced the Louis J. Valentino Park in his neighborhood, named for a local firefighter who died in a burning building in 1996, and PDN added a number of “city-run parks in Brooklyn alone” including McCarren Park, Maria Hernandez Park, J.J. Byrne Payfround, or the Lt. Federico Narvarez Tot Lot, which were named for a state senator, a city council member, a Building Department clerk and a New York police lieutenant respectively.

But Webster stood firm on that position.

“There’s usually a much more involved process around doing that and in this instance we were speaking of a very small lawn within the park and wanting to stay within the framework of names that were suggestive of park features,” she said.

Webster said they will not consider naming the park for Hondros, or any person.

However, the e-mail sent to some of Hondros’ supporters stated that “as Brooklyn Bridge Park continues to grow and mature, we will be considering how we might best honor the memories of those we have lost,” and promised to reach out to the Chris Hondros Fund, established after his death to support emerging photojournalists,  ”to see if there might be a more fitting way to pay tribute to Chris and his work.”

Christina Piaia, President of the Chris Hondros Fund and Hondros’ fiancé, said she hoped a physical space to “gather in [Hondros'] name” could be established, and “that the group of friends that started this and the Fund can take a role in that, too.”

“We got a lot of lovely notes about times people spent with Chris in New York,” Piaia said. “We were disappointed by the news, but we’re hopeful that this can build momentum to continue Chris’ legacy in other ways.”

 

Benefit and silent auction to come in June

Plans are underway for the Chris Hondros Fund’s second annual benefit and silent auction, where the Chris Hondros and Getty Images Award will be bestowed to an emerging photojournalist.

The event will take place sometime in June of this year, Piaia said.

Last year’s event featured Lara Logan from CBS as a guest speaker, and the first ever Christ Hondros and Getty Images award was given to photojournalist Andrea Bruce. The Fund is in the process of selecting a team of nominators to choose this year’s winner in the spring.

Piaia said she is looking forward to this year’s event, after the success of last year.

“Being in that room with so many people who loved him was a very cathartic experience,” she said.

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

Local

Paint Nite: Get drunk and make a painting…

At Paint Nite, New Yorkers can drink and make a painting at a New York City bar.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.