Posts Tagged ‘September 11’

New York City’s last unsolved murder of 9/11

September 7, 2020

Nineteen years ago on 9/11, a total of 2753 people were killed at the World Trade Center by Al Qaeda terrorists.

But one more person was murdered on that terrible day, shot to death on a dark Brooklyn street just before midnight.

Almost two decades later, amid yearly tributes to the victims at the World Trade Center, his death on a Bed-Stuy block is still unsolved.

The victim was Polish immigrant Henryk Siwiak, a 46-year-old father of two. Siwiak came to the United States 11 months earlier looking for work, according to a WNYC report from 2011.

Siwiak was staying near his sister in Far Rockaway. On the morning of 9/11, he arrived at the Lower Manhattan construction site where he had been working, but the site had closed due to the terrorist attacks.

“So he walked to Brooklyn and sometime later went to a Polish employment agency,” states WNYC. “There he was offered a job: to clean a Pathmark supermarket in Flatbush. The pay was around $10 an hour and he would start that same night.”

He went home to Queens and called his wife. “He borrowed a map from his landlady,” Siwiak’s wife, Ewa, later told WNYC. “I spoke to her later. She tried to stop him, told him it wasn’t a good neighborhood, it was not a good time to go there, and definitely not on that particular day.”

That night, Siwiak took an A train and got off at Utica Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which was unfortunately a long way from the supermarket.

Apparently trying to find the store, he ended up on Albany Avenue between Fulton and Decatur Streets (above right, the block in 2019).

At 11:45 pm, residents heard gunshots. Siwiak was hit in the chest. He made it up the stoop at 119 Decatur Street (above left, in 2011) and rang the doorbell before dying, the New York Times reported in 2011.

The gunman got away. Was it a robbery? Money in Siwiak’s pockets had not been taken, according to the Times.

“His widow has theorized that Siwiak was targeted in the aftermath of the attack because he looked Middle Eastern, with a dark complexion, and spoke with an accent,” states the Daily News article. “And she noted that her husband wore an army fatigue jacket and camouflage pants on the night he was blown away.”

To this day, police still have not said they have any leads. (At right, 119 Decatur Street in 2019)

His case remains cold, his death a mystery overshadowed by the horrors of 9/11 and memorialized by no one outside his family.

[Top image: Wikipedia; second image: Google 2019; third image: Todd Heisler/NYT; fourth image: Google 2019]

New York’s other deadly September 11 bombing

August 5, 2013

BrianmurrayThe hijacking happened on the evening of September 10, 1976.

After a TWA flight took off from LaGuardia for Chicago, a group of Croatian nationals masquerading as passengers handed a note to a flight attendant and announced a takeover.

Led by a 28-year-old resident of West 76th Street named Zvonko Busic, the group claimed to have five bombs on board, plus a sixth stashed in a locker in the subway station at Grand Central Terminal.

Busic forced pilots to fly first to Montreal, then to Newfoundland. The 727 next headed to London and finally to Paris, where the hijackers surrendered after 30 hours in the air.

But air piracy wouldn’t be their only crime. Though the bombs Busic claimed to have on the plane turned out to be fake, the one in the locker at Grand Central was real.

Police removed it from the locker, and when they tried to deactivate it the next day, it went off, killing NYPD officer Brian Murray (above) and wounding three others.

Sept11hijackersap

Busic and his fellow hijackers (above, in an AP photo), who considered themselves freedom fighters for Croatia, all served prison terms and shockingly have all been paroled.

Their act of terrorism and the death that resulted from it seems like a footnote of 1970s terrorism history.

“Police officer Brian Murray is the forgotten terror victim of 9/11—because his line-of-duty death at the hands of international villains was actually Sept. 11, 1976,” states a 2012 New York Daily News article.

Patriotic pizza on the Upper West Side

June 27, 2008

Like this deli, I have a feeling the God Bless America pizza parlor got its start—or at least its sign—around 2001.