43rd Avenue at 51st Street: two deadly corners

I found the Ridgewood Times obituary (by Sunnyside’s own Rob MacKay) for Kevin Harkin, the man who was killed in the collision at the corner of 43rd Avenue and 51st Street on Octber 29, 2004. This is the same collision that put my old college friend, John Pavlakis, in the hospital.

Sadly, Harkin did not survive. John was hit by Harkin’s motorcycle and knocked unconscious. He suffered 8 fractures, mostly in his shin and knee, requiring four surgeries. Recovery required a month in the hospital, two months confined to his apartment and three months in a wheelchair. He was not able to walk without some kind of assistance until nine months later. He writes, “while I have regained mobility, pain is an unpredictable foe, preventing a return to normalcy.”

On warm days, some of our neighbors sit and socialize on the benches in the triangle park across the street, on the north side of 43rd Avenue. But not all the benches. One day, they pointed out to me a “new guy” who was sitting on the bench facing the eastbound traffic on the avenue. They said, “we never sit there, since a car ran into it a few years back.”

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