Christopher ‘Tripp’ Zanetis, a New York City firefighter who went to NYU and died in a helicopter crash in Iraq while serving as an Air National Guardsman will have his funeral ceremony, as he requested in his will, at Washington Square Park on Thursday, March 29th. According to the NYC Parks Department, this was by NYC Fire Department and NYPD request. The park will be closed from 12 midnight until approximately 2 p.m. as the ceremony set up and procession takes place. Zanetis died on March 15th.
From the NYC Parks Department:
Washington Square Park will be closed on March 29, 2018 from 12:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to honor Christopher ‘Tripp’ Zanetis, an Air National Guardsman and FDNY Fire Marshal who died in a helicopter crash in Iraq on March 17, 2018. Washington Square Park will be closed to the general public for setup and ceremony.
Condolences to family and friends of Mr. Zanetis. From the New York Times article (3/16) :
The other New York City firefighter who died was identified by his parents and city officials as Christopher Tripp Zanetis, 37, who was on leave from the department, where he had been a marshal in the Bureau of Fire Investigation.
“He went by Tripp,” said his father, John Zanetis, 73. “Everybody called him Tripp.” …
The parents, speaking together by telephone, said their son grew up in central Indiana and graduated from New York University. He was a sophomore there on Sept. 11, 2001, and, “I think that’s what made him become a New York City fireman,” said his mother, Sarah Zanetis, 63, who said he had lived three blocks from the World Trade Center.
Appointed as a firefighter in 2004, he was assigned to Engine Company 28 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In 2013, Firefighter Zanetis was promoted to fire marshal and the following year was recognized for his bravery as part of an investigative unit. …
Mr. Zanetis said his son left for Iraq in the second week in January for his third tour. His father said his son was “a pilot, flies a rescue helicopter, is a cross-fit trainer and he was in excellent health. He was unbelievable. Unbelievable.”
“He loved everyone and everyone loved him,” Mr. Zanetis said.
Amidst this very sad news, the other line and link in the Parks Department website announcement that draws some scrutiny is this: “For more information, please visit Washington Square Park Conservancy’s website.” As to why Washington Square Park Conservancy* (a private organization which does not run or manage WSP) is listed here as the source of further information is questionable. The Parks Department responded that this is just something their “strategic [website] content team does … when it comes to ‘events.’ This isn’t a who operates and decides what situation.”
I’m not convinced that this linkage is appropriate in this situation; all information should come from the city Parks Department which runs the park and made this decision to close the park for this funeral ceremony.
* For more information on this private vs. public saga, please visit this page, WSP Private Conservancy Watch (Updated).
Nonetheless, it is a very sad situation.
H/t to WSP Eco-Projects for word of park closure.
Update: Photos of Washington Sq Park from the processional ceremony can be found at WSP Blog post here.