Ray, White & Blue: Ray Fiore And The Birth Of A Uniquely Brooklyn 9/11 Memorial

Freelance photographer Marissa Wong has been chronicling the stories of Brooklyn’s longest street since November 2011 on her website, Bedford. In March, Marissa got in touch with Sheepshead Bites after stumbling upon the 9/11 memorial mural at Bill Brown Playground (Avenue X and Bedford Avenue), and asked us to put her in touch with its creator, Ray Fiore. The above video is what resulted, detailing the rise of the most uniquely Brooklyn memorial to emerge after the September 11 attack, and Wong wrote the following for Sheepshead Bites:

“It’s a League of Nations, we got a little bit of everybody,” laughed Regina Coyle when I asked her to say a little bit about Brooklyn.  We were standing in front of the Bedford Park 9/11 mural and Regina was telling me about when she lost her son, James Raymond Coyle, over 10 years ago.

She was right. Since moving to Brooklyn two years ago, I’ve been trying to capture that little bit of everybody with the Bedford Avenue Project – a collection of multimedia stories about the many different voices that make up Brooklyn’s longest street.  From a Hasidic rebel-turned-blogger to the locally renowned Queen of Williamsburg, the project has been a true ethnographic adventure, allowing me a sneak peek into the borough’s diverse hearts and souls.

Most recently, I was honored to meet the Bedford People’s Park 9/11 Memorial Committee and the infamous “Rockin’ Ray” Fiore. Listening to each of their candid stories, I was reminded of the “League of Nations” that is Brooklyn. “Ray, White & Blue” is the video piece I created from those conversations and a brief glimpse into the community of Sheepshead Bay.

I hope you’ll stay tuned for more voices, more stories, and more Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn/Bedford Park 9/11 Memorial and Candle Vigil is at Bill Brown Park, Avenue X and Bedford Avenue, at 6:30 p.m. today.