Morty Weinberg takes his first look at the new memorial dedicated to his son at O'Neill's Bar and Restaurant in Maspeth.
When O’Neill’s Bar and Restaurant was destroyed in a fire three years ago, much more than just an iconic Maspeth staple was left behind in the rubble.
The family-run business, located at 64-21 53rd Dr., was also home to priceless sports memorabilia - autographs from Michael Jordan to Brian Leech - all of which was lost on that day.
On Thursday night, restaurant owner George O’Neill surprised the family of Maspeth firefighter Mike Weinberg, a local hero that lost his life on September 11, 2001, with a dedicated wall to their late son’s days as a standout baseball player with St. John’s University.
“We were able to bring out some of his old friends and his family, so I think everything worked out just fine,” O’Neill said after unveiling a replica of Weinberg’s number 22 baseball jersey and memorial in a surprise ceremony for his family. “It will stay there, as long as we don’t have a fire, maybe forever.”
Morty Weinberg, Mike’s father, said he had no idea O’Neill and his friends were planning the surprise event, adding, however, that he was happy they did.
“I think it’s very nice,” Morty said. “He has always been doing very nice things like that. He has a very good heart.”
Mike was off duty and on his way to the golf course when he got word that a plane flew into the World Trade Center. His father said it was then when he made his way to Ground Zero to help.
“He was very unlucky,” Morty said. “When he came out of the building, that’s when they came down.”
Today Morty lives in Florida, but visits often and stops by St. John’s Cemetery - where his son is buried - every day he is in town.
“Anybody who knows him, remembers him,” he said. “This is just a good memory thing for Michael.”