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Italian Superstitions

Urban Street Memorials

There is nothing worse than losing a loved one. Many bereaved people find ways to memorialize their lost ones in the public living space. How often have you passed a flowered cross on the side of the road to commemorate someone who perished there? For a family in New York City, the corner of 49th Street and First Avenue is the spot for their memorial to daughter Amelia Geocos who died while riding her bicycle.


Shortly after Ms. Geocos was killed, someone anonymously placed a bike at the accident scene, a practice that has been taken up by bicycle advocates as a way to call attention to the deaths of bikers on city streets. Advocates say that about 20 bicyclists a year have been killed in New York City since 2005.

When Marian Geocos was contacted by the New York City Street Memorial Project, which has installed dozens of memorial bikes throughout the city since 2005, and told that a bike had been put up in her daughter’s memory, she expressed gratitude but said she preferred a bike with more personal meaning.

The memorial is a flower bedecked white Schwinn bicycle that is chained to a post on the corner. It is a five-speed Schwinn cruiser that Ms. Geocos’s mother, Marian, used to take her daughter around on when she was a little girl. Now adorned with flowers and Mardi Gras beads, it has also been decorated over the months with candles, old photos and farewell notes from friends. It is a sidewalk memorial that Ms. Geocos’s family keeps careful watch over.

We have our own personal ways of grieving and the Memorial project is one way to help in the urban landscape. For more information read Death at an Early Age and the Urban Scene: The Case for Memorial Murals and Community Healing


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