Liam Armstrong remembered at Hauppauge services
The long line of mourners outside a Hauppauge funeral home Saturday was filled with Liam Armstrong's friends -- some close, some who barely knew him.
Many in the crowd of at least 200 -- including a handful of high school baseball players in full uniform -- waited several hours to pay their respects to the Long Island teen.
"It was really a tribute to how many lives that he touched," said Kim Sundberg, who was Armstrong's 10th-grade English teacher at Smithtown High School East.
Armstrong was struck by a Manhattan subway train Tuesday night at the West 79th Street and Broadway station while trying to cross the tracks on foot. He and two friends were on their way to celebrate his 18th birthday in Greenwich Village, but they had mistakenly gone uptown.
Armstrong was following a friend who had crossed four tracks to the downtown platform when he was killed by the No. 2 train.
At Moloney's Funeral Home Saturday, Armstrong was memorialized with collages. One, a nod to his recent enlistment in the Marines, read: "In Memory of Private Liam Armstrong." Another was titled simply, "Lacrosse" -- the sport he'd played at the Smithtown school. A replica of lacrosse sticks hung near his portrait in the mourning area.
"On the field, in the hallways, he was always someone who was happy," recalled his lacrosse coach, Kevin McDonaugh. "It's beyond sad."
Tylar Vigliarolo, 17, who called himself Armstrong's best friend, rebutted the rumor that Armstrong was crossing the tracks on a "dare."
"Liam would never throw his life away on a dare; he was a smart kid," he said.
As mourners emerged from the funeral home, they embraced friends waiting in line with heartfelt hugs.
"It will bring us closer, though," Vigliarolo said. "Smithtown always gets closer when bad things happen."