The Town of Hempstead’s lone monument to Charles Lindbergh’s famed “Spirit of St. Louis” first transatlantic flight, sits behind The Source Mall in Westbury blocked from view by a rose bush hedge.
And that does not sit well with town officials and a local historian.
They are calling on the mall’s owners to remove the hedge so that visitors can view the stone plaque of Lindbergh’s plane on a 2,500 square-foot plot.
The monument, which was dedicated in 2013, marks the exact location of where Lindbergh took off 90 years ago for his first flight to Paris. Town officials said the monument, which sits on private property at the grassy median at the entrance to the parking lot behind a closed Circuit City, cannot be altered from its original form as a historical monument.
Town officials sent a letter Wednesday to the mostly vacant mall’s owner, CMAT 1909-C1 Old Country Road, LLC. and its agent, Newmark & Company Real Estate, Inc. calling for the shrubbery to be removed. Officials have not received a response.
Supervisor Anthony Santino and three town board members attending a Thursday news conference, noted that the bush was cut down below the sightline of the plane. Santino called it a “partial victory,” but called for the rose bush to be removed completely.
“We want the mall to remove this unnecessary, disrespectful and illegal blight,” Santino said. “We want to make clear that something special happened here. Long Island has a rich aviation history. Lindbergh was the one moment that changed everything that allowed Long Island to take flight.”
Representatives for the mall’s real estate company did not return calls on Thursday.
Adam Sackowitz, 25, a local historian who worked with the town to place the monument four years ago, said he would like to see a larger monument and museum to recognize Lindbergh’s achievements.
“For decades, Long Island has forgotten its aviation history, but I think now it’s making the turn,” Sackowitz said. “This is our Kitty Hawk. This is our Gettysburg. People need to know about this and visit the site where it happened.”