A lifesaving garden

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  • Many who knew Yorkville shopkeeper Srymanean Manickam gathered on April 22 to dedicate a York Avenue garden in his memory. Manickam, who managed a nearby grocery, was run over crossing York a year ago. Photo: Stuart Schenendorf 

  • The memorial garden for Srymanean Manickam on York Avenue between 78th and 79th Streets. Manickam, who managed a nearby grocery, was run over crossing York a year ago. Photo: Stuart Schenendorf 

Thanks to a street-side memorial garden, Srymanean Manickam, known to the community as Mano, will not be forgotten — such as by the way he cared for the community and, unfortunately, above all, by the way his life was so brutally, wrongfully ended by a taxi turning into his York Avenue and 78th Street crosswalk just one year ago.

And this safe traffic activist believes the garden is a first-of-a-kind memorial, thanks, above all, to the valiant year-long efforts of Patricia Banks, a customer and friend of the Super Del Market, where Mano worked and managed for 20-plus years.

Managed with such extraordinary grace and concern for not only his customers but the entire community — always helping those down on their luck, needing a helping hand or a listening ear.

Yes, there was media coverage, especially in this paper, and also a standing-room-only memorial service at St. Monica’s Church. Let’s hope the myriad heartfelt tributes heard that night were recorded.

And while Mano’s Garden, located on York between 78th and 79th does not note the cause of death, please, when you visit or read this, also think to remind your or any elected officials that drivers’ failure to yield when turning into a crosswalk is the number one cause of pedestrian death and injury. Infinitely more attention must be paid! (Again contact information is found in this paper’s Useful Contacts column). And if anything ever needed to go viral. it’s Mano’s Garden photos and this message.

And urgently needed are Yield to Pedestrian stencils on every crosswalk where a pedestrian was struck down and killed. Of course at 78th and York, but also at 79th and York, where three lives have been cut short in recent years.

And why not make Mano’s Garden a Mother’s Day visit on Sunday — nobody cares more than mothers about their offsprings’ safety. Remember Mothers against Drunk Drivers memorable movement — and now maybe youngsters should be leading a comparable protest against Failure-to-Yield Drivers.

Again, we cannot thank Patricia Banks enough, with help from City and Suburban Homes manager, Steve Goldenberg for the first of a most needed street memorial — potentially lifesaving garden.

And remember we must what made Mano so beloved — like a community project begun by P.S. 158 students recalling the extraordinarily caring ways of Srymanean Manickam. this man for others called “Mano.”

It can be done if enough of us try.


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