Woman Fatally Struck on Queens Blvd Was Walking Home From Synagogue
QUEENS — Rosa Anidjar was on her way home from her frequent visits to a local synagogue just before 8:30 p.m. on May 3 when she stepped onto Queens Boulevard.
Moments later, she was struck and killed by a tan 2000 Chevrolet Malibu driving north on the service road — the third serious accident at the notorious intersection of Queens Boulevard and 71st Avenue in Forest Hills in recent months.
But it took authorities several days to identify the 82-year-old woman because the observant Jew never took her wallet or cellphone with her to synagogue — and so had no identification on her when she was killed.
According to Anidjar's daughter, Karine Anidjar, 51, who lived with her mother on Queens Boulevard, near 68th Drive, relatives didn't realize anything was wrong until Sunday night, when her mother still hadn't come home.
“She was always out, socializing with her friends and she was very active in her temples,” she said, adding that her mother would occasionally stay overnight with her friends.
“The week before she died, she actually was out dancing until the middle of the night and eating pizza at 3 o’clock in the morning,” she added, saying she hesitated to call police until she reached out to her mother's friends to make sure she wasn't with them.
“The last few years she really was living her life to the fullest,” Anidjar said.
On Monday afternoon, a family friend told them that Rosa had been to evening services, but hadn't been seen since — which prompted the family to call the police.
Anidjar was only carrying a piece of paper with her first name, "Rosa," in her pocket when she was struck, leaving police unable to identify her, her daughter said.
Investigators were also stymied because of her youthful appearance — issuing a police report about the accident that described the victim as a woman in her 60s.
Her daughter said she was not surprised by the confusion about her mother's age.
“She was 82, she looked 62 and she had a life of someone who was 22,” said Karine Anidjar.
Relatives remembered her as a fun loving and energetic person who "lived her life to the fullest."
“She was dyeing her hair blond and she dressed beautifully. She died with green nail polish on her fingernails,” the younger Anidjar said.
Rosa Anidjar was buried last Wednesday at Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Queens, next to her husband, Benjamin, who passed away 10 years ago, the family said.
She emigrated with her husband and three children from Morocco in 1967 and then worked as a teacher at the Lycee Francais de New York, a private French school in Manhattan.
She left behind 6 grandchildren, ages 12 to 17, for whom she whipped up regular meals, especially for the Jewish holidays.
“She always made big dinners for Passover for the entire family,” said Ed Finkenberg, 60, a relative who lives in California, adding that sometimes more than a dozen people would attend.
The busy intersection is infamous for being dangerous to pedestrians. Last September, a woman was killed while crossing Queens Boulevard at the same location. In January this year, another woman had to have her left leg amputated above the knee after she was struck by an MTA bus at the intersection.
Finkenberg added that he would like to see more safety measures on Queens Boulevard. In Anidjar's case, there were no charges against the driver, who stayed on the scene and who struck her while she was walking westbound in a marked crosswalk against the traffic light, police said.
Finkenberg said he was planning to get involved with Making A Better and Safer Queens Boulevard, a coalition of residents and local civic groups that advocates implementing additional safety features along the so-called “Boulevard of Death.”
He said he would like to see more radical solutions along the busy thoroughfare that would better protect pedestrians, such as building tunnels under Queens Boulevard that would allow people to cross without encountering cars.