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Friends Campaign to Name Brooklyn Lawn After Photojournalist Slain in Libya

By Janet Upadhye | March 8, 2013 12:36pm

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Brooklyn Bridge Park wants help naming a new meadow located near Pier 6. And while park officials suggest the community think of a favorite flower or bird, friends of fallen war photographer and former DUMBO resident Christopher Hondros have a different idea.

They hope the lawn will be named "The Christopher Hondros Memorial Meadow" in memory of the photojournalist who lived in and loved Brooklyn.

"Chris was constantly traveling to some of the most remote and dangerous places in the world, but he always loved coming home to Brooklyn," said Stephanie Gaskell, a journalist and friend of Hondros. "I know he would find this a fitting tribute - a place where those who loved him can go and celebrate his life but also take in the amazing views of the city he loved and embodied."

Hondros was killed in a grenade blast while on assignment in Libya on April 20, 2011 alongside his friend and fellow photographer Tim Hetherington. He left behind his family, fiancé, and a community of journalists who valued his friendship and his powerful images.

It was Patrick Whalen's, photo editor at the Wall Street Journal, idea to memorialize Hondro's life and work at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Whalen was struck after seeing an announcement that the park was holding a naming contest for its new lawn.

"It hit me like a bolt of lightning," he said. "I immediately knew this would be the perfect way to pay tribute to Chris and remember the true friend he was to so many of us in the photojournalism community who reside in Brooklyn, and it would also be a nice way of having his name permanently tied to a city he truly loved."

Whalen along with Hondros' loved ones are asking anyone who is moved to write to the Brooklyn Bridge Park at info@brooklynbridgepark.org and request the new lawn, overlooking Lower Manhattan and the East River, be named after the much loved conflict photographer.

"Next month will be the second anniversary of his passing and so many photographers, editors, journalists, and friends need a place to gather and remember him," Whalen said. "We want to take our children there, tell them about Chris, to be inspired to be brave and tell the stories of the world’s needy, victims of war, disasters, be a champion for people who have no voice."

"This is what Chris put his life on the line to do, and the world is no doubt a better place to live thanks to him and his work," he added.

Requests to name the lawn must be emailed to info@brooklynbridgepark.org by March 20, 2013.  The winner will be announced on April 1.