Lynbrook residents and village officials came out on Saturday morning for street and garden dedications in honor of Zachary Bernstein.
After months of treatment for an inoperable brain tumor, Zachary died on March 12 at age 11. Zachary’s father, David, has played a major role in having Zachary remembered by the community.
Baylis Place, across the street from Lynbrook Middle School, where Zachary spent time as a sixth grader, has been dedicated as “Zachary Way.” The sign, with a red background and white lettering, hangs above the sign for Baylis Place.
Across the street from Zachary Way, on the grounds of South Middle School, is a garden in Zachary’s name. Pink and other vibrant flowers surround the bench in the garden and a plaque with Zachary’s name and information.
David Bernstein said that pink was Zachary’s color and was a major reason for the bright, colorful flowers planted in the garden.
Sal and Annette Cimato helped organize and plant the garden. David Bernstein said Sal would maintain the Zachary Bernstein Garden for as long as he’s in Lynbrook.
“It’s bittersweet. It’s a perfect tribute to my son during Father’s Day [weekend],” he said of the dedications. “Obviously we can never get him back, but having this within the community, showing what my son stands for, as far as creativity and vision and passion. I think between the [garden] and the sign it really exudes what he’s all about.”
David Bernstein said that the community has shown tremendous support for the family in their difficult time and that they’ve been very cooperating in helping to memorialize Zachary’s life.
“Whatever we needed to get through this, they’ve been there for us every step of the way,” he said. “Whether it’s services in the school, whether it’s the village putting a garden on their grounds or a street sign to remember our son by, they have been a perfect partner in helping us immortalize our son.”
Also in attendance was Carlos Mendes, captain of the New York Cosmos of the MLS, who spent time with Zachary when he led the team onto the pitch as an honorary captain in October. Zachary walked out onto the field with Mendes for the pre-game coin toss.
Mendes and the Cosmos had a game against the New York Red Bulls that evening, but still wanted to take the time to show his support.
“It’s a beautiful thing on a beautiful day, just to be here for the family,” Mendes said. “The Bernstein family is a great family. I got to spend some time with Zachary. He’s an unbelievable kid. To be here for him and the family, it’s something I wouldn’t miss.”
Mendes played 90 minutes in a 3-0 win for the Cosmos that evening.