Every year, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Christ the King High School in Middle Village played host to a commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in Manhattan — one of the worst tragedies to hit New York City in the 20th century.
The longtime chairman of Christ the King’s board of directors, former state Senator Serphin Maltese, along with his brothers Vincent and Andrew, organized the annual memorial service. The Maltese brothers lost three members in the tragic blaze — Caterina, their grandmother, and Rosaria and Lucia, two aunts. “We’re hopeful that this is a rejuvenation of their memory. If we honor their memory, we’ll ensure that nothing like that ever happens again,” Serphin Maltese said during the 2011 ceremony that marked the centennial anniversary of the horrific blaze.
The tragedy occurred on March 25, 1911, 110 years ago this month.