Volume 16 • Issue 37 | February 13 - 19, 2004

Young Tribecan killed in Upstate accident

By Elizabeth O’Brien

Nick Silvestri, a fifth-grade student at P.S. 234 in Tribeca, died on Feb. 2 from injuries sustained in a sledding accident on Feb. 1 near his family’s weekend home in Delaware County, New York. He was 11 years old.

Nick, a Tribeca resident, had attended P.S. 234 since kindergarten. The school community remembered him as a good friend and a natural leader who loved to draw.

“This was a great kid,” said Sandy Bridges, the school’s principal, adding, “It was a very hard week.”

Nick and his sister, Lucy, 10, were seriously injured when a sled they were riding veered off course and entered a seldom-traveled road, where it was struck by a car. Lucy is expected to make a full recovery.

More than 450 people, including many of Nick’s classmates, attended an interdenominational funeral service on Feb. 9 at Our Lady of Pompei Church in Greenwich Village. Bridges said mourners shared a laugh when Nick’s mother, Rita, read a rap her son wrote for her for Mother’s Day.

Phil Silvestri, Nick’s father, said parents approached him at the service to tell him what an insightful son he had. Many described Nick as an “old soul,” his father said.

Silvestri said Nick often expressed himself through drawing. On Sept. 13, 2001, Nick drew a detailed, six-foot-tall image of one of the Twin Towers.

“Dear World Trade Center, you were my favorite buildings,” Nick, then 8, wrote at the base of the drawing. “Every time I walked to my school P.S. 234 I looked at you and smiled. That’s why I drew this picther.”

The P.S. 234 community, which pulled together in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, has come together again to cope with Nick’s loss, school officials said.

“We’re a tight-knit group at the school, and we’ve been through adversity before, so the kids know they’ll be supported,” said Kathy Sussell, the school’s parent coordinator.

Nick’s fifth grade class is making a scrapbook of memories about him to present to his parents, who live on Vestry St. in Tribeca with their daughter.

Nick and Lucy were adopted from Russia. In lieu of flowers, Nick’s parents are requesting that donations be made to the World Child Foundation, which will allocate the entire contribution to benefit children in Russian orphanages.

Checks should be payable to: The World Child Foundation, 207 Brookes Avenue, Gaithersburg, Md., 20877.

A wake for Nick was held on Feb. 7 and 8 at Greenwich Village Funeral Home.



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