Transit leaders and police officials joined the family of Garrett Goble — a Brooklyn resident and MTA motorman killed in a deliberate subway fire in Harlem back in March — outside the Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College train station on Monday to announce the creation of a memorial there in his honor.
The MTA’s announcement comes just three days after Goble’s suspected killer was formally charged with setting the deadly March 27 blaze on board the 2 train that the motorman operated at the 110th Street-Lenox Avenue station.
Standing at a podium next to an enlarged photograph of Goble, acting MTA New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg spoke of Goble’s importance to the MTA. Grief remained still fresh as wife, Delilah, and mother, Vicky, clung to one another, pain bursting from their eyes.
About nine months ago, just when the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City, Garrett Gobel was killed after an arsonist set fire to a No. 2 train as it entered the Central Park North-110th Street station shortly after 3 a.m. Gobel was found unconscious on the tracks by emergency personnel, unfortunately succumbing to his injuries at Mount Sinai Hospital. He was 36 years old and a father to two boys.
“I speak for the entire transit family when I say that March 27th was one of the worst and darkest days in our history and one of the most heartbreaking days in any of our life. Since then we’ve been searching for answers as to why and how something like this could’ve happened and how Garrett could be taken from his wife, his mother and his two darling sons and his entire family. It was a long road to this day to Friday’s arrest,” Feinberg said, sobbing as she mentioned how much Garrett will be missed.
Feinberg thanked all of the NYPD officials and others who helped pursue the investigation into this homicide case.
“Nothing can bring Garrett back to New York City Transit or to his sweet family, but this is a critical step that can bring us all some peace,” Feinberg said.
Delilah and Vicky watched the commemoration, dabbing their eyes constantly throughout the conference as their beloved Garrett was saluted. Transit leaders worked many months with the Goble family to determine the best way to honor the train operator.
Because the Flatbush train station represents Garrett’s former neighborhood, the MTA determined it would be the best location to created a memorial and honor his memory. Additionally, MTA is inviting the community to enter submissions for a mural as a tribute.
Tony Utano and Eric Loegel, the respective president and vice president of Rapid Transit Operations for TWU Local 100, presented the Gobel family with gifts for their children and announced that a scholarship will be made in Garrett’s honor.
The event also allowed NYPD Chief of Transit Kathleen O’Reilly to stress that no form of violence towards MTA workers will be tolerated.
“The fact remains that this is nothing short of a tragedy. Garret was not only doing what he did every day, moving New Yorkers, but he ignored the danger and sacrificed himself to bring others to safety. We will not stand for conduct and crimes that endanger riders or those who help seeing them safely on their way,” O’Reilly said.
“A heroic transit worker taken from his family in a horrific crime and a defendant that clearly had no regard for human life. We trust that this case will be vigorously prosecuted to the fullest extent…An attack on any of our frontline workers is an attack on all New Yorkers,” O’Reilly added.
The commemoration culminated with Delilah tearfully thanking everyone in attendance.
“We are happy with the arrest. We’ve been waiting for this for a very long time, and it came just in time because my son’s birthday is tomorrow and he wants justice for his dad just like we do,” Delilah said tearfully.