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Crowds Swell To Remember Kennedy

July 22, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ The pile of flowers, notes and candles left outside John F. Kennedy Jr.’s apartment grew so large that some bouquets were removed and given to charities and hospitals.

A seemingly endless stream of mourners, however, are bringing more tokens of remembrance to the building in the trendy downtown Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca. Many described Kennedy as one of their own.

``He was alive, doing OUR stuff _ roller-blading, going to a Yankee game,″ said Mike Caffey, 44.

Hundreds of people have left flowers, prayer cards, candles, notes, poems, balloons and newspaper clippings at the site since Saturday. Kennedy, his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, died Friday in a plane crash off the Massachusetts coast.

A separate shrine of cards and flowers grew outside the Manhattan office building where Kennedy’s magazine, George, is located.

Dinah Lopera of Phoenix said she and her family flew to New York just to keep a vigil. She left a note at the apartment, saying: ``God bless you. We’ve always been with you and your family, and we will always be with them.″

Other notes included these messages: ``Love always from Israel″ and ``Descansen en paz″ _ Spanish for ``rest in peace.″ A Thai restaurant where Kennedy liked to get takeout sent a tall wreath with a menu attached.

The Irish flag was taped to the building, along with the Irish Echo newspaper’s front-page headline: ``Good night, sweet prince.″ The city’s Irish community planned a public memorial tonight at a Manhattan church.

Fanny Salvador left a tiny wooden airplane, a card with the names of every Latin American country printed on it and this message: ``A prayer for John, from all Latin America.″

``They were so nice to all of us,″ she said. ``President Kennedy helped the poor people and the developing countries.″

Monique Russell, 35, a black woman from Washington, D.C., visited the shrine with four cousins. ``His family did so much for African-Americans _ it’s the Kennedy name,″ she said.

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