The Dec. 16, 1960, crash of a United Airlines jet and a TWA propeller plane rained destruction onto a busy Brooklyn neighborhood. Victims' remains bloodied the snow after one jet hit the street at 200 mph, killing everyone on the planes and six people on the ground.
The memorial was held at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery, the final resting place of many notables, including composer Leonard Bernstein.
One attendee, Kevin Root of Greenwich, Conn., was 5 years old when both his parents died on the United flight. "I thought I was over it, but you never get over it," Root said through tears.
In its wake, the crash left a legacy of improved air safety; it was the first in which investigators made extensive use of so-called black boxes and it spurred a revamping of the air traffic control system to prevent future tragedies.
The United plane destroyed at least 10 buildings when it crashed into the Park Slope neighborhood. The other plane, a TWA Constellation, crashed into a military air base on Staten Island.
The United flight had been en route from Chicago to what is now John F. Kennedy International Airport; the TWA flight was en route from Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, to LaGuardia.