Skate Park for a Son
On Sept. 10, Alan David Kleinberg spent the evening at the Township Council in East Brunswick, N.J., urging it to move forward with a community skate park, a nod to his oldest son's affection for in-line skating.
The park proposal was a hot-button issue known to provoke emotions, but Mr. Kleinberg won respect as a negotiator and mediator who helped gain acceptance for the idea.
"He did this for his child," said Jacque Eaker, special assistant to the East Brunswick mayor.
At 39, Mr. Kleinberg thrived on his job as a securities trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, but family was the focus of his time off.
Whether it was planning a trip for his wife, Mindy, coaching 10-year-old Jacob's basketball team, taking his 7-year-old daughter, Lauren, to dance or a Saturday afternoon ice skating with the children, including 3-year-old Sam, "whatever was good in this world he took and gave to them," said Gail Rubin, his mother-in-law.
On Oct. 15, the council endorsed a plan to build the skate park. Work is scheduled to start in the spring.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 6, 2001.
Alan Kleinberg, 39, office king of comedy
Alan Kleinberg had taken another job for awhile, but something about his old one, at the bond house Cantor Fitzgerald, called him back.
Perhaps it was the good company of his colleagues there. In recent days his co-workers have told Mr. Kleinberg's family some of his "Alanisms." That is what the office called the jokes and one-liners he would tell. His good humor was part of what made the office a great place to work, his colleagues said.
Mr. Kleinberg had only recently returned to the office, and was days away from transferring to Cantor Fitzgerald's New Jersey offices in Shrewsbury.
But on Sept. 11, the 39-year-old securities trader reported as usual to the firm's 104th floor office in the World Trade Center. He never made his usual call home to his wife, Mindy. His tower took the first hit in the terror attack and Mr. Kleinberg, along with many members of the firm, is unaccounted for.
His family has searched for him in all the hospitals. They have pasted his picture all over Lower Manhattan -- hundreds of copies of a photo meant for a happier purpose -- Mr. Kleinberg's 3-year-old son, Sam, needed a picture of Daddy to show at preschool. He also has two other children, Lauren, 7, and Jacob, 9.
Mr. Kleinberg was a man who limited outside interests to concentrate on his family, his mother, Vicki Lerner Shoemaker said. Because Jacob loved to skate, Mr. Kleinberg recently began appearing at town meetings in East Brunswick, to ask for a public skating park for the kids.
"He hated the politics, but he was quite good at speaking," said his mother.
Like so many other families, the grief is made worse because of the uncertainty, the need to fill out missing person's forms, to hand over personal items for DNA comparison, and the wait for a phone call from the police. "And this is a family that has never had to grieve before," Shoemaker said.
In addition to his mother, wife and children, Mr. Kleinberg is survived by his father, Stanley, of East Brunswick; step-father, Lyle Shoemaker of South Brunswick; sisters, Debbie Foxx of Montgomery, Marla Goodreau of Manhattan, and Marci Bandelli of Brooklyn; grandparents, Max and Florence Lerner of Monroe, in-laws, Stanley and Gail Rubin of East Brunswick, and brother-in-law and sister in law, Peter and Jill Sullivan. He has six nieces and nephews.
Mr. Kleinberg graduated from John P. Stevens High School in Edison and then went to the University of Delaware.
A memorial service will be held tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the East Brunswick Jewish Center, 511 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick.
Profile by Joan Whitlow published in THE STAR-LEDGER.