Neil Leavy was very familiar with the World Trade Center. For a number of years in the 1990's he traded commodities, first oil, later gold, on the futures exchanges there.
But Neil Leavy, 34, had a firefighting heritage. His uncle was a firefighter. So was his godfather, who was a captain. Two of his cousins are currently on the job. "He always wanted to be a firefighter," his cousin Michael Leavy said. And so he became one, working at Engine Company 217 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
When he was not on the job, Firefighter Leavy could often be found in the basement of his parents' house in Bayonne, N.J., pumping iron. When he was not there, he worked part time as a bartender at Memories, a Staten Island tavern. "He was a workout maniac," his brother Mark said. "He was a strong, strong guy."
Firefighter Leavy, who was single, had agreed to be best man at his brother's wedding next year. The ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 4, a year to the day after Neil Leavy was buried. There will be no best man. "I look at that day with mixed emotions," Mark Leavy said. "It's the day I start a new life, but the day he was laid to rest."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 26, 2001.