Long-time City Island restaurant manager, resident, dies at 60

Janet Hickey, known as a City Island ‘Clamdigger’, always put her community and customers first, according to her former co-workers.
Photo courtesy of Ron Terner, owner of Focal Point Gallery

A lifelong City Island resident and restaurant manager passed away after a tragic accident.

On Monday, March 9, Janet Hickey, a ‘clamdigger,’ died after being removed from life support following an ambulance accident, one day short of her 61st birthday.

Hickey was born on March 10, 1955, and lived on Fordham Street for the first 11 years of her life before moving to Ditmars Street. She attended St. Mary Star of the Sea School and St. Helena’s High School.

One of Janet’s passions that began in her adolescence was caring for horses, which she fulfilled at the Pelham Bit Horse Riding Academy. At Pelham Bit Janet learned to become a professional equestrian.

Hickey also had a strong passion for her community that she had connected with and grown to love for so many years.

She was an active member of the City Island Civic Association and devoted many years at different restaurants on City Island, including working as manager for both the Lobster Box and Artie’s Steak and Seafood.

On Wednesday, March 4, Hickey, who had just undergone successful brain surgery where 99% of a benign brain tumor behind her ear was removed, was being transported from New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan to Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow.

There, she was scheduled to spend a week in rehabilitation to recover from the surgery and regain her walking skills.

While being transported in a Senior Care Ambulance, driven by 19-year old Jamal Jackson, accompanied by 55-year old EMT Ronald Lewis, the vehicle crashed into a utility pole on Route 9 in Sleepy Hollow.

Hickey, who allegedly was not properly strapped to the stretcher inside the ambulance, according to sources, suffered life-threatening injuries, including severe head and neck trauma and spine fractures.

She was declared brain dead after the crash. Both Jackson and Lewis suffered minor injuries.

The accident remains under investigation by both the NYPD and Senior Care EMS, both of which could not be reached for comment.

“My staff was very saddened by this tragic news,” said Spiros Chagares, owner of Artie’s Steak & Seafood. “However, they are honoring her by continuing to work as diligently as they did before, just as she would have wanted them to.”

Chagares added that Hickey always put her community and customers first, making sure they had the best possible service.

Many of her former customers came to Artie’s on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 to lend their support and give their condolences during this extremely difficult time.

“These customers were and still are terribly upset over Hickey’s passing,” Spiros said. “This is a loss for the entire City Island community. She was taken way too soon.”

A funeral Mass service for Hickey was held at the St. Mary Star of the Sea Church on Friday, March 20.

She will be laid to rest next to her parents in Pelham Cemetery on City Island at a later date. Hickey is survived by her husband, John, her niece Jocelyn and her siblings.

Family members of Janet Hickey did not wish to be interviewed for this story..

Additional reporting contributed by Robert Wirsing.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.
Photo courtesy of Ron Terner, owner of Focal Point Gallery

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