Throngs of mourners gathered at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church on W51st Street Thursday to pay tribute to Ava Conklin, a Hell’s Kitchen teenager who was hit and killed by a car last weekend while waiting for a bus from her job in The Rockaways.

Mourners gather outside the Sacred Heart of Roman Catholic Church
Mourners gather outside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church on Thursday for the funeral of Ava Conklin. Photo: Catie Savage

Ava, 19, lived in Hell’s Kitchen and is the daughter of Chrissy Collins and Matt Conklin. According to the NYPD, she was waiting in front of a Walgreens on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 108th Street in Queens on Saturday June 24 after her shift working at the Rockaway Hotel when a driver lost control of their vehicle and jumped the curb, striking three metal benches and Ava (The Wave). A college student home on break, Ava had planned to meet her 14-year-old sister Peyton and travel to Central Park when the incident occurred. Ava was rushed to Brookdale Hospital in Brownsville with severe bodily trauma but was pronounced dead upon arrival. The driver, who remains unidentified, was determined to have fallen asleep at the wheel. They have not yet been charged. 

On Wednesday afternoon and evening, friends and family lined up on W43rd Street outside Crestwood Funeral Home to pay their respects to the popular neighborhood teenager — and today the church on W51st Street was full for the Funeral Mass. Outside the church the Emerald Society Pipes & Drums played, and workers and officers from the Department of Sanitation (where Ava’s father, uncles and cousins work) were in attendance in full uniform. Several unofficial social media accounts for the department had posted about the services, encouraging fellow workers to support Ava’s family in the wake of her death. Friends have also started a Meal Train appeal for the Conklin family in Broad Channel, NY — as of this evening, $31,008 had been raised. There is also a GoFundMe set up for mom Chrissy Collins and family that has so far raised $11,831.

Emerald Society Pipes & Drums play on W51st Street after the Funeral Mass.
Emerald Society Pipes & Drums play on W51st Street after the Funeral Mass. Photos: Catie Savage

There will be a Celebration of Life held at the scene of the accident on Beach 108th on Friday at 7:30 pm. Since Sunday, flowers have been placed by locals and family at the location.

Some of the floral tributes at the scene in the Rockaways. Photo: John Schilling/The Wave

Ava’s death comes as concerns grow over pedestrian safety, locally and across the city. The State Assembly recently failed to pass Sammy’s Law, a speed limit and pedestrian safety proposal named after Sammy Eckstein, one of hundreds of New Yorkers who have been killed by speeding drivers since 2013.

Ava’s obituary remembered the Hell’s Kitchen teen as a “radiant spirit” whose “kind nature touched the lives of all who knew her. Her capacity to love knew no bounds, as she had a heart filled with affection for everyone and everything around her,” the obituary stated. An aspiring psychologist, passionate theater and music fan and a savvy thrift shopper, “she had a vibrant sense of adventure and an appreciation for life’s simple pleasures,” it added. “Above all, Ava treasured her friends and family, prioritizing quality time with them. She had an uncanny ability to create lasting memories and foster deep connections.” 

Ava Conklin
Ava Conklin, 19, was tragically killed at the weekend in the Rockaways. Photo: Chrissy Collins

Ava’s mother, Chrissy, said on Instagram: “My heart is broken into a million pieces. My baby girl is gone. This world did not deserve such a sweet soul. May you dance with the angels and sing with the doves. Rest easy my girl. I will think of you when I watch every sunset and know you’re looking down at me from the clouds #forever19 💔🕊️ I love you forever and ever.”

Join the Conversation


  1. This is so very very sad, and so cruel. I feel this family’s pain. May Ava’s spirit surround them always with peace and love.

  2. This is a very terrible and sad thing to see…I know the Collins Family, and they are a very tight-knit family. I absolutely have no words. RIP Ava 😔

  3. Lord Jesus. Watch over this sweet Angel. She is in your care now.May you always have eternal life. Rest in peace……

  4. Terrible terrible tragedy but um, WHY no name of or charges against the killer ?? What are they waiting for FFS? Asleep at the wheel or not it’s VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER, why is this man getting a free pass, is this how Mayor Adam’s wants NY run, simply shrug and say oops, fell asleep at the wheel and there’s no accountability ???? Banged over the curb and ran over metal benches before getting to Ava and mysteriously that racket didn’t wake him up enough to just reflexively step on the brakes ?? Very very sus.
    Damnit, charge him already you creeps. There’s got to be some consequences for this horror.

  5. As a resident of HK with a sister who lives just blocks away in Rockaway from the location of this tragedy, I am particularly saddened by this senseless loss. My deepest sympathies to her family. May her memory be a blessing.

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