Kang, a 31-year-old nurse practitioner at NYU Langone Hospital, was riding her bike home to Long Island City on the morning of October 3 when she collided with a motorcyclist at 55th Street and 3rd Avenue.
According to a preliminary investigation by the NYPD’s Highway Patrol Collision Investigation Squad, Kang and the 29-year-old motorcyclist were both “ejected from their respective modes of transport” and landed on the street.
Kang was taken to NYU Langone, where she was pronounced dead. The 29-year-old man was also taken to NYU Langone, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.
At the vigil, Kang’s colleagues remembered her as a hardworking and brave frontline worker. Dr. Marwa Moussa, section chief of hospital medicine and the medical director of the nurse practitioners’ service at NYU Langone, said Kang joined the hospital in the middle of the first wave of COVID-19.
“She worked through the nights, she took all the night shifts,” she said. “She was able to always bring energy and light to the team.”
Moussa noted that everyone who emailed or texted her about Kang commended her for always being there for her team and her patients. She said Kang will always be remembered at NYU Langone for being so hardworking.
“I feel like this community has lost a lot by her being gone,” she said. “She provided excellent care.”
Moussa added that Kang’s dream was to become a critical care nurse practitioner. The hospital was actually working on a plan to fulfill that dream by placing her at the hospital’s ICU.
“My heart is broken for her family,” she said. “There are no words to say for her loss.”
Rosanna Hui, one of Kang’s best friends, recalled their first encounter at NYU, where Kang studied nursing. She quickly became “like a sister” to Hui.
“She really cared for her friends and family,” she said. “She did everything to help others.”
Despite working at other hospitals, Kang wanted to work at NYU Langone to help the underserved and those in need, said Hui, who called her friend “very selfless.”
“I will always miss her and the memories we shared,” she said. “She was very ambitious as well, adventurous. She always cared for others, that, to me, matters the most.”
Rob Aguilar, a nearby resident, witnessed the incident on that early Saturday morning. He said the collision “shook me and my family to the core.”
“We’re tired of having these vigils, this is too much,” Aguilar said. “We’ve come together as a community every single time to mourn a life that’s no longer here.”
The vigil was put together by Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who read off a list of names of traffic fatality victims in Sunset Park. He said despite some changes that made 3rd Avenue a little slower and shifted the lights, community members want more action to address fatalities.
“We’re done with the planning, we’re done with the studies, we need action,” he said. “We will join forces to bring justice to 3rd Avenue so we do not see this again.”
Cesar Zuniga, chair of Community Board 7, said there are “solutions out there,” but the city just needs to set its priorities right. He said he will continue advocating for change in his role as a community board leader.
“This isn’t about reinventing some wheel,” Zuniga said. “This is about adopting best practices and solutions that already exist.”
Borough President Eric Adams said he will add his voice and advocacy for change, not only as a fellow cyclist, but also as someone who has lost a friend to a vehicle crash.
“I believe we’re better than this as a city,” he said. “We need to change our conversation into action.
“To merely have a plan that’s failing in execution is an illusion,” Adams added. “That illusion must turn into a reality. Let’s save the Clara’s of the future.”
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez noted that 3.5 miles along 3rd Avenue is congested with heavy trucks, pedestrians, cyclists and cars. She urged the city to decide, based on facts and evidence, how to best implement safety measures.
Velazquez also called for public service announcements to raise awareness with truckers, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike.
“We need to call for respect and understanding, that our options can cause someone to die,” she said. “Everyone needs to understand that it’s just too heavy in our hearts all the time. This is about life and death.”