Battling back tears, friends and family of the pleaded with the Ridgewood Village Council to allow for a memorial to be constructed at 'The View,' a stone lookout with a view of the New York City skyline.
Though sympathetic to the wishes of family and friends, based on the Wednesday night discussion the council doesn't seem sold on setting such a precedent.
Sixteen-year-old Campanello was rushed to the hospital in the early morning hours of Aug. 8 after suffering from an asthma attack. The popular, gregarious student was prounced dead at the hospital.
A West Sider for all his life, Nick often went to 'The View' on Crest Road with friends, his mother wrote in the statement read by a friend Wednesday night. Rhonda Campanello proposed that a memorial plaque be placed either inside the stone wall on the northern end; a stand placed on the other side of the wall; or a tree be planted in the brush with a plaque.
"That was and always will be Nick's corner," said an emotional Javeria Hassan, a friend and 2012 RHS grad. "I can't think of a more worthy person to have this plaque at 'The View'. His passing has touched if not hudreds, thousands of people in this...town. Saying his passing was a tragedy is an incredible understatement."
"I hope that this plaque is put in 'The View,'" Hassan remarked, pausing occasionally to wipe tears from her cheek. "The grieving process will be easier for all of us. It will give us something tangible to look at, something to remind us of his warm smile...so that we never forget this wonderful person who passed through our lives far too quickly."
Since his passing, friends have continued to frequent the picturesque area, which became a significant spot following the attacks of 9/11 because of it's clear view of the downtown Manhattan skyline.
Campanello's friends illegally painted the stone wall with his nickname ("Campi") as a makeshift memorial. Along with the illegal parking, neighbors in the area have not been pleased.
Council members spoke of holding deep sympathy for the Campanello family and affected friends. But they stopped well short of committing to allowing for a memorial at the space.
"We want to do something," said Mayor Paul Aronsohn. "We're just not sure what."
"It's such a beautiful and historic landmark in Ridgewood and the danger is everyone will want a plaque on that wall," added Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck, who lauded the teens for their courage and leadership. "So we have to weigh very heavily the precedent, not that we don't want Nick to have a memorial there, but that's what we're facing."
Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli said it's impossible to measure the depth of the grieving process. But the placement of too many plaques in the village could undermine the spirit of the idea, he added.
He suggested the possibility of planting shade trees, which he did in part to memorialize his late wife, Gretchen, who passed away last year from a rare form of brain cancer.
Council members Bernadette Walsh and Tom Riche declined to speak on the issue Wednesday night.
The village will be continuing discussions with the Campanello family, Aronsohn said.