The recreation center is officially named after Betty Ann Ong, a Chinatown native who was a flight attendant aboard one of the planes flown into the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks of September 11.
During the hijacking, Ong called an emergency line and relayed the seat numbers of the hijackers allowing authorities to identify them:
The mayor will be at Mason and Washington streets at 12:15 Saturday afternoon for the grand opening of the center, which will be named for San Francisco native Betty Ann Ong, a 45-year-old American Airlines flight attendant who died aboard one of the jets that slammed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Ong, using an air phone, was the first person to alert authorities to the terrorist attacks.Mayor Ed Lee, members of the Board of Supervisors, and the family of Betty Ann Ong were present at Saturday's opening. More here: Community Center named after Sept. 11 hero.
For Ong, her sisters and brother, as well as for generations of other Chinatown residents, the rec center was the play space their tightly packed homes and apartments didn't have. It was the hub of the community, not only for basketball and other sports but also for all the other activities of a busy, growing San Francisco neighborhood.