Ray Abeyta
58 years old

Ray Abeyta was known as the mayor of Williamsburg – but that wasn’t how he saw himself, his wife Alyssa said. More like Williamsburg royalty. “He knew everyone,” she said. “He loved people. He loved making people feel welcome and comfortable in his world.”

Abeyta was born in New Mexico, and grew up everywhere. His father was in the Army so the family did stints in France, Peru, and Guatemala. He came to New York in the 1980s and settled in Williamsburg.

But the influence of New Mexico shone through in Abeyta’s enormous, intricate paintings works that often focused on the themes of colonization and the sea. He made small paintings, too, and gave them away. “He would just go to somebody and just hand it to them,” Alyssa said. “Maybe he knew them well, maybe he didn’t.”

Abeyta was also a talented mechanic who worked on vintage cars, like the pristine ‘68 Bonneville Triumph he was riding when he was struck. He was refurbishing a pair motorcycles with his 18-year-old son at the time of his death.

Alyssa added that, contrary to published reports, Abeyta did not own and operate run bars -- that’s something she does. She said his love of conversation, however, made him “a great bar patron.”

This collision happened on November 30, 2014 near Flushing Avenue at Waverly Street in Brooklyn. See details in the Mean Streets Tracker.

Mean Streets 2014: Who We Lost, How They Lived

Throughout 2014, WNYC tracked the 265 men, women and children killed in traffic crashes in New York City. In addition to reporting the circumstances of their deaths, we looked at who they were in life: mothers, fathers, grandparents, students, recent immigrants and native New Yorkers. To read some of their stories, click on a photograph.