Mayor Bill de Blasio Signs Legislation Co-Naming 51 Thoroughfares and Public Spaces

August 10, 2015

Also signs legislation requiring reporting on compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design

NEW YORK —Mayor de Blasio today signed into law seven pieces of legislation – Intros. 849 and 235, in relation to the naming of 51 thoroughfares and public places and renaming of Court Square in Queens, amending the official map of New York; Intro. 558-A, in relation to an annual report on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design; Intros. 89-A and 830-A, in relation to the City’s Adult Protective Services program; Intro. 847-A, in relation to a study on the impact of growth in the taxicab and for-hire vehicle industries; and Intro 425-A, in relation to communications resiliency.

The first two bills, Intros. 849 and 235, relate to the co-naming of 51 thoroughfares and public places in New York City, and the renaming of Court Square in Queens to Court Square East and Court Square West, amending the official map of New York accordingly. By co-naming a street in their honor, this legislation commemorates people, events, and institutions that have marked the history of New York City and helped strengthen their communities. Among the streets being co-named are Detective 1st Grade Brian Moore Way and Detective Dennis Guerra Way in Queens, Robert Lowery Way in Manhattan, Do The Right Thing Way in Brooklyn and Mitchell-Lama Way in Brooklyn. These bills were passed by the City Council during the Stated Meeting on July 23. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and all 31 Council Members who sponsored the legislation.

“Our city has a long and powerful history, brimming with dedicated New Yorkers who have fought to improve their communities in countless ways – from public service to community activism to the arts. It is essential that we commemorate those who have built up our past as we work to build a better future for our city. This legislation ensures that we remain connected to our history and to the important values embodied by these individuals,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

Also today, we strongly reaffirm our commitment to live up to one of the single most important pieces of civil rights legislation in the history of this nation – the Americans with Disabilities Act. On the 25th anniversary, we are working to ensure all, regardless of ability, can enjoy the lush outdoor spaces our city has to offer. I want to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito for her leadership, as well as all of the sponsors in the City Council for supporting these pieces of legislation,” said the Mayor.

“Today’s street co-namings honor our city's finest and bravest New Yorkers. First Detective Brian Moore, Detective Dennis Guerra, and Captain James F. McDonnell gave their lives protecting New York City and their courageous sacrifice and service will never be forgotten. We also honor the life and memory of William Soto, a dedicated public activist who fought against poverty and racism and championed equality and opportunity for the Latino community of East Harlem and the disenfranchised across the city. His contributions to our city's history are a testament to the power of everyday New Yorkers to spark meaningful change. The New York City Council is proud to honor these individuals and ensure that their legacies live on in the heart of our city,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“The street name change from Court Square to Court Square East and Court Squa‎re West will clarify the streets for emergency personnel,” said Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “This name change will make the roads clearer for everyone who accesses streets in the area of Court Square.”

“I'm thrilled that we are honoring the pioneering legacies of New York City's first African-American Fire Commissioner Robert Lowery, and Dorothy Mae Skinner, a champion of her beloved Harlem community. Their place in the pantheon of New York leaders was established long ago, and their selfless service is an example that endures for all of us to aspire to. This legislation passed by the Council and signed by Mayor de Blasio should make Harlem and the entire City of New York proud,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Committee on Parks.

“I am proud the Mayor and the City Council have honored Dennis Syntilas and his family with this street co-naming. His contributions to his community have been longstanding. Syntilas worked to improve Astoria by promoting Hellenic and Democratic values through his founding of Athens Square and the Greek-American Homeowners Association. He is a great example of civic engagement and responsibility throughout our community. This recognition will forever commemorate his tireless work and contributions to our city,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides.

“My Bedford-Stuyvesant has a big personality. We love the arts, we love our culture and we love community-minded people. The creation of Do The Right Thing Way and Det. Clarence M. Surgeon Way, one unique co-naming and the other traditional, exemplifies these shared values. I’m so proud to join with Spike Lee, the Surgeon family, and all my constituents in continuing this great tradition of community self-determination,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.

“For nearly 80 years, New Yorkers have frequented Tom’s Restaurant in Prospect Heights for its good food, warm smiles, and stellar customer service exemplified by the late Gus Vlahavas and his staff. Founded in 1936, this popular eatery has preserved the unique identity, charm, and history of its surrounding community over the past several decades. Today, thousands of hungry diners continue to wait on line for its classic menu including the infamous egg creams. The co-naming of Sterling Place to Gus Vlahavas Place, which I proudly spearheaded, will serve as a lasting tribute to a man who will forever be remembered as a strong pillar of the small business community in Brooklyn,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

“Leonard Harper was one of the most influential African-American producers, directors and choreographers of his era. Throughout his short lifespan, he produced over 2,000 shows on stage and screen with some of the greatest icons of the Harlem Renaissance. His work left everlasting impressions and opened a door of opportunities for others to be involved in the motion picture industry. Because of his historic performances and productions that showcased Black culture, it is with great honor that the southwest corner of 132nd street and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. be known as Leonard Harper Way,” said Council Member Inez E. Dickens.

“Street co-naming is a wonderful New York City tradition that celebrates the rich history of our community and I am thrilled that two more streets in my district will be co-named for notable Bronx residents. As of today, The Way of the Finest, located directly in front of the 42nd Precinct, will also be known as Ronald G. Becker, Jr. Way. P.O. Becker, Jr. was a 9/11 first responder who spent several months securing the site following the attack and spent his free time as a volunteer identifying victims’ remains. He later succumbed to complications related to his work at Ground Zero in 2012 and I firmly believe there is no greater way to honor his memory than by adding his name to The Way of the Finest,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “Today also marks the addition of the name of legendary Jazz singer Maxine Sullivan to Ritter Avenue, between Prospect and Union Avenues. Sullivan not only traveled the world as a famous singer, but also became a nurse, served as a school board president, and was an active community member. She was a true renaissance woman and I am proud to honor her memory.”

“Sergeant Charles Cochran and Larry Selman devoted their lives to public service,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “Sergeant Cochran served our City valiantly as a police officer and as a trailblazer for the LGBT community. Larry Selman was a pillar of Greenwich Village who dedicated countless hours of his life to serving both his neighbors and the city at large. With streets co-named in their honor, we will ensure that their legacy of courage and kindness is remembered by future generations of New Yorkers.”

“Carmen Rosa was a humble, dedicated public servant of the people of the City of New York, and a trusted partner to many community leaders, elected officials, clergy and law enforcement. Noted for her compassion working with constituents as District Manager of Community Board 12, the people of the Northeast Bronx mourn her loss, and this fitting tribute of a street naming will allow her name to be indelibly linked to the area where she made such an impact. For someone who had participated in many street namings during her tenure at the community board, I know she is smiling down on this moment,” said Council Member Andy King.

“The death of Allison Liao was devastating to our community. As drivers pass Allison Hope Liao Way, it is our hope that they recall her parents’ poignant message that no distraction or careless behavior behind the wheel is worth the life of another,” said Council Member Peter Koo. “We now have Allison Hope Liao Way to remind us all of the fragility of life, and of the deadly consequences that can occur behind the wheel.”

“Briana Ojeda's passing was a tragic shock to her family and her community. I am proud to honor her memory with this co-naming,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.

“Peter Piccininni was a dedicated, community-minded man who helped to improve the lives of so many people through the Kings Plaza Kiwanis and other organizations. This most fitting honor will serve as a reminder of the strong legacy he left and his love for the community,” said Council Member Alan Maisel.

“We cannot ever properly commemorate the value of the service that Detective Brian Moore has given to our community – it is immeasurable. It deeply saddens us that in the line of duty he paid the ultimate sacrifice – his life,” stated Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “Co-naming this street in his honor is an attempt to show gratitude and appreciation for Detective Moore, solidifying his legacy in our community.”

“By co-naming streets in my district Albert Blumburg Way, Matty Alou Way, Bruce Reynolds Way and EMT Luis De Pena Jr. Square, we honor fallen heroes and community leaders, ensuring their much deserved legacy. Albert Blumberg was a longtime community leader who paved the way for equity in Northern Manhattan, helping fight for a stronger voice for the burgeoning Dominican Community in the 1970s and 1980s. Matty Alou paved the way for Dominicans in baseball, showing kids across the Dominican Republic that they too could achieve greatness. Bruce Reynolds died in service to our city protecting our citizens. Luis De Pena Jr., an EMT worker, rushed to the Twin Towers as other rushed away on that fateful day. That day he saved dozens of lives, though he contracted the beginnings of a disease that would ultimately claim his life. Northern Manhattan thanks him for his service. They will always be remembered,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“Co-naming streets is an important way to connect our community leaders from the past with our residents of the present and the future,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “The efforts of Sheila Pecoraro, James English and Mary Trachtenberg should never be forgotten since their advocacy helped improve their communities for the better. It is also important to honor the service and sacrifice of brave men and women such as Det. Dennis Guerra, who selflessly gave his life to save the lives of others.”

“Four of the many names put forward today are based in my district and represent so many corners of every community. By naming Blumberg, Alou, Reynolds and De Pena ways we honor fallen heroes and community leaders, ensuring their much deserved legacy. Luis De Pena, an EMT worker, rushed to the Twin Towers as other rushed away on that fateful day. That day he saved dozens of lives, though he contracted the beginnings of a disease that would ultimately claim his life. So many of my community in Northern Manhattan lost their lives that day or because of that day and today I am proud to honor their legacy. Albert Blumberg was a longtime community leader who paved the way for equity in Northern Manhattan, helping fight for a stronger voice to the burgeoning Dominican community in the 1970s and 1980s. Matty Alou paved the way for Dominicans in baseball, showing kids across the Dominican Republic that they too could achieve greatness. Finally, Bruce Reynolds died in service to our city protecting our citizens. These local heroes are shining examples in our community and I am proud to have the opportunity to honor their legacies,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“This fall, we will honor the memories of Wayne “Chops” Derrick, Elizabeth Egbert, Art Hall and Dominick “Dom” Lambert, four Staten Islanders who had tremendous impact in their community via education, sports, the arts and community service. Our upcoming street co-namings in their honor will ensure that future generations of Staten Islanders will always remember their contributions,” said Council Member Deborah Rose.

“Our city’s greatest strengths include those individuals who make their community better for others and leave a positive, unique legacy through their actions and words. Co-naming a public street in honor of these great New Yorkers is a fitting tribute and a way to ensure that their efforts are remembered and appreciated by future generations. There is no question that community activist and business leader Lou Powsner, world-renowned photographer Seth Kushner and spiritual leader Father Connie Mobley all made an indelible impression on countless lives throughout southern Brooklyn and beyond, and truly deserve this recognition. I am proud to be part of this effort to co-name local streets in thanks for the lasting impact these New Yorkers had on our community and city,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.

“Bill Twomey was an icon of the Bronx,” said Council Member James Vacca. “As a Bronx historian, he educated generations of Bronxites on their rich history and invoked a sense of pride for the borough – a sense of pride that has been memorialized in several books he authored and in his famous Bronx Times Reporter column, “Do Your Remember,” which is still being reprinted. Through his leadership the North East Bronx Historical Society was founded and it has left a mark on many Bronxites. I’m proud to have sponsored the co-naming of Bill Twomey Way and look forward to the dedication.”

“I applaud the New York City Council for unanimously voting to approve my bill co-naming 28th Avenue, outside the new police academy in College Point, in honor of Patrolman Phillip Cardillo who tragically lost his life in the line of duty,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “Soon, generations of new officers will be able to look to the sign and know his story and legacy to the department. May this sign forever remind us of the sacrifices that the men and women of the NYPD are too often asked to selflessly make, as well as serve as a symbol that these sacrifices are never forgotten. This recognition has been long overdue and I couldn’t be more proud to right the wrongs from 43 years ago. I look forward to standing proudly at the street co-naming ceremony with Patrolman Cardillo’s family and all those who have fought to honor his memory and I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing this bill into law today.”

“Catherine McAuley High School was a beacon in the East Flatbush community for decades, known for its academic excellence and positive community impact. Named after Mother Catherine Elizabeth McAuley who exemplified public service, the all-girls’ Catholic high school was designated a Nationally Recognized School of Excellence – the first and only in my district. Though it closed in 2013, I am proud that it will forever live on by co-naming East 37th Street and Foster Avenue ‘Catherine McAuley High School Way.’ I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Council’s Cultural Affairs Chair Van Bramer for supporting this initiative, which was backed by a tremendous amount of alumni and local residents. I look forward to joining the community to unveil this important street co-naming within the coming months,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

In total, this legislation co-names 51 streets and public places, including 9 individuals who have died in the line of duty:

  • Detective 1st Grade Brian Moore, a five-year NYPD veteran killed while on plainclothes patrol for the Anti-Crime Unit in Queens.
  • Detective Dennis Guerra, an eight-year NYPD veteran killed after responding to a residential apartment building fire in Queens.
  • Patrolman Phillip Cardillo, a five-year NYPD veteran killed while responding to a 10-13 call in Queens.
  • EMT Luis De Pena, Jr., who died of illnesses resulting from his work at the Ground Zero site in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Officer Bruce Reynolds, a 15-year veteran of the Port Authority Police killed while trying to save others on September 11, 2001.
  • Captain James McDonnell, a FDNY veteran killed from injuries received on the job in Manhattan.
  • Police Officer Ronald G. Becker Jr., a 20-year NYPD veteran who died of illnesses resulting from his work at the Ground Zero site in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Firefighter John P. Sullivan, FDNY veteran who died of illnesses resulting from his work at the Ground Zero site in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Officer Thomas Choi, a veteran of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Police Department struck by a driver in Staten Island.

 

The following individuals and entities will also be honored with co-namings:

  • Albert Blumburg Way
  • Allison Hope Liao Way
  • Art Hall Way
  • Assistant Principal Linda A. Romano Place
  • Bill Twomey Place
  • Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Way
  • Briana Ojeda Way
  • Carmen Rosa Way
  • Catherine McAuley High School Way
  • Dennis Syntilas Way
  • Detective Clarence M. Surgeon Way
  • Do The Right Thing Way
  • Dominick (Dom) Lambert Way
  • Dorothy Skinner Way
  • Dr. Meryl Efron Way
  • Elizabeth Egbert Way
  • Father Connie Mobley Boulevard
  • Frank Kowalinski Way
  • Gregorio Luperón Way
  • Gus Vlahavas Place
  • Henry "Red"Allen Way
  • James English Way
  • Larry Selman Way
  • Leonard Harper Way
  • Louis Powsner Way
  • Marjorie Sewell Cautley Way
  • Mary’s Way
  • Matinecock Way
  • Matty Alou Way
  • Maxine Sullivan Way
  • Mitchell-Lama Way
  • Mrs. Rosemary Way
  • Peter W. Piccininni Way
  • Ptl. Phillip Cardillo Way
  • Rabbi Sidney Kleiman Way
  • Robert Lowery Way
  • Seth Kushner Way
  • Sgt. Charles H. Cochrane Way
  • Sheila Pecoraro Way
  • Tanaya R. Copeland Avenue
  • Vincent Abate Way
  • Wayne “Chops” Derrick Way
  • William Soto Way

 

The third bill, Intro. 558-A, requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to report annually on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design. The Department will report on park facilities that have been specifically designed for disabled individuals, facilities that have been assessed for ADA compliance in the preceding year, and plans for improving accessibility. This bill was passed by the City Council on July 23.  In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Mark Levine.

“If our park system is truly going to be for all New Yorkers, then that must include New Yorkers with disabilities. But sadly, today only 20 percent of parks restrooms and 10 percent of playgrounds are accessible to New Yorkers with disabilities. This bill will help change that by ensuring regular reports to assess the level of compliance of our parks with the Americans with Disabilities Act. I thank my colleagues in the City Council and Mayor de Blasio for supporting this legislation that will bring us a step closer to full accessibility for all New Yorkers at city parks,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Committee on Parks.

The fourth and fifth bills, Intros. 89-A and Intro. 830-A, relate to the City’s Adult Protective Services program. Intro. 89 requires the Human Resources Administration to provide semiannual reports on referrals to Adult Protective Services, including the total number of referrals and the number of referrals determined ineligible, disaggregated by reason. Intro. 830-A requires biannual Adult Protective Services training for employees of certain City agencies. These bills were passed by the City Council on July 23. In his remarks, Mayor de Blasio thanked the bills’ sponsors, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Paul Vallone and Council Member Stephen Levin.

“After spending two decades as an attorney working hand-in-hand with the judicial system, hospitals, health care providers and clients for those in greatest need during guardianship proceedings, I was determined to address the growing crisis facing APS,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers. “The additional training required by my bill, coupled with the improved data regarding referrals to APS we will receive, thanks to Council Member Levin’s bill, will go a long way towards protecting and assisting our seniors and those most vulnerable and in need. Also, our call on Albany to address elder abuse and financial exploitation was sorely needed as so many of our seniors are devastated by financial abuse. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to improve the social safety net for seniors who deserve the best from our city, and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for signing these bills into law today.”

“Adult Protective Services provides critical social services to New Yorkers who need them most. This bill will allow us to gather more information about how and where services are being accessed and referrals are being made in order to ensure that programs are efficiently and effectively serving the needs of residents,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.

The sixth bill, Intro. 847-A, requires the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection to collaborate to study the impact of growth in the taxicab and for-hire vehicle industries on traffic and mobility in New York City. The study will include data on the number of driver’s, vehicle, base station, black car and luxury limousine base licenses issued and renewed within the past three years, as well as the number of each that were eligible for renewal and not renewed. It will also report on the usage of taxicab, livery, for-hire vehicles, black car and luxury limousine service in each borough during the past three years. This bill was passed by the City Council on July 23. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsors, Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Rory Lancman.

“The rapid growth of the for-hire sector caused deep concern among my colleagues and me. After much deliberation and discussion with industry stakeholders we discovered the best path forward to allow us to truly understand this growth’s impacts. This process, though tense at times, provided much needed wins for the everyday driver, both licensed and every day. The agreement reached allows our city to develop recommendations to best fight congestion while also beginning conversations surrounding driver’s wages, MTA surcharges and consumer protections. These have long been the priority of this Council and with this agreement we take a huge leap forward to move on them. I am proud of the deal that we have been able to come to and look forward to evaluating the results of this study. Thank you again to Speaker Mark Viverito and Mayor de Blasio for their support throughout this process,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

The final bill, Intro. 425-A, requires the New York City Climate Change Adaptation Task Force to report on the potential impact of climate change on the City’s telecommunications infrastructure, including an emergency communications access plan and recommendations for improving the resiliency of telecommunications infrastructure. This bill was passed by the City Council on July 23. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Mark Treyger.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy was getting in touch with loved ones and receiving vital information due to widespread phone, internet and cable service outages across the city. As we learn important lessons from Sandy and prepare for the next major storm, we must look for ways to prevent crippling breakdowns in the city’s communications infrastructure in order to keep the public safe and informed. My thanks to Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and my colleagues for supporting this critical addition to our city’s emergency response efforts and to my committee staff for their hard work on this bill. This will go a long way towards making the city more resilient and better equipped to handle severe weather and other emergencies,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Recovery & Resiliency.     

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