City renames street after slain LIC hero

City renames street after slain LIC hero
By Jeremy Walsh

The Dutch Kills resident who was killed while trying to protect his neighbor from a vagrant will be remembered by more than just his neighbors after Mayor Michael Bloomberg approved the renaming of a street in his honor.

Nicolas Nowillo, 65, will be memorialized at the corner of Crescent Street and 40th Avenue, just a few hundred feet from where he lived for decades. It was welcome news to Nowillo’s daughter, Doris Nowillo-Suda, who spearheaded the effort.

“He was a heroic man and it’s a blessing to be able to do this,” she said, noting she had help from Community Board 1, the Dutch Kills Civic Association and City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside). “It was one of the biggest accomplishments for myself this year and I’m looking forward to 2010 and sharing this with everyone in New York City who was a great support to myself and my entire family.”

Gioia was not available for comment by press time, but CB 1 District Manager Lucille Hartman said the board voted unanimously to support the renaming.

“Mr. Nowillo was a longtime resident and a good person, the kind that a neighbor could call if they were threatened,” she said. “The community has been behind it.”

On Sept. 3, 2008, at 10:40 p.m., Nowillo decided to help escort a neighbor from her car into her house after she became nervous about a man standing outside her vehicle, police said.

The man, identified by police as Eric Cherry, attacked Nowillo, who suffered a heart attack, police said. Nowillo died that night at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Cherry was charged with murder and held in lieu of $100,000 bail. His next court date is Jan. 28.

Nowillo was an Ecuadorian immigrant who came to the United States in the 1950s. He served in the U.S. Army, earning his citizenship and starting a long career as a jeweler after his service. He was a regular attendee of Dutch Kills Civic Association meetings.

Nowillo-Suda, who said her father’s dedication to the community inspired her to enroll in the Citizens’ Police Academy program and become a clergy liaison for the Housing Police unit that covers Ravenswood, hopes to have a ceremony dedicating the intersection sometime in the spring.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.