Woodside street co-named after beloved community member Lou Rispoli

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Rispoli’s husband Danyal Lawson, and Rispoli niece, Christina O’Donnell 2
THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Louis Rispoli will always be remembered as a great husband, friend, mentor and important member of the Woodside community.

Rispoli, who was attacked in October 2012 in Sunnyside and died at Elmhurst Hospital Center days later, was honored and celebrated on July 27 during a ceremony to co-name 51st Street and 43rd Avenue “Louis Rispoli Way.”

“It’s so important to continuously recognize people who were special, people who were very important to our neighborhood, even if they weren’t famous,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, a friend of Rispoli and his husband. “Lou meant so much to 51st Street. Lou meant so much to Woodside.”

Family, friends and local officials gathered at John Downing Square, one of Rispoli’s favorite spots, located in front of the home he shared with his husband of 32 years, Danyal Lawson.

“Everyone knew him and they loved him,” said Lawson. “He loved it here and I know he would be so proud to see his name on the street. In some ways, since Lou moved to Queens, this has always been Louis Rispoli Way, but now everyone knows it.”

During the ceremony, two sisters who Rispoli mentored performed a duet and another girl sang the song from the couple’s wedding day.

Rispoli was known for making everyone laugh and bringing joy to the lives of those close to him. He met

Van Bramer at a house party several years ago and later volunteered with Van Bramer’s 2009 campaign for City Council.

He also enjoyed frequenting many local restaurants and stores including Nunziato’s Florist, whose owner knew both Rispoli and his husband for over 25 years.

“For 25 years it was never just Lou or just Danyal, it was Lou and Danyal, and that goes for today,” said Mike Gioia, owner of Nunziato’s Florist.

He provided an arrangement for the ceremony with the words “Everbest,” which was how Rispoli signed off in letters.

“Lou and Danyal is truly the Louis Rispoli Way,” Gioia added.

There have been no arrests in connection with Rispoli’s death and the investigation is ongoing.

“This shows to Lou, who is up there, but also to the world, that we’ll never forget him,” said Van Bramer.

“We’ll never rest, we’ll never stop fighting for justice for Louis Rispoli.”