CB4 approves street co-naming for longtime owner of The Lemon Ice King of Corona

By Bill Parry

The man behind a borough icon will have a street co-named for him if Community Board 4 gets its way.

The street outside The Lemon Ice King of Corona, at 108th Street and Corona Avenue, would be called “Peter Benfaremo Way,” if the City Council approves it, following a unanimous vote in support of the motion by CB 4 last week.

“It was pretty cut and dried,” CB 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol said. “It was the fastest approval I can remember.
Benfaremo’s father, Nicola, opened the Italian ice shop back in 1944, but it was Peter who ran the shop for decades until he died in 2008. The request for the street co-naming came from current co-owner of the shop, Vincent Barbaccia, a distant relative of Benfaremo’s.

“I was a little surprised that it passed so easily. I figured there would be more red tape and bureaucracy,” Barbaccia said. “But he definitely deserved it. The man was so well-known and did so much for this neighborhood, like hiring generations of kids from the surrounding blocks. That vote was a real slam dunk.”

The Lemon Ice King of Corona went from two flavors of Italian ice to 36 over the decades and it became a Queens institution drawing sports fans from Shea Stadium, and then Citi Field, as well as the US Open. The shop itself was featured in the opening credits of the TV sitcom “The King of Queens.”

Barbaccia started working in the store, located at 52-02 108th St., as a 14-year-old. “He lived in the neighborhood his entire life and raised his family here, he loved it here right up until he died right upstairs,” he said of Peter Benfaremo. “It’s more than fitting that the street will bear his name.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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