BY EMMA MILLER
The intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Forest Parkway in Woodhaven has been co-named Maria Thomson Way after the late civic activist and business leader.
Community members and family members gathered for the naming on Wednesday morning, Oct. 11.
“Maria Thomson was the embodiment of community service and was the staunchest advocate for Woodhaven. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to work with Maria know that she has a heart of gold. Maria dedicated decades of her life to the betterment of the community — and the borough of Queens,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich, who was present at the co-naming.
Thomson served Woodhaven residents in a variety of ways for more than 40 years. She was the president of the 102nd Precinct Community Council for five terms. An avid supporter of the NYPD, she was also the only person to be named 102nd Precinct Honorary Police Officer of the Month.
Thomson also served as president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, where she prevented a bar where two murders took place from reopening. She was the founder of the Woodhaven Residents’ Security Patrol and a member of Community Board 9, where she advocated for better bus routes and stops. As a board member, Thomson helped restore the left-turn lane on Jamaica Avenue for buses and opposed bus stops on the medians.
As executive director of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, she planned various efforts to boost business along Jamaica Avenue, including hosting the Wonderful Woodhaven Street Festival and the creation of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District.
Thomson was also an advocate throughout the borough. Because of her activism, the Forest Park Carousel became a city landmark, Fire Engine Company 294 reopened, Fire Engine Company 293 was saved from closure and the Jamaica Avenue elevated train was repaired and repainted.
Thomson died on Jan. 10 of this year after suffering a stroke. In a statement on Facebook after her death, Ulrich said, “She was a legend and someone who truly cared. Maria had a heart of gold and dedicated decades of her life to the betterment of her neighborhood and borough.”
“Every time someone walks past Maria Thomson Way, they will be reminded of her legacy, which will live on forever,” said Ulrich.