Twenty streets across Queens renamed for innovators, trailblazers and others who made a difference

The 2018 street renaming for Maria Thomson in Woodhaven.
Photo courtesy of City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office

In the weeks to come, Queens residents and elected officials will celebrate the contributions of residents who helped make the borough a great place through a host of ceremonial street renamings.

The renamings were authorized through City Council legislation passed on Jan. 20. Twenty of the 68 public places and thoroughfares being renamed under the bill are located in Queens, recognizing the lives of local business leaders, inventors, trailblazers and activists.

While it won’t formally change each location’s name, the honor includes the installation of commemorative street signage at each spot, informing future generations of Queens residents of the person’s or group’s significance to the community.

City Councilman I. Daneek Miller had the most Queens street co-namings in the legislation, sponsoring six in all. They include the following.

  • The southwest corner of 99th and Hollis Avenues in Hollis has been co-named Zanu G. Simpson Way, honoring the celebrity barbershop owner who was gunned down during a robbery attempt in July 2017. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Simpson attended I.S. 192 and Bayside High School and, following his education, opened his own barbershop. He became a mentor to many Hollis youths and gave back to the community through back to school picnics and organizing school supply giveaways. (This codifies the street renaming which occurred back in September.)
  • The northern side of the corner of 115th Road and Farmers Boulevard in St. Albans will be co-named Reverend Walter A. and Doris L. Jones Way. Pastor Walter Jones founded the Majority Baptist Church in October 1960 and became one of southeast Queens’ most influential ministers. His wife, Doris, was also active in the church and additionally served the community as a block watcher and a den mother for Boy Scout Troop 279.
  • The southeast corner of 219th Street and Linden Boulevard in Cambria Heights will be co-named Margie Boyd Way, honoring the co-pastor and first lady of the New Greater Bethel Ministries. She served as head of the Bethel Christian School and the Women’s Department, as well as with several local community boards and civic organizations. Boyd died in June 2017.
  • The northeast corner of 167th Street and Linden Boulevard in South Jamaica will be co-named Reverend Julius and Mother Coreania Carter Way, honoring the co-founders of the Carter Community AME Church in 1947. The Carters served the spiritual needs of South Jamaica residents and beyond, as they helped to open in 1965 the first senior citizen complex of its kind in the state.
  • The northeast corner of 118th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard in Cambria Heights will be co-named Melody Anne-Simone Edwards Way, one of five young people who died during a Queens Village house fire in April 2017. Edwards was visiting one of her friends, who lived there, when the tragic blaze broke out.
  • The northwest corner of Pineville Lane and Merrick Boulevard in Springfield Gardens will be co-named Hopkins Way for Novell Hopkins, a former deputy director of civilian personnel for the Fire Department and an active member of local civic groups. She was the founder and vice president of the Neighborhood Block Association for Springfield Gardens.

Some of the other Queens street renamings are as follows:

  • The block of 111th Street between Liberty and 107th Avenues in Richmond Hill will be co-named for Correction Officer Jonathan Narain, who was gunned down in a road rage shooting last September. Narain, who was assigned to Rikers Island, was an active member of the Shree Durga Mandir, working with students and worshippers to offer counseling, mentoring and career advice. City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams sponsored the street renaming in his honor.
  • The corner of 37th Street and Broadway in Astoria will be co-named Chester Carlson Way, honoring the Seattle-born inventor credited with helping to invent photocopying. While living at his home on 37th Street in Astoria, on Oct. 22, 1938, Carlson and his partner Otto Kornei produced the first xerographic image. This led to the rise and growth of the Xerox Corporation, and the technology forever transformed how the world conducted business. City Councilman Costa Constantinides sponsored the street renaming.
  • Constantinides also sponsored the co-naming of the intersection of 75th Street and 31st Avenue in Jackson Heights as Mount Everest Way, in honor of the Nepali community of New York City. According to the City Council, approximately 10,000 Nepalis reside in the city, though there are estimates that the figure is much higher. Many Nepali residents have settled in the Jackson Heights area. Mount Everest, which is located in Nepal, is the highest point on Earth, reaching 29,029 feet into the sky.
  • The block of Woodward Avenue between Grove and Linden Streets in Ridgewood will be co-named for Father Yohanna T. Guirgis, who helped grow the Coptic Christian community in Ridgewood and the United States. Guirgis emigrated to the U.S. from Egypt in 1973 and began his ministry in Ridgewood, establishing the first Coptic Christian Church in America, St. Mary’s and St. Antonio’s.  City Councilman Robert Holden sponsored the street renaming.
  • The northern intersection of Queens Boulevard and 71st Road in Forest Hills will be co-named Adelaide Connaughton Way, recognizing the long-time neighborhood resident and community activist. She began her career as an intern with then-Assistant District Attorney Geraldine Ferraro and went on to work for numerous local elected officials. Connaughton died suddenly in May 2018 at the age of 59; City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz sponsored the renaming.
  • The block of 169th Street between Highland Avenue and Homelawn Street in Jamaica Hills will be co-named Ramesh D. Kalicharran “Kali” Way, honoring the local businessman who was active in numerous Indo-Caribbean organizations in Queens. Kalicharran died in December 2017 at the age of 68; City Councilman Rory Lancman sponsored the street renaming.
  • Lancman also sponsored the co-naming of 168th Street between Highland Avenue and Gothic Drive as JMC Way, in recognition of the nearby Jamaica Muslim Center. Founded in the 1980s, the JMC has become the largest mosque in the area, offering prayers five times a day and organizing many celebrations of Muslim holy days. The center also offers numerous community programs and has helped promote Islamic awareness.
  • The corner of 104th Street and Nicolls Avenue in Corona will be co-named Nicholas Pennetti Way, honoring the long-time Corona resident who was an active member of St. Leo’s Parish, the Corona Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Community Board 4. Pennetti, who was married for 74 years, died in April 2018. City Councilman Francisco Moya sponsored the renaming.
  • The intersection of 140th Avenue and 180th Street in Springfield Gardens will be co-named Rev. Dr. Freddie Brunswick Sr. Way, recognizing the founder of the Salem Missionary Baptist Church. He was active in maintaining the growth of York College and helped the Springfield Gardens Civic Association in its duties. The pastor died in February 2018; City Councilman Donovan Richards sponsored the street renaming.
  • The intersection of 90th Street between Rockaway Boulevard and 101st Avenue in Ozone Park will be co-named Chief Ronald Spadafora Way, honoring a 40-year Fire Department veteran. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Spadafora supervised the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero and was named the chief of safety. Spadafora succumbed to illnesses related to his work at Ground Zero in July 2018; City Councilman Eric Ulrich sponsored the street renaming.
  • The northeast corner of Queens Boulevard and 39th Street in Sunnyside will be co-named for Gertrude McDonald, one of Queens’ trailblazers. McDonald was a member of Community Board 2 for more than 40 years and, in 1968, was the first woman in Queens history to run for elected office as a Democrat. She died in May 2017 at the age of 100; City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer sponsored the street renaming.
  • Van Bramer also sponsored the co-naming of the intersection of 49th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City for Terri Mona Adams, the former president of the Hunters Point Community Development Corporation. A former operations supervisor in the United States Navy, Adams helped create numerous community programs in the Hunters Point area of Long Island City, from Easter egg hunts to Halloween parties and even a farmers’ market. Adams died in September 2017 at the age of 75.

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