BY DEAN MOSES
The southwest Queens community came together on Oct. 23 to witness the installation of the new local landmark as the intersection of 101st Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill was officially given a new name.
The freshly christened Punjab Avenue comes as a part of a celebration commemorating the contributions made to Queens by its South Asian residents.
“Today is a celebration of our great multicultural mosaic. It is so important that diverse communities like ours see themselves and their cultures represented in the historical landscape and we see the Punjabi community in every corner of Richmond Hill and our city as a whole,” said City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams.
Although the occasion was joyous, Adams said as we celebrate the ever-diverse Queens’ area, we must also recognize that we have all lost loved ones due to the pandemic. Each person represents a part of the fabric this community, she said before asking that everyone in attendance take a moment of silence to remember those lost.
“Today is a celebration meant to unite. We are one district. We are one people. And we must have unity in our entire community,” Adams said.
The ceremony continued with speeches from Assemblyman David Weprin alongside staples of the borough including members of Queens Community Board 9, Sikh Cultural Society President Jatinder Singh Boparai, and other community leaders who each extended their support for the street sign unveiling.
Sikh Cultural Society Former President Harpreet Singh Toor shared that the street renaming of Punjab Avenue will stretch from 101st Avenue up to 223rd Avenue.
“One of the reasons why Punjab Avenue was picked up as a street name was because we as a Punjabi represent a diversity back home in Punjab and we represent diversity right here in Richmond Hill,” said Toor. “This opportunity, this dream we always carried with us to be part of the fabric of this amazing city,” he said.
Jenifer Rajkumar, the Democratic nominee for State Assembly District 38 was also in attendance and said she was “filled with pride.”
“I am a proud American, and most of all I am a proud Punjabi American. I stand before you today as the first Punjabi soon-to-be elected to the New York State Assembly. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate that than coming here and celebrating the opening of Punjab Avenue,” Rajkumar said.
The event culminated with Rajkumar joining elected officials and community leaders in pulling down the street covering to reveal the brand-new street sign.