Queens lawmakers announce law to memorialize late NYPD officer with highway overpass renaming

Late NYPD officer Anastasios Tsakos
Police Officer Anastasios Tsakos served 14 years with the NYPD, mostly with its Highway Patrol Unit 3. (Photo courtesy of NYPD)

A bill sponsored by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic to rename the Long Island Expressway (LIE) overpass at Francis Lewis Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway as “Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge,” after the fallen NYPD office, was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. 

The new law, which passed both the state Senate and Assembly with bipartisan support, will now allow the Department of Transportation (DOT) to proceed with the design and installation of signage.

The designation of “Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge” will help keep the memory of Tsakos alive while serving as a reminder of his tragic death in the line of duty, according to Stavisky. 

“Detective Tsakos served our city with distinction for more than a decade before his untimely passing,” Stavisky said. “He was a loving son, husband and father who is survived by his wife and two children. I am honored to have sponsored this bill to rename this overpass as a small gesture of gratitude for his sacrifice.”

Rozic thanked Hochul for signing the legislation expeditiously. 

“This new law and signage will help memorialize Detective Tsakos and his heroism by renaming the Francis Lewis Boulevard LIE overpass in his honor,” Rozic said. 

 In May, Stavisky and Rozic were joined by Tsakos’s wife Irene, various units of the NYPD, the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York (NYC PBA) President Patrick Lynch, and members of the local community memorializing the one-year anniversary of Tsakos, who was killed in the line of duty.

Anastasios Tsakos
(Back row): Queens Community Board 11 District Manager Joseph Marzillano, Senator James Gaughran and Assemblyman Keith Brown. (Front row): Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, President of St. Francis Preparatory Brother Leonard Conway, NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster, Irene Tsakos, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Principal of St. Francis Preparatory Patrick McLaughlin and President of NYC PBA Patrick Lynch. (Photo courtesy of Rozic’s office)

On April 21, 2021, while responding to a collision that occurred on the LIE to assist with directing traffic, Tsakos was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver. The driver fled the scene but was later apprehended and charged by a Queens grand jury with a 13-count indictment including aggravated manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter.

Tsakos, who is from East Northport, had served 13 years with the NYPD as a highway officer assigned to Highway Unit 3. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective. 

To honor his memory, Stavisky and Rozic introduced legislation in their respective houses to rename the LIE overpass located at Francis Lewis Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway as “Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge.” 

Over the past few months, several gatherings have occurred to honor Tsakos including a plaque and motorcycle sidecar dedication and renaming of the wellness center and gym at Highway Unit 3.

Kim Royster, NYPD chief of transportation, said they must ensure future generations forever recognize the immense sacrifice Tsakos made for the city he served. 

 “The heartbreaking loss of Detective Anastasios Tsakos has left a void in our hearts that neither words nor time can ever fill. However, we have an obligation to honor his memory and legacy,” Royster said. “The renaming of the Long Island Expressway overpass where Detective Tsakos was killed, is one way we fulfill our promise that we make to all members of the NYPD the moment they step foot inside the halls of the police academy, a promise that we will never forget those officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.”