Hundreds of residents on Sunday, Aug. 20 celebrated the co-naming of 131st Street and Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill as ‘Trinidad and Tobago Street,’ making it the first street to be named after the twin-island anywhere in the world.
In a festive celebration reminiscent of carnival, community leaders, elected officials and residents wore red, black and white to welcome the addition of the street sign recognizing the contributions of immigrant communities from the twin-island republic, as the country is known in the economic, political and social fabric of the Big Apple.
Richmond Hill is home to thousands of residents from Trinidad and Tobago, who have established restaurants and roti shops, entertainment and religious institutions. Census data shows the community is among the largest immigrant groups in Queens and New York City.
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said the street co-naming is a “significant milestone” that celebrates Trinbagonian families, small businesses, and community organizations that have “shaped our city for decades.”
“New York City’s Trinbagonian community has contributed immensely to the cultural and economic landscape of our neighborhoods,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “I’m proud to represent a vibrant and diverse community in District 28, whose accomplishments and legacies are now officially recognized through the new ‘Trinidad and Tobago Street’ sign.”
Adams said that she’s grateful for the partnership of community leaders who helped make the long-sought dream into a reality.
The bill to designate “Trinidad and Tobago Street” was initiated by a committee that included Assembly 31 District Leader Richard David, and community leaders of Trinidadian and Tobagonian descent including Vijah Ramjattan, president of the Community Education Council District 28, Anoop Dhanpat, president of the Trinidadian and Tobagonian Association of USA, and Rose Deonarine, a real estate agent.
“We began planning this two years ago and the unveiling was magical, with a festival-like atmosphere filled with music, celebration and joy with hundreds of residents. We love our neighborhood and are proud that it is home to the first Trinidad and Tobago Street anywhere in the world. Thanks to the sponsors, performers, dignitaries and the community for the amazing ceremony,” the committee said in a statement.
Sherry Algredo, who made history becoming the first Trinidadian and woman to chair Community Board 9, said she was elated and proud to see her heritage in the form of a street sign.
“I was so happy to be an integral part of this and working with the City Council Speaker’s office directly to get this approved,” Algredo said. “I will forever be grateful to the Speaker for doing this for our people here and caring about highlighting our culture and others as well in a street co-naming. Our heritage now stands proudly at the corner of 131st St and Liberty Avenue.”
In true Trini style, the unveiling included a steel pan performance and moko jumbies from Tropical Fete, chutney and soca music performances.
The event was sponsored by Singh’s Roti Shop, the Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park Lions Club, Ramdeen’s Electrical, Jahajee Sisters, Flamingo and Mantra Lounge, Shanta Florist, and Sunita’s Travel Agency. Visit Trinidad, the official tourism body of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, was also present and provided raffle prizes.
Andre Laveau, consulate general for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, said the street-co naming of ‘Trinidad and Tobago Street’ is as “powerful a compliment as one can imagine, to the contribution of Trinidad and Tobago nationals to community life in Queens.”
“The consulate general is truly thankful that the values, lifestyle and hard work that our people bring to New York are being so graciously recognized by our friends” Laveau said.