Elected officials gather to co-name street corner in Kew Gardens Hills in honor of late Assemblymember Michael Simanowitz

Elected officials gathered to honor the late former Assemblymember Michael Simanowitz with a street co-naming.
Photo courtesy of the Office of James Gennaro

The corner of Main Street and 75th Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills was co-named “Michael Simanowitz Way” in honor of the late assemblymember, in a ceremony hosted by Queens Council Member James Gennaro that took place on Sunday, Mar. 3.

Gennaro was joined by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, state Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and Leroy Comrie, Assemblymembers Sam Berger and Stacey Pheffer Amato, Congresswoman Grace Meng and members of the Simanowitz family to honor Michael Simanowitz, who represented the neighborhoods of Forest Hills and Kew Gardens for six years.

The bill to co-name the street in his name was presented to Community Board 8 and passed through the New York City Council unanimously last year, following a request from Berger.

Gennaro said that despite trying to keep a relatively low profile, Michael Simanowitz was well known and beloved by the community.

“It is an honor to be here today, alongside the Simanowitz family and colleagues, to pay tribute to a local legend. I thank Assembly Member Sam Berger for coming with me to this request and making this his top priority since assuming office,” he said.

Richards added that Simanowitz embodied what it meant to be a public servant.

“While his life was far too short, his legacy will live on for many years to come at the corner Main Street and 75th Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills, and across The World’s Borough,” he said.

Simanowitz was a public servant for more than two decades having served as Chief of Staff to former Assemblymember Nettie Mayersohn for 15 years and prior to his election as assembly member, he served as the commanding officer for the 107th Auxiliary Police Unit, earning the rank of Deputy Inspector.

As an auxiliary officer, he helped in the rescue efforts following 9/11, as well as during the Northeast Blackout of 2003.

“He had a heart of gold and worked tirelessly for the communities he represented. He was taken from us way too soon and I continue to miss him greatly. But this street co-naming will help ensure that the contributions he made to our borough will always be remembered, and that future generations will know about the crucial work he did,” Meng said.

As an assemblymember, Simanowitz sponsored and passed a law that required minors to have parental consent before getting a body piercing, and another that banned the use of unclaimed bodies as cadavers in medical or mortuary schools without the written consent of a spouse or next of kin, or unless the deceased had registered as a body donor.

Simanowitz died at the age of 46 in 2017, due to cancer which is believed to be related to his rescue efforts after 9/11.

Photo courtesy of the Office of James Gennaro