Queens community celebrates Natalie Katz Rogers with street renaming ceremony

natalie katz rogers
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

On Friday, May 10, dozens of people came together in Jamaica Hills at the corner of 164th Street and Goethels Avenue, now officially known as Natalie Rogers Way, to honor the legacy of the late Natalie Katz Rogers.

Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Family members, elected officials and students and staff from the Queens Centers for Progress gathered to pay tribute to Rogers, who passed away last year at the age of 103.

Rogers was the founder of Queens Centers for Progress, a non-profit organization established in 1950 to advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Council Member James Gennaro speaks at the street renaming ceremony for Natalie Katz Rogers. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

“Natalie’s remarkable journey, from founding Queens Centers for Progress to her advocacy at the state and national levels, exemplifies the profound impact just one person can have on their community and beyond,” said Council Member James Gennaro “It is my hope that anyone walks by this intersection, they are reminded of Natalie’s inspiring contributions.”

State Senator John Liu speaks at the street renaming ceremony for Natalie Katz Rogers. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Senator John Liu also spoke highly of Rogers, emphasizing her commitment to advancing the cause of people with disabilities. “Natalie Katz Rogers’ remarkable career of advocacy helped establish a network at Queens Center for Progress that will stand for generations to uplift, support and empower individuals with disabilities,” Liu said.

Assemblyman David Weprin offered glowing remarks about Rogers’ role at QCP, noting, “To know Natalie was to know the great work that QCP does for people with disabilities. The whole staff is great. They do God’s work. She was a force to be reckoned with.”

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter speaks at the street renaming. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter shared a personal anecdote about Rogers’ determination and influence. “Natalie wore QCP on her heart. I miss her terribly. This week is the first anniversary of her passing. I know you are watching, and I miss you terribly. She touched countless lives through this work,” Carpenter reminisced. Also, adding that “Natalie gave it her all in everything she did, and did it all with all her heart!”

Margaret MacPherson speaks at the street renaming. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Margaret MacPherson and Terri Ross, both colleagues of Rogers at QCP, highlighted her visionary approach and dedication to the community. “She saw the need and ran with it. She was brilliant, a trooper for people with disabilities,” said MacPherson. Ross added, “I adore Natalie; she was a champion for people with disabilities. Our buildings are showing their age. Thank you for keeping us afloat.”

Al Versace, a family member of Rogers, shared a heartfelt message that underscored her tenacity and altruistic spirit. “Natalie told me: ‘As much as I can for as long as I can.’ She always reached out to help those in need. If I don’t do it, who else will?” said Versace.

Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The street renaming ceremony stands as a testament to Natalie Katz Rogers’ enduring influence and the deep respect she garnered throughout her life by remaining dedicated to the Queens community and its progress.

Queens Centers for Progress founder Natalie Katz Rogers died on May 7 at her Florida home at age 103. Photo courtesy of QCP

Photo by Lloyd Mitchell