Famed newspaper columnist Pete Hamill and 1980s racial violence victim Yusuf Hawkins will soon have their names adorning two Brooklyn streets, local leaders announced this week.
Hamill, who became a legendary journalist through the late 20th century covering the city for the New York Post and the Daily News, died last year at the age of 85, and will have his name above a roadway in his birthplace of Park Slope. Hamill would go on to write a number of novels, memoirs, and the liner notes for Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks,” for which he received a Grammy award.
An East New York native, Hawkins was murdered in Bensonhurst in 1989 after a group of white men mistakenly believed he was romantically involved with a local girl, leading to a mob brawl that saw Hawkins shot to death — an incident that sparked widespread protests, and ignited a conversation about race throughout New York City.
Hawkins’ death received new attention in past months during similar protests over more recent killings of unarmed Black men, as well as from an HBO documentary on the incident that garnered widespread critical praise.
“Although Pete Hamill and Yusuf Hawkins came from different worlds and left different marks on history, they were both Brooklynites who contributed immeasurably to the borough they call home,” Councilmembers Brad Lander and Robert Cornegy said in a joint statement with Borough President Eric Adams. “These co-namings will enshrine their memories for generations to come.”
A pair of ceremonies will take place in the coming weeks when the yet-to-be-determined streets will receive the iconic green street signs, according to Borough Hall.