Gowanus street co-named for business owner killed in traffic crash

gowanus street co-naming
The new sign at Third Avenue and Seventh Street.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The victim of a deadly 2019 car crash in Gowanus was immortalized in the neighborhood on Wednesday, when local leaders officially co-named the roadway at Third Avenue and Seventh Street after the late Andreas Stylianou. 

“A lot of people in this neighborhood knew Andreas,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at the Nov. 17 co-naming ceremony. “And if you knew him, you loved him. You really loved him — such a good heart, such a warm person, such a wise man.” 

Stylianou had been the long time owner of New Millennium Motors, an auto-repair shop located on the avenue that now bears his name as “Andreas Stylianou Way.” 

In December of 2019, Stylianou attempted to cross Third Avenue on foot while on his way to work in Gowanus at around 6:10 am, when the driver of a Isuzu box truck slammed into him — sending him further into the roadway, where he was also struck by two other cars. 

Paramedics arrived on the scene and rushed the victim to nearby Methodist Hospital, but doctors pronounced him dead a short time later. 

At the recent co-naming ceremony, de Blasio reflected on his time as a patron of Stylianou’s business, and the remarkable character of the late man, who left behind a wife and three adult daughters. 

“I would come in, whatever was wrong with my 1999 Ford Taurus Station Wagon, he would make fun of me for having a 1999 Ford Taurus Station Wagon,” Hizzoner said. “And then, we would end up having a long talk, and it wasn’t about the car, it was about life. It was about family. And he loved this family so deeply.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio watches the unveiling of the new sign on Nov. 17.Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The late business owner’s death came amid a surge of traffic-related deaths in the winter of 2019, as cars fatally struck at least six pedestrians within a three-day span, including Stylianou. 

At the time, street-safety groups like Transportation Alternatives blasted the Mayor for his failure to get pedestrians out of harm’s way. 

“We need to prioritize human life over traffic. That means creating a protected bike network, that means giving more pedestrian space on sidewalks, that means removing trucks and deadly vehicles from our roads,” said the group’s head, Danny Harris. “Again, making sure that we prioritize for vulnerable users.”

For his part, de Blasio, at the Wednesday ceremony in Gowanus, hailed his signature “Vision Zero” plan, which aims to reduce traffic-related fatalities in the Five Boroughs. 

“For eight years, we’ve been fighting to change that there’s much, much more to do,” the mayor said. “Anyone who says something like Vision Zero doesn’t matter, talk to this family and so many other families who have suffered. It does matter. We have to change things. A car in the wrong hands is dangerous and we’ve got to keep changing our laws and the way we do things to save lives.”

With 91 pedestrian fatalities this year though Sept. 30, this year is on pace to see around 121 deaths in total this year. That number would nearly match the 124 pedestrian deaths in 2019, according to Vision Zero data.