Family and friends proudly hung up a new street sign on Avenue P and E. 36th Street on Oct. 1 to honor the heroism of one of Marine Park’s Bravest.
Robert “Pudgie” Walsh, who died in 2016, put his life on the line for decades as a New York City firefighter, and he brought the community together as the founder and coach of the fire department’s football club. The crowd who showed up for the Sunday ceremony to co-name a portion of Avenue P as Robert “Pudgie” Walsh Way was a beautiful example of how many people’s lives “Pudgie” touched, said one of his friends, who is also a now-retired firefighter.
“He was quite the character, an amazing individual — he had quite a career,” said Marine Parker Daniel Prince. “The ceremony was fabulous, had a lot of people from the football team there — alumni present and past — loads of firefighters he worked with. It was an amazing experience.”
Walsh, who was born in 1934, also served in the United States Navy before joining the fire department. He founded the football club in 1972 and then — after hanging up his uniform as a lieutenant for New York’s Bravest for the last time in 1996 — took over as head coach of the department’s semi-pro team, the Brooklyn Mariners.
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D–Marine Park) and Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–Marine Park) were grateful to join the ceremony to celebrate the life of a man who meant so much to the local community.
“It was my pleasure to stand with friends and family to dedicate Avenue P and East 36th Street in tribute to Brooklyn hero and lifelong Marine Park resident, Lt. Robert “Pudgie” Walsh. A true inspiration to so many firefighters, and dedicated founder and coach of both the FDNY Football and Brooklyn Mariner teams, Pudgie sacrificed much of his time, attending to the betterment of our community,” said Weinstein. “Naming this street in his honor will serve as a reminder that our contributions to the quality of life of our neighbors can have positive effects for generations to come.”