Nostrand Avenue restaurateur remembered at street renaming

Fitting tribute: Councilman Lew Fidler presents a replica street sign of the one that hangs below Avenue S to the Buckley family during a street co-naming unveiling ceremony on June 29.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The city’s grueling street co-naming process was no match for one man’s legacy.

Where Avenue S meets Nostrand Avenue was officially co-dubbed Jim Buckley Way on June 29, and a ceremony was held to honor the late Brooklyn philanthropist for his tireless dedication and generous donations to local charities, and to the many people he called friends.

“He was an extremely kind and generous guy,” said Reeves Eisen, chief of staff to Councilman Lew Fidler, who became an expert on Buckley while organizing the event. “The things he did were always quiet and under-the-table, like paying rent for somebody who was out of work.”

Buckley’s main contribution, however, was to HeartShare Human Services of New York. The charity, which provides services for people with developmental disabilities, received so many contributions from Buckley and his family that it renamed its Canarsie house and various charity events — including the annual Jim Buckley Golf Outing — in his honor.

“He and his family have continued to be very generous to that residence and HeartShare in general,” said Eisen. “In fact, HeartShare reached out to contact us in regards to the street renaming.”

The co-naming ceremony was well attended by friends, family — including Buckley’s wife Kathleen, daughters Christine Strehly and KathyAnn Murray, son Jim Jr., and his 16 grandchildren — and local politicians, who shared fond stories of Buckley, who passed away in 2010 from leukemia.

Also in attendance was Belmont Racetrack bugler Sam Grossman, who played “Streets of New York” as tribute to Buckley, whose love for horses and racing was well known.

The city’s process for co-naming a street is long, grueling, and complicated, requiring the honoree to be deceased and to have contributed significant good for the community, without profit.

“It’s a long and complicated process that can easily take up to a year, the culmination of it is a wonderful, wonderful event,” said Eisen. “It is a permanent tribute and the Councilman always orders an extra sign, which is given to the family.”

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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