The late former Councilmember Lew Fidler’s name now adorns a southern Brooklyn intersection, after the street was officially co-named in his honor on Monday.
Where Haring Street meets Avenue R in Sheepshead Bay is now known as Lewis A Fidler Way. The intersection is right outside his former political club, the 41st Assembly District Democrats Club, which still includes his name in large letters on its signage.
Fidler represented southern Brooklyn’s 46th district, which includes Canarsie, Flatlands, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach, and part of Sheepshead Bay, in the City Council from 2002 to 2013. He died in 2019 at the age of 62.
The co-naming event attracted a large number of the borough’s pols, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Councilmember and comptroller candidate Brad Lander, Councilmember and borough president candidate Robert Cornegy, Councilmembers Alan Maisel, Justin Brannan, Mathieu Eugene, and Kalman Yeger, state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, and Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, among many others.
Even some pols from other boroughs showed up, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Queens Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, a display of Fidler’s wide respect among the city’s political class.
“I always tell everybody when they get mad at me, for being in politics and what I’m doing, to blame Lew Fidler,” Williams said at the event, noting that the late politico took him under his wing, and that he considered Fidler a mentor.
Gounardes, another mentee of Fidler’s, said that he has a picture of himself and Fidler saved on his phone that he looks at when he needs a pick-me-up or guiding light.
“I had it saved as a favorite on my phone,” he said. “And whenever I feel down, I kid you not, whenever I’m just perplexed, confused, or I’m just looking for some kind of inspiration in the day-to-day of this business that we call government and politics, I actually look at that photo. And I look at him, and I say, ‘What would Lew tell me to do right now? If I could call him right now, what would he tell me to do?'”
Maisel, who succeeded Fidler in the 46th District and was a close friend of his, noted what was perhaps Fidler’s most prominent legacy in the Council, which was rallying for shelter beds for homeless youth, particularly those that are LGBTQ+.
“If Lew is not remembered for anything that he ever did in this district, or anything that he did anywhere, it’s his fight for the homeless youth of this city,” Maisel said.
Speaking with Brooklyn Paper after the event, Maisel said that despite the event being a celebration of Fidler’s life, it was bittersweet, because at the end of the day, Fidler is still no longer around.
“It was very very sad, frankly, because Lew was a friend of mine for 40 years,” Maisel said. “And the last thing in the world I would like to do is to be naming a street after him. I would much prefer that he was around. But it is what it is, it was very sad for me and all his friends and family.”