Famed civil rights activists and color barrier breakers head a list of new street renamings set to take place across the borough in the next few weeks.
As 2008 drew to a close, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into the law the renaming of 14 streets stretching from Sheepshead Bay and Bay Ridge to Crown Heights, Brooklyn Heights and Greenpoint.
Streets will be renamed in honor of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, as well as Dr. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward, the first black female physician.
Officials said that the new Shirley Chisholm Place will soon be found at the corner of Park Place and Kingston Avenue, right where the former legislator lived and served constituents. The corner of Prospect Place and Nostrand Avenue will be renamed for Dr. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward.
Other civil rights activists honored with a street named in their honor include Dr. William A. Jones, whose name will soon be found on MacDonough Street between Marcy and Lewis avenues.
The long-serving pastor of Brooklyn’s Bethany Baptist Church, Dr. Jones is considered a “nationally respected and passionate leader of the civil rights movement.” An exhibit chronicling his role in the civil rights movement was held last year at the Brooklyn College Library.
Several city heroes will also soon be honored with street renamings.
Brooklyn Heights Firefighter Shawn Powell, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, will be forever remembered with a street sign soon to be found on Concord Street between Gold and Navy Streets — the block where he turned out as a member of Engine Company 207.
Brooklyn Heights residents will also see the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street renamed in honor of Reverend Manuel T. Sanchez, the founder of the nearby Antioch Church, one of the first houses of worship in the country set up by Pentecostal Latinos.
New York City Sanitation worker Damon Allen, who was credited with pulling a four-year-old child from a burning building along his pick-up route in Canarsie, will be remembered with a street sign at the corner of St. Marks and Nostrand Avenues.
Months after his heroic act, Allen was killed during a shooting outside a birthday party near his home in Crown Heights. Allen was reportedly ushering pedestrians to safety when he was killed.
“I can honestly say that Mr. Allen lived his life the way he left it – with selfless concern for the well-being of others,” recalled Borough President Marty Markowitz, who honored Allen for his bravery shortly after the fire rescue. “While his death is a tragedy of the highest order, his life of generosity and courage will continue to inspire.”
Community heroes will also be honored.
Retired Firefighter Richard Sherry, who dedicated his off-hours to the children of Bay Ridge as leader of the 68th Precinct Youth Council, will have the west side of Shore Road and 83rd Street named in his honor, city officials announced.
Bob Capano, the president of the 68th Precinct Youth Council, said that street set to be renamed adjoins the 68th Precinct Little League Fields, where Sherry, who served in the FDNY for 30 years before his retirement in 1995, spent a lot of time coaching the neighborhood’s youth.
“Without question, Richard Sherry was one of the driving forces behind the success of the 68th Precinct Youth Council for almost two decades,” Capano said. “His name was and will continue to be synonymous with our organization.”
Streets will also be renamed for Greenpoint resident Mike Lee (North 6th and Berry Streets), Sunset Park veteran Police Officer Louis Martinez (57th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues), Angel Luis Gautier (36th Street between Fifth and Seventh Avenues), former Calvary Baptist Church of Red Hook Minister Arthur Clayton (Hicks Street between West 9th and Mill Street), Sheepshead Bay civic activist Michael Fischetti (corner of East 27th Street and Avenue Z), Crown Heights philanthropist Syl Williamson (corner of Nostrand Avenue and Park Place) and Mother Maria J. Fisher (corner of East 15th Street and Avenue X).
All of the street renamings were requested by friends and family members before being approved by the community boards where the streets are located.
City officials said that each of the requests met a new set of street renaming standards that mandate that the person being honored had a positive impact on his community in some way.
“[These streets] represent individuals or entities that are being honored for their lifetime accomplishments,” Bloomberg said in a statement, adding that “each Council Member who submitted a name presented justification for this honor.”