Park Slope’s most famous street now shares its name with a fallen soldier from the neighborhood.
City officials have co-named Prospect Park West between 14th and 15th streets “Julian Brennan Way” to honor an actor-turned-Marine who died in Afghanistan two years ago.
“He stood up for his country, walked his dog in the park and loved to ride his bike — it’s fitting,” said his father Bill Brennan, who attended an emotional ceremony on Saturday. “I can’t think of a more perfect place for my son’s name.”
Family, friends and military men braved the snow to celebrate Lance Cpl. Julian Brennan’s new block, where firefighters hung the bright green street sign.
The practice of co-naming streets has been under new scrutiny as more families seek the honor. In this case, some Park Slope residents resented the creation of a “Julian Brennan Way” because of its subtle support for war and the notion that fighting men are “heroes” by dint of their military service.
“It does raise the question: Who do you do this for — and who do you not?” said Gloria Mattera of the Park Slope Greens, an anti-war group.
Neighboring Community Board 2 asked that same question back in 2007 before issuing a post-Pat Tillman era “cooling off period” for co-naming streets: no street could be co-named until three years after an honoree’s death.
In this case, members of Community Board 6 — which supported the proposal back in April — noted that Brennan was “a Park Slope guy” who even lived on the street and died while serving his country. The City Council approved the co-naming, which cost about $55 for the sign, plus labor.
Julian Brennan studied acting at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, trained for triathlons in Prospect Park and hung out at Sidecar on Fifth Avenue.
He was killed by a roadside bomb killed Brennan in Farah Province. He was just 23.
“He made an important contribution to his country — and risked his life on the battlefield,” Councilman Brad Lander (D-Park Slope) said not long after the proposal went before the community board. “It’s the right thing to do.”Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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