This past week, the City Council approved the co-naming of two North Brooklyn streets, validating years of efforts of local residents to honor community members and pioneers of public housing.
Manhattan Avenue between Metropolitan Avenue and Conselyea Street, and Leonard Street between Boerum and Moore Streets, will now also be known as Vincent Abate Way and Mitchell-Lama Way respectively.
“Street co-namings are a great endeavor by the City Council, the Community Board, and the Department of Transportation, to recognize the people that have positively impacted their communities,” said Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, who introduced the co-naming of both streets. “Vincent Abate was a relentless leader, advocate, and voice for North Brooklyn. ‘Mitchell Lama Way’ will serve as a permanent reminder of the fight for our low and middle income families that made Williamsburg so great to live in.”
Abate was a lifelong Greenpoint resident. He served in the U.S. Army during WWII, and thereafter worked in the appellate courts and continued to advocate for the improvement of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. He served as the chairperson of Community Board 1 (CB 1) for 34 years, the longest term since the board’s inception. He died earlier this year at age 96.
The current community board played a vital role in campaigning for the naming of the street.
“Our community board is delighted to have supported this street corner dedication,” said Dealice Fuller, the current CB 1 Chairperson. “It honors Mr. Vincent V. Abate, a former Chairman of our board and a lifelong resident that dedicated his life to the community.”
Mitchell-Lama housing, such as the one across from the co-named street in Bushwick, was named after MacNeil Mitchell and Alfred Lama, a New York State Senator and Assemblyman respectively who sponsored the Mitchell-Lama law in 1955. It allowed for private-public partnerships in the creation of middle-income and low-income housing in a co-op housing format.
The co-named street in Bushwick rests in front of the Lindsay Park houses and the Shareholders for the Betterment of Lindsay Park, the group that represents the residents of the co-op, was pivotal in campaigning for the naming of the street.
“We are one of the few surviving complexes for the working class and for affordable housing,” said Antonia Ortiz, one of the co-chairs of the Shareholders group. “We need to recognize the struggles of the working class whether it is finding a place to live for young college graduates or low-income residents of the neighborhood. The co-naming is wonderful news for the community.”
Both streets will be officially recognized in not-as-yet scheduled ceremonies in the coming weeks.