The story of one man, who influenced an Alfred Hitchcock film, will live on in the neighborhood his family called home.
This Saturday, the corner of 73rd Street and 41st Avenue in Woodside will be co-named after Christopher Emmanuel “Manny” Balestrero as “Manny ‘The Wrong Man’ Balestrero Way.”
In 1953 Balestrero was arrested outside of his home after three witnesses identified him as the person who robbed a Prudential Insurance Company office, according to Councilman Daniel Dromm’s office. Balestrero was later charged with two armed robberies and taken to trial. After another man confessed to the crimes, he was exonerated.
“Manny Balestrero’s story is one example how we must continue to reexamine our criminal justice system,” said Dromm, who together with Community Board 4 helped get the street renamed after Balestrero.
In 1956 Alfred Hitchcock directed and produced the docudrama film “The Wrong Man,” starring Henry Fonda, which followed Balestrero’s real-life story and had scenes shot on the streets of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Woodside.
“Street co-namings can also serve as an educational tool,” Dromm said. “I hope that when people see the ‘Manny ‘The Wrong Man’ Balestrero Way’ sign they will be compelled to delve into this history and in doing so they will learn a little about their community, about cinematic history and continue to think critically about how our justice system works.”
The Sept. 27 co-naming ceremony will take place from noon to 2 p.m.