Tag Archives: street renaming

Whitestone community to honor late resident with street renaming


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Lohnes family; THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

A street in Whitestone will soon bear the name Robert C. Lohnes in honor of the late resident who dedicated himself to serving his neighborhood.

Community Board 7 unanimously voted to make 145th Street between 15th and 17th avenues Robert C. Lohnes Way. Family members and Boy Scout troop 235 attended the meeting Monday night to talk about Lohnes, who served as the troop’s scout master for over three decades.

“He served because he was needed by his community,” Lohnes’ wife Maggaly said.

She said that her husband helped the community in any way he could, and others who came to speak about Lohnes echoed that sentiment. He worked for the Whitestone Community Volunteer Ambulance Service and was also involved in the Girl Scouts.

A representative from Assemblyman Edward Braunstein’s office said, “He was an individual who fully dedicated himself to his country and community.”

Lohnes’ son, whose name is also Robert, traced his father’s desire to help people all the way back to the beginning of his career when he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve. Lohnes held a master’s degree in criminal justice and social relations from John Jay. He went on to join the NYPD, where he worked from 1962 to 1996.

The street renaming, Lohnes’ wife said, is appropriate for someone who dedicated so much time to the Whitestone community.

“He was loved by everybody,” she said. “He deserves that and more.”

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Woodside street to be renamed after man behind Alfred Hitchcock film


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

the wrong man still 2

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.

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

“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.

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Bayside’s ‘unofficial mayor’ to be memorialized in street renaming


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Bayside’s “unofficial mayor” Benjamin Fried will be memorialized next Monday during a street renaming ceremony, according to Councilman Paul Vallone.

For 68 years Fried was a part of Bell Boulevard and now he will be a permanent part of the strip.

Vallone’s spokesman said that Fried, who died at the age of 98 last year, contributed to the healthy mix of commercial and residential areas in the neighborhood.

The city is designating 43rd Avenue and Bell Boulevard — at the corner where Fried kept shop for 68 years until 2001 — as Benjamin Fried Boulevard on Aug. 25.

Fried’s civic life began in 1933 when he opened Benn’s Bargain Store — later renamed to Benn’s Hardware — on Bell Boulevard and he would eventually become active in many parts of Bayside. Along with his hardware store, Fried was also a local activist, according to Vallone’s spokesman. Fried led a succesful rally in the 1970s to reopen fire department engine company 306 on 214th Place.

“Benjamin Fried was affectionately known as the mayor of Bayside and for good reason. His life was spent advocating for Bayside, his community, family and friends,” Vallone said. “Now as we co-name 43rd Avenue as Benjamin Fried Boulevard, we will always keep his memory alive.”

Fried founded the Bell Boulevard Merchants Association and started the annual Children’s Holiday Parade. These all led to his unofficial mayor title, with his hardware business serving as the unofficial city hall.

“The Fried family made sure Bell Boulevard remained a huge commercial shopping destination,” a spokesman for the Bayside Business Improvement District said. “They’re able to perform this balancing act of making it a great commercial destination without overpowering the residential side [of the neighborhood].”

 

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