Community Board 6 last week voted overwhelmingly to support the co-naming of Henry Street between Sackett and Union Streets “Citizens of Pozzallo Way,” a lasting tribute to the contributions of the people from this seaside Italian town.
The co-naming was proposed by the Society of the Citizens of Pozzallo United, a non-profit organization. The feeling of the Society, located on Henry Street for almost 90 years, is “that a truly fair tribute to all these individuals should be done collectively, as not to overshadow one individual over another,” the group stated in a multi-page petition.
Initially, the Transportation of the Committee of Board 6 defeated a motion in December to reconsider the change, arguing that the board typically does not co-name streets for an entire village. It previously voted the measure down in August.
The full board felt otherwise.
“Their story is the American story,” said member Judith Thompson, who said the change, if officially enacted, will represent a “visible tribute,” to the town’s descendents.
Immigrants from the town include the master sculptor Santo Matarazzo, Marvel comics artist John Buscema, the highly decorated merchant marine Peter Sigona, and restaurateur Piero Selvaggio. All were raised or immigrated to the neighborhood, and made their way in the world from there, supporters of the change said.
The co-naming won the endorsement of City Councilmember Bill de Blasio, who said he thought it is a “good idea.”
“The whole notion of a street [co-naming] is to honor the human dynamic – what makes a community, a community,” the city lawmaker said.
Ultimately, it will be up to the City Council whether the change takes effect. The community board’s vote is simply advisory.