‘Kaplan Way’ honors longtime Brighton activist

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REMEMBERING FRAN: City Councilman Mike Nelson, Marilyn Riccardi, and former Assemblywoman Adele Cohen recalled Kaplan at the street co-naming on Dec. 1.
KAPLAN TAKES ‘FIRST PLACE’: Friends and family gathered to watch as a street sign bearing Kaplan’s name was put in place at Brighton Beach Avenue.
ENDURING LEGACY: Yelena Makhnin, the executive director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District, named her organization’s annual civic award after Kaplan.
BRIGHTON’S BRIGHTEST: Fran Kaplan served on countless neighborhood organizations over the years, including the Shorefront Y and Brighton Neighborhood Association.

There is the right way, the wrong way, and now, there’s Fran Kaplan Way.

The city co-named Brighton First Place at Bright Beach Avenue after the indefatigable community activist, who lived on the block nearly her entire life and was a frequent presence at neighborhood meetings up until her death last February at age 82.

Friends, family and elected officials unveiled the new street sign in a ceremony on Dec. 1.

“She set an example for others to follow,” said Judd Fischler, who said Kaplan mailed weekly copies of the Bay News to his winter home in Sunrise, Fla., just so he could keep up with the local news while he was out of town. “I hope she inspires other people to take an interest in the community and make it a better place.”

Kaplan grew up on Brighton First Place in an apartment she shared with her parents, who ran York Cleaners around the corner on Brighton Beach Avenue. She went to work for the family business after graduating from PS 100 and Abraham Lincoln High School, and stayed on part-time after the shop was sold in 1994, never leaving her childhood home.

She was a vocal member of several organizations, including the Jewish Association of Services for the Aged, the Shorefront Y, and the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District, which named an annual award for civic activism in Kaplan’s honor.

“If you went to a meeting, she was there,” said Pat Singer, the president of the Brighton Neighborhood Association, one of the many groups to which Kaplan belonged. “When she had something to say, she said it. She was very outspoken.”

Kaplan’s friends requested that the intersection bear her name last October, and the City Council approved the proposal in July.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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