Kevin Czartoryski, a retired detective for the NYPD, was one of many first responders who risked his life to save others on 9/11.
As a consequence of his heroism, he contracted 9/11-related lung disease and succumbed to his sickness at 46 in December 2010. In a tribute to him, the southeast corner of 59th Road and 60th Street near his home in Maspeth was named in his honor last Sunday.
Members of his family and numerous public officials, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly attended.
Quinn spoke highly of Czartoryski, eulogizing him as a “great police officer” and a “great detective.”
“When you met Kevin once, you fell in love with him,” Quinn said. “He was just one of the funniest, happiest guys I ever met ... We will forever be a better police department, a better city and better people because of Kevin Czartoryski.”
Czartoryski was assigned to the Hate Crimes Task Force. Kelly, who wore a blue wristband with Czartoryski’s name, praised his work as a liaison for the LGBT community, saying he did his job with great sensitivity and professionalism.
“I can tell you that he shared his warmth and his generous spirit not only with his family, but with the people of New York and the people he worked with,” Kelly said. “We owe it to Kevin, never to forget the sacrifice that he made. With the unveiling of this street sign, we add one more assurance that his name will live in perpetuity.”
Even though Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) admitted to not personally knowing Czartoryski, he said it was clear that he was the “best of America and the best of New York.”
“Kevin’s life was all about service,” Schumer said. “We have to remember our heroes. We are not a society who turns our back on people like that.”
Peter Villapol, a friend of the Czartoryski family who was also instrumental in the effort to get the street renamed, called the tribute “fitting” and “lovely.”
“Renaming this particular street is especially appropriate given that we’ve all, many of us, apparently, shared so many great times with Kevin on this very block,” he said. “Whether it was a family event, a holiday or just coming over to hang out … this block will always remind us of Kevin’s love.”
Neighbors echoed the sentiments of the speakers at the unveiling.
Adeline Speer, who lives a few blocks away from the street, described Czartoryski as very nice and very friendly.
“I think it’s really nice they did that out of respect for him,” she said.
Marie Liguori-Singer, who lives at the corner of the street but didn’t know Czartoryski, said the new name was a worthy declaration.
“These people are the unsung heroes,” she said. “They’re the ones who really deserve to be recognized.”