Douglaston activists celebrated the return of their old street names last Thursday with Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), who helped get the city to approve the measure.
The bill to restore the historical names of six neighborhood streets was approved unanimously the day before by the City Council.
The streets, all located in the Douglaston Hill historic district, are Prospect, Hamilton, Orient, Church, Pine and Popular. The names date back to at least 1853. They will join Cherry Street, Willow Street, Douglas Road, Hillside Avenue and Little Neck Road in the Douglas Manor historic district, whose names were restored in 2008.
Gathered at the corner of 243rd Street and 44th Avenue, residents were overjoyed with the change. Joan Hellmann, whose late husband, Joseph Hellmann, had been pushing for the renaming for years, said it was “a blessing.” She noted that in the past the Access-a-Ride vehicles going to her house ended up on a dead end street in Little Neck, where the GPS took them.
Hellmann lives on 43rd Street, which will become Pine, and said that if the Pine address is used, even now, there is no problem with directions.
Halloran said the change will only cost the city $3,400 for 12 signs and to enter the names in the city system for 911, the NYPD and the FDNY. He expects the signs to be erected in about three months.
Bill Sievers of the Douglaston-Little Neck Historical Society said he tried an experiment by sending himself mail to his present address and with the restored street name. “There was no problem,” Sievers said. “Everything was delivered.”
The street names were changed more than 100 years ago, when the city decided that numbering them was easier and more efficient. Halloran attributed the successful move to his “hardworking” staff, Community Board 11, the Douglaston Civic Association and the historical society.
Eliott Socci said that it’s only proper that the street names be restored because they are in a historic district.