UPDATE: March 15, 3:12 p.m.: The City Council voted today in favor of a proposal to change Douglaston's streets back to their historic names, a spokesman for Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Whitestone, said.
The councilman will officially announce the bill's passage during a press conference tomorrow afternoon at the corner of 243rd Street and 44th Avenue.
The City Council could vote next week on a bill by Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Whitestone, that would , a spokesman for the councilman said.
Community leaders have been calling for the streets to be changed back to their original names for eight years as a means to preserve the neighborhood’s historic character.
“It’s one more measure in recognizing the history of the area and acknowledging it,” said Julia Schoeck, the president of the . “Most the community has been supportive. This is a big hurdle for us to overcome.”
Halloran said he introduced the bill to rename the streets several weeks ago.
“Douglaston is one of the most unique neighborhoods in our city," he said. "Its history and heritage are well worth remembering. This bill pays homage to the neighborhood's history by restoring street names to the way they were hundreds of years ago."
The streets had been changed from their original names to numerical names in the 1920s to keep them in line with the city's grid. In the 1970s, a majority of the streets were returned to their original names.
But seven streets never had their names changed back.
In 2004, Douglaston Hill was designated an historic district, so community leaders thought the time was right to complete the renaming of the neighborhood’s streets.
Former Councilman Tony Avella had proposed getting the names restored and Community Board 11 voted twice in favor of the proposal.
“The community board was overwhelmingly in favor of it,” said Jerry Iannece, CB 11’s chairman. “It’s what the local civic association wanted and it’s a good thing. It adds to the idea of an historic landmarked district.”
Both U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-Bayside, and state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, have also supported the proposal.
Eliott Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association, said he was among a group of community residents who spoke in favor of the renaming project at a Feb. 10 recent hearing in Manhattan.
“It sounds like it’s going to go through,” Socci said of the proposal. “I support it.”
The matter will go before the city Parks Department on Feb. 28 and is expected to be discussed by the full City Council the following day.
Originally, some store owners along Douglaston Village’s shopping strip had opposed 235th Street being renamed Main Street because they did not want to deal with having to get the word out to their customers of an address change.
But the renaming of 235th Street was eventually taken out of the proposal.
There had also been concerns whether emergency responders would have difficulty finding homes that had been taken off the city’s number grid. But community leaders said these concerns have been addressed in the current proposal.
Under the plan, Orient Avenue and Main Avenue would get new signs. In addition, a portion of 240th Street between 43rd Avenue and Depew Avenue will be renamed as Prospect Avenue, while a section of 242nd Street between 43rd and 44th avenues will be switched to Hamilton Avenue.
Part of 44th Avenue between Douglaston Parkway and 244th Street will be changed to Church Street and 43rd Avenue between the intersection of Douglaston Parkway as well as 240th and 243rd streets will be renamed as Pine Street.
Also, 42nd Avenue between the LIRR's dead end and 243d Street will change to Poplar Street.