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Three Northeast Queens Streets to be Co-Named after Local Legacies

Vigil for Madeline Sershen who was killed when an 88-year-old driver ran a red light at the intersection of Utopia Parkway and 16th Avenue in June 2018

July 29, 2019 By Allie Griffin

Three streets in Northeast Queens will be co-named to honor a late College Point civic leader, a young teen whose life was tragically cut short and a late Chief Warrant Officer Five who served in the United States Military and New York Army National Guard.

The New York City Council approved the legislation proposed by Council Member Paul Vallone to co-name the intersections on July 23.

In College Point, 130th Street and 23rd Avenue will be co-named “Joe Femenia Way” after the late civic leader who was dedicated to his community and served as president of the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association until his death.

“The tragic and unexpected passing of Joseph Femenia was a great loss for all of College Point,” Vallone said. “The victories and ongoing battles to preserve and protect College Point will always be part of Joe’s great legacy. He will now be forever remembered for generations as they look to the street sign recognizing his great legacy. I will forever cherish Joe’s friendship, vision and the leadership he displayed as we worked together.”

In Whitestone, Utopia Parkway and 16th Avenue will be co-named “Madeline Sershen Way” to honor the short life of 17-year-old Madeline Sershen who died after being struck by a car at the intersection in June 2018. She was killed by an 88-year-old woman who ran a red light.

Her death sparked local activism on mandatory vision retesting for older drivers and prompted the introduction of legislation in the New York State Senate that would require a written exam upon renewal of a driver’s license.

Council Member Vallone noted her family’s work for change following the tragedy. “In the face of tragedy, Madeline’s Aunt Rita Barravecchio and family have become vocal proponents for positive changes to New York State’s driving laws. It is my deepest hope that this co-naming will serve to help honor Madeline’s memory.”

In Bayside, a stretch of Northern Boulevard between 207th Street and Clearview Expressway northbound will be co-named “CW5 Howard C. Haider Way” in respect of the late Chief Haider, who served in the United States Military from 1963 until 2003 in the New York Army National Guard. He was the first to achieve the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Five in the state of New York.

“Joe, Madeline and Howard each left their own indelible mark on our community, and I’m humbled to be a part of honoring their lives in this way,” Council Member Vallone said. “I know their unique legacies will live on for generations to come.”

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