QUEENS — A street in Woodside will be renamed this week after Lou Rispoli, a music school administrator and gay rights advocate who was attacked and killed last year while taking a walk near his home.
A block of 51st Street between 43rd Avenue and Skillman Avenue will be called "Lou Rispoli Way," according to City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was a personal friend of the victim's.
Rispoli lived on the street with his husband and partner of 32 years, Danyal Lawson, who said he "burst into tears" when he learned it would be renamed in his late husband's honor.
"It's so emotional — it’s a very bittersweet thing to me," he said. "It's amazing, but at the same time, so sad."
Rispoli, 62, was attacked on Oct. 20 while walking near Queens Boulevard and 42nd Street, and died days later after being taken off life support. Cops are still hunting for three suspects wanted for the crime; sketches of two of the men were released in January, but no arrests have been made so far.
According to police, the NYPD is looking into how officers handled the investigation in its earliest hours, based on reports that there was a 36-hour delay between the attack and the arrival of a police crime scene van.
The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment on the investigation.
"I can't believe its been nine months and no one's been caught," Lawson said.
Rispoli worked as an administrator at the Greenwich House Music School in Greenwich Village, and was an advocate in the earliest stages of the city's gay rights movement, loved ones have said. He lived in his Queens neighborhood for decades, and friends affectionately dubbed him "Mama Lou," because he always took care of people.
Van Bramer, who advocated for the block to be named after Rispoli, said it was a way to recognize someone who was an important and valued part of the community for so long.
"When you look at a street renaming...you know that they meant something to that block, to that neighborhood, and that's what we're going to do for Lou," he said.
"I was really impressed with how he loved Woodside and Sunnyside, and made this his home for over 30 years."
Lawson and Rispoli married after more than three decades together in August of 2011, shortly after New York legalized same-sex marriage. Last month, Lawson said it was "amazing" for him to see the Supreme Court strike down the Defense of Marriage Act; he thought of how Rispoli would have loved to see it, too.
"I can't believe that he's not around," he said.
The renaming ceremony for "Lou Rispoli Way" will take place Saturday, July 27 at noon at the corner of 51st Street and 43rd Avenue in Woodside.