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Community Board Approves Naming Roads After Jazz Legend, Community Advocate

By Eddie Small | October 15, 2014 2:15pm
 Community Board 3 voted to co-name streets after a jazz legend and community advocate.
Community Board 3 voted to co-name streets after a jazz legend and community advocate.
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DNAinfo/Eddie Small

MORRISANIA — A jazz legend and a neighborhood advocate could soon be getting streets named after them in the South Bronx.

At Tuesday's Bronx Community Board 3 meeting, members voted in favor of co-naming Prospect Avenue between East 169th and Freeman Streets Henry "Red" Allen Way, after a jazz trumpeter and singer, and co-naming Longfellow Avenue between East 173rd and East 174th Streets Dave Reid Jr. Place after the neighborhood advocate.

Allen, who lived at 1351 Prospect Ave. for several years, was a dominant trumpeter during the swing era who performed alongside several of the country's famous jazz musicians, according to jazz enthusiast Bob Gumbs.

"He was one of the top jazz trumpeters of his era, second only, in many people's minds, to Louis Armstrong," said Gumbs. "He was an innovator."

Allen lived in Morrisania from the early 40s until his death in 1967, according to Fordham University African-American Studies Professor Mark Naison.

"Henry Allen was not only a world class trumpet player. He was a neighborhood figure who befriended and mentored younger musicians who grew up in Morrisania," Naison wrote in an email. "He is an important symbol of the musical and cultural creativity of Morrisania in the post-World War II era."

Reid was a "champion" for The Bronx and a driving force behind transforming Hiawatha Falls Rock Garden Community Park, from a dump for construction trash and debris into a park with a basketball court, garden and waterfall, according to Preston Moore, president of the Urban Home Ownership Corporation.

"Dave was dedicated to the improvement and development of the Longfellow Avenue area and was able to work assiduously with various city agencies and community groups ... in pursuing his dream to develop the Crotona Park East area," Moore wrote in a statement.

Reid also served as chairman of the Longfellow Block Association and of Bronx Community Board 3, as well as on the governing board of the Bronx Ambulatory Care Network.

John Dudley, district manager of Bronx Community Board 3, was very complimentary of Reid's efforts in the neighborhood, particularly how he helped beautify the Hiawatha Rock Garden.

"Mr. Dave Reid Jr. was a catalyst," he said. "That was a dump. That was the site of a dump."