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City to Rename Uptown Streets for Dominican MLB Star, 9/11 Responders

 Matty Alou was one of the first Dominican players in Major League Baseball.
Matty Alou was one of the first Dominican players in Major League Baseball.
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Madeleine Ball

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Four local streets will be renamed in honor of men who contributed to the Uptown community — including one of the first Dominican players in Major League Baseball, two 9/11 responders and a community activist.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation Monday approving the co-namings, which were sponsored by City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.

In Inwood, the intersection of Seaman Avenue and Isham Street was christened Matty Alou Way. Alou was one of the first Dominicans to play in the MLB from 1960 to 1974. He played for six teams, including the Yankees, and won the National League batting title in 1966.

Rodriguez noted that Alou paved the way for other Dominicans in baseball.

Two other streets were named in honor of men who died as a result of their work at Ground Zero.

The section of Park Terrace East south of 215th Street was co-named for Bruce Reynolds, a Port Authority police officer who died while attempting to rescue people trapped in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Reynolds grew up in Inwood and was also known for his work as a volunteer gardener. Bruce’s Garden in Isham Park is also named in his honor.

In Washington Heights, West 172nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue was named EMT Luis De Peña Jr. Square. Peña was stationed at FDNY EMS Station 13 in Harlem, but spent much of his time responding to calls in Washington Heights, his family said. Peña died in 2013 of an illness related to his extensive work at the Ground Zero site.

“He was the type of person that if he had something, you had it too,” Peña’s sister told Community Board 12, when she nominated him for the honor. “For him it was all about giving.”

Finally, the intersection of West 168th Street and Broadway was co-named Albert Blumburg Way.

Blumburg was a philosophy professor at Rutgers University and was also very involved in the Uptown political community. He served as president of the Audubon Reform Democratic Club and as leader of the 71st Democratic District. He was remembered as having fought to give the growing Dominican population in Manhattan a chance to enter politics, his biography for the nomination noted.

“These local heroes are shining examples in our community and I am proud to have the opportunity to honor their legacies," Rodriguez said of the co-namings.