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At Honor for 'Emma Brandt Way,' a Call to Change Street Renaming Rule

By Katie Honan | November 18, 2016 5:01pm | Updated on November 21, 2016 8:54am
 Family, friends and elected officials pose with the new
Family, friends and elected officials pose with the new "Emma Brandt Way" sign.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

EAST ELMHURST — A longtime civic leader was honored Friday when the corner of her block was re-named in her honor.

The event prompted a renewed call for the city to revamp its street naming policy to include people who are still alive.

The intersection of 74th Street and 30th Avenue was dubbed "Emma Brandt Way" to honor Brandt, who died last year at 78 after a brief battle with lung cancer.

She was actively involved in a long list of civic groups, including Community Board 3, the Elmhurst Hospital Advisory Board, the North Queens Homeowners Civic Association, and the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.

She was also a Chaplain in the Queens American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, volunteering at the St. Albans Veterans Hospital and working with her husband, Manny, who was also active in the veterans community.

Councilman Costa Constantinides said Brandt was a friend and mentor to him as he got his start in the council and sponsoring the street renaming in the city council was "the smallest thing I can do" to honor her.

Assemblyman Michael DenDekker said Brandt was tough but fair, especially with elected officials. 

"She had no problem calling out any politicians," he said. "But she was the first one to tell you, 'you did a good job.'"

During the ceremony, her friend Donna Raymond, the current president of the North Queens Homeowners Civic Association, noted that it would have been nice for Brandt to see this honor while she was still alive.

She suggested the city change its rules on street re-namings — allowing people who are still alive to be considered for the honor. It would allow the living to see their name on the green and white signs for themselves, she said.

"Let's honor them in life by changing the law, so that they might see they were appreciated," she said.

Constantinides agreed, saying a person who worked for their community "shouldn't have to wait that long" to be honored. 

Currently the city will only consider a renaming if a person is deceased. A spokeswoman for the City Council, who passes the bills to re-name streets, did not comment further.