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Mayor Refuses to Take Questions from Press at 'Jimmy Breslin Way' Unveiling

By Shaye Weaver | May 30, 2017 2:02pm
 East 42nd Street and Second Avenue was temporarily renamed for the iconic newspaper columnist.
East 42nd Street and Second Avenue was temporarily renamed for the iconic newspaper columnist.
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

MIDTOWN EAST — A stretch of East 42nd Street was temporarily renamed for Jimmy Breslin, the tenacious newspaper columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner who died in March.

During a short ceremony Tuesday morning, the Mayor de Blasio unveiled a street sign in his honor at the corner of Second Avenue, naming East 42nd Street between Second and Third avenues "Jimmy Breslin Way."


The mayor unveils "Jimmy Breslin Way" on Tuesday morning. Check @dnainfony for more info.

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Despite cheering Breslin at the ceremony, the mayor did not take questions from the press, even after stating that "we all need a lot more of" the type of incisive reporting Breslin did — including taking aim at politicians. 

The sign stands on the block of the former New York Daily News building, where Breslin worked the longest, and shares an intersection with Nelson & Winnie Mandela Corner and Yitzhak Rabin Way.

"Like so many New Yorkers, I hung on his every word because he spoke about the people, wrote about the people, and looked at the city from the ground up," de Blasio said at the event. "And what was so extraordinary about him was no matter how famous he became, no matter which prizes he won, he was the same person who understood everyday working New Yorkers and wanted to talk about them. He wanted us to see what too often people didn't see. He was willing to put it all on the line."

The sign will remain there for the next week, until a permanent name change is approved by the City Council and mayor.

De Blasio noted the importance of Breslin for the current generation, "and the particularly charged and powerful time in our history, a time when our values are on the line, maybe even our democracy is on the line.

"Think about what Jimmy Breslin did. Think about how he saw the world. Think about all the everyday people stories who still aren’t being told," the mayor continued. "Try to carry on Jimmy Breslin’s tradition in what you do, because we all need a lot more of that. And he is so worthy of this honor here today."

Breslin's youngest grandson, 10-year-old Quinn Breslin, noted at the event that his grandfather's love for writing started at a young age.

"My grandpa started writing his own newspaper... when he was a kid like me and he never stopped writing," he said at the ceremony. "Grandpa Jimmy would appreciate all of this, and then he'd start yelling at everyone for being here."

Breslin's youngest grandson, 10-year-old Quinn Breslin, speaks at the ceremony. (DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver)

Breslin was known for his biting columns for the New York Herald Tribune, the Daily News, Newsday and the New York Post that kept politicians on edge and struck a deep chord with underdog New Yorkers.

His 1963 column on Clifton Pollard, who dug the grave for President John F. Kennedy, garnered him national acclaim. In 1986, he won the Pulitzer for commentary for his writing on the AIDS epidemic.

Breslin, who died at age 88 while recovering from pneumonia, is survived by his wife Ronnie Eldridge, a former Manhattan city councilwoman, and his four sons, according to The New York Times.