QUEENS — A plaque honoring the late stand-up comedian and actor Rodney Dangerfield will be unveiled next week near a Kew Gardens building where he grew up.
The bronze sign will be first displayed during a kickoff party for the inaugural Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema on Aug. 4, beginning at 8 p.m., in a garden located between Austin’s Ale House’s Trackside Cafe and the Kew Gardens Long Island Rail Road station.
As a boy, Dangerfield lived above what is now Austin's Ale House. He also went to P.S. 99 and Richmond Hill High School, according to Carl Ballenas, a local teacher and Queens historian, who is also president of the Friends of Maple Grove cemetery.
Ballenas said a group of his students in the Aquinas Honor Society of the Immaculate Conception School in Jamaica Estates came up with the idea to honor Dangerfield when they worked on a book about the history of Kew Gardens published by Arcadia Publishing and The History Press in 2014.
“They felt that it was important to recognize Dangerfield as an important Kew Gardens resident,” he said.
The students reached out to Joan Dangerfield, the comedian's widow, who worked with them on the project, Ballenas noted.
The bronze plaque will include Dangerfield's famous catchphrase, “I don’t get no respect.” It will also mention his early life in Kew Gardens and major achievements of his career. It also lists movies starring the comedian, such as “Caddyshack,” “Easy Money,” and “Back to School.”
The Friends of Maple Grove donated $1,000 for the 16 inches by 24 inches plaque which will also feature the Richmond Hill High School 1939 yearbook photo of Dangerfield, Ballenas said.
The comedian was born in Deer Park, Long Island, but he moved to Kew Gardens in the early 1930s when he was 10 after his father abandoned him and his family, according to A Picture History of Kew Gardens, a website about the neighborhood.
It won't be the first tribute to the comedian in Kew Gardens.
Last year, Italian artist Francesca Tosca Robicci painted a mural depicting Dangerfield on a wall in the park behind Kew Gardens Cinemas on the corner of Lefferts Boulevard and Austin Street, although Dangerfield's widow later said she did not like it.