What’s In A Street Co-Naming? Anything You Want It To Be!


Of all the street co-namings in Brooklyn since 1998, KCP’s favorite is Angelo “Chubby” Campanella (1926-2009) who had the southwest corner of 77th Street and 21st Avenue co-named for him.

Chubby’s claim to fame was in being a beloved ice cream vendor in Bensonhurst for 50 years.

According to his official City Hall bio, Chubby’s commitment to helping others was evident one afternoon when he saved a customer’s baby from choking to death, rushing the mother and child to the hospital just in time to save the child’s life. He also once pulled a mother and baby out from a flipped car that was in danger of catching fire; and helped capture a hit-and-run driver by blocked the roadway with his ice cream truck. He organized and carried out food drives, block parties and toy drives; and fundraisers for cancer patients. He also donated countless ice cream cones to children who were short of change

Chubby’s story came to KCP from a reader that emailed a site titled NYC Honorific Streets to all the approved City street co-namings by borough and in alphabetical order from the beginning of 1998 through the end of 2013 – or since the City began putting such documents on line.

The reader’s email came in response to a series of stories that we broke, and that was picked up be several media outlets concerning two proposed street co-namings within the confines of Community Board 2 covering the Downtown Brooklyn area and Fort Greene/Clinton Hill.

The debate centered around CB 2 approving the co-naming of a young politically connected aide to a City Council Member who died of a drug overdose while rejecting the street co-naming of a prominent Caribbean-American black man who was a civic and business leader in Clinton Hill.

Issues involved in these stories included ones of race, class, connections and opinions on who exactly deserves a street co-naming.

The website emailed to KCP notes that a few of these street signs bear names that most adult Americans would recognize: George Gershwin, Willie Mays, Humphrey Bogart. A tragically large number, about a fifth of the total, commemorate people who died in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

However, the great majority of the street co-namings are in honor of people like Chubby, who played a special significance to a particular community or neighborhood.

The site is worth glancing at. Here it is again.