An effort is underway to memorialize two Bay Ridge icons.
Members of Community Board 10’s Traffic and Transportation Committee met on Monday, December 7 to hear applications for four local street renamings – two of which, if approved by the City Council, would commemorate the lives of Ridgeites Maureen Stramka and Howie Dunn.
Stramka—remembered by many for her personality and by all for her unmatched leadership—served as a member of various organizations, including the Bay Ridge Community Council, the Bay Ridge Lions Club, and Ragamuffin Inc., all of which she once led as president. Stramka also served with Bay Ridge Ambulance Volunteer Organization (BRAVO), the 68th Precinct Community Council, the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee and CB 10, among others.
“It was mentioned that she put her heart into volunteering and her persistence and advocacy had a positive impact on our community and New York City,” said committee chair Jayne Capetenakis when speaking about the application—submitted by Stramka’s longtime friend, Irene Hanvey—at the board’s general meeting on December 21.
“I think it would be a true honor to her legacy,” said Hanvey, noting that she delivered to the board a series of letters supporting the renaming. The messages, neatly organized in the type of binder Stramka taught Hanvey to use, were from a number of local community leaders like former Borough President Marty Markowitz. “She really worked so hard and put her whole heart into it.”
Stramka was just 76 when she succumbed to cancer in May of 2014.
“She was like the mayor,” joked Hanvey. “She loved Bay Ridge so much and everybody knew her. She was a shining example of community service and that’s why I think this would be such a fitting honor for her.”
Dunn—a naval veteran who served in World War II—was known throughout southwest Brooklyn for his numerous efforts on behalf of veterans, the Boy Scouts, the American Legion and, of course, his own backyard.
“Howie is fully deserving of this,” noted friend and Executive Director of the Bay Ridge Memorial Day Parade Raymond Aalbue. “What he did for this community was unprecedented.”
Dunn was a major force in the effort to keep alive the Bay Ridge Memorial Day Parade when its future was in doubt, and also made it his personal mission to make sure that businesses along both Third and Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge had American flags waving proudly outside.
“Every flag that’s in front of a store, Howie had his fingers on,” said Aalbue. “What he did for the Wounded Warriors, what he did for the American Legion, what he did for the Boy Scouts—all of that is just something that nobody will ever be able to do. Nobody will ever be able to fill his shoes.”
Dunn died this past September at the age of 88.
If both applications pass, one side of 78th Street and Third Avenue would become “Maureen Stramka Way,” and another, “Howie Dunn Way.”
The two other applications were for late residents Carol Lemmon and Sal D’Amato. If approved, Lemmon, a lifelong Dyker resident and active community volunteer who served as a deputy marshal in the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Parade, would be memorialized at the corner of 71st Street and Eighth Avenue while D’Amato, the longtime owner of Harborview Car Service who provided vehicles for Bay Ridge on the Move, aiding seniors, as well as for such organizations as the Guild for Exceptional Children, would be commemorated at east side of Fifth Avenue and 94th Street, near Harborview’s base.
Once the board approves the co-namings, they go to the City Council, which must vote to approve them.