Another Bay Ridge street corner has been co-named in memory of a local legend.
The corner of 78th Street and Third Avenue on Saturday, June 3 was officially dubbed “Howie Dunn Way” in memory of the late naval veteran who served not only in World War II but also in local efforts galore in his hometown of Bay Ridge.
Dunn – who died in September of 2015 at the age of 88 – was known throughout southwest Brooklyn for his numerous efforts on behalf of veterans, the Boy Scouts, the American Legion, the Wounded Warrior Project 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 back when the street renaming was awaiting a green-light. “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.”
The efforts to memorialize the naval veteran and neighborhood icon were expedited, noted members of Community Board 10 (CB 10) when the street co-naming was unanimously approved by the local panel in early 2016, so that members of Dunn’s family – including his wife, Mae – might get the opportunity to see the street sign hung.
That they did.
“Howie Dunn Way” shares the intersection with the recently designated “Maureen Stramka Way,” a memorial co-naming that, along with Dunn’s, passed the neighborhood’s community board with flying colors.
Local dignitaries in attendance at the sign’s unveiling included State Senator Marty Golden, Councilmember Vincent Gentile and Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Pamela Harris, all of whom spoke to Dunn’s unmatched service to both his country and his hometown.
“Howie was a neighborhood icon and a veteran’s veteran,” noted Gentile. “But more than anything, Howie was humble and led by quiet example. Whether it was his time proudly serving his country in the Navy, his charity work with the Wounded Warrior Project, his efforts to keep the Kings County Memorial Day Parade alive or his frequent trips to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on clothing drives for veterans, Howie lived a selfless life in constant service to others.
“I was proud to salute Howie for all he did for our neighborhood, our city, and of course, our great country,” the pol went on, “and happy that Howie’s legacy will live forever, shining down on us from above the corner of 78th and Third Avenue.”
“I was proud to have known Howie Dunn for so many years and see his love of our nation and our neighborhood shine through in his countless volunteer hours,” added Golden. “Howie was dedicated to our veterans, our Boy Scouts and to the American flag like no other. This weekend, we stood with his family, his friends and his community in forever remembering a great man who always did the right thing for our community. He is missed, but the street sign on 78th Street and the flags along our avenues will always remind us of him.”
Other speakers at the ceremony included Commanding Officer of Fort Hamilton Army Base Colonel Peter Sicoli, CB 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann and Aalbue.
On Facebook, Harris shared photos from the ceremony, asking Dunn to “watch over” his friends and family, adding that there is a noteworthy meaning behind the name Howie.
“Guardian of Home,” she wrote.