The NYC Parks Department recently renamed a part of Leif Ericson Park after the late Bay Ridge author Gilbert Sorrentino.
Sorrentino Square, at Fourth Avenue and 67th Street, was dedicated in December. Community Board 10 member Henry Stewart, a big fan of the postmodernist writer, came up with the idea of naming something in the neighborhood for him.
Josephine Beckmann, the district manager of CB 10, suggested a few potential sites, and Stewart thought of the park.
“It’s only 700 feet from the apartment building where Gil grew up, and Leif Ericson around here in general shows up often in his work,” Stewart told this paper. “I made a presentation to the parks committee of CB10, of which I’m a member, and it was unanimously approved.”
Sorrentino attended Fort Hamilton High School and Brooklyn College, where he majored in 16th and 17th century literature. His novels include “The Sky Changes,” “Blue Pastoral” and “Mulligan Stew.” He received the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award. He died in 2006.
“Gil is special to me, as a local who loves books,” said Stewart. “He’s our de facto laureate, who captured his neighbors and his time so precisely, and I wanted to do something to pay respect to his legacy while also making sure that more people would hear his name and get to know his work.”