ASTORIA – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides celebrated the co-naming of 31st Avenue & 54th Street in honor of Jimmy Lanza on Saturday, Sept. 9. He was joined by the Lanza family and friends, Congressman Joe Crowley, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, Alan Feuer, current Commander of American Legion Post 1836, FDNY Queens Borough Commander Ed Baggott, Kurt Lester, a retired firefighter who served with Lanza, and members of the community.
Earlier this year, the City Council unanimously passed INT. 1613, which co-named this street as well as other streets throughout the city.
Lanza showed dedication and sacrifice to his country and city through his service in the military and as a first-responder. He joined the U.S. Navy in his youth and served in Vietnam. He later served as an FDNY firefighter for 28 years. On September 11, 2001, Lanza rushed to the World Trade Center to assist with rescue efforts, further showing his commitment to his fellow New Yorkers. There, he helped pull 16 survivors out of what became known as the “miracle stairwell.” In April of this year, he died of 9/11-related cancer, making the ultimate sacrifice.
In addition to his service in Vietnam and on September 11th, Lanza also performed many charitable acts. He worked with the Wounded Warrior Project, helped take care of the widows and children of fallen FDNY comrades, and served as the commander of American Legion Post 1836 in the Boulevard Gardens Co-op that he called home for many years.
Council Member Constantinides said, “I am proud to recognize Jimmy Lanza’s memory with this street co-naming. We honor Jimmy’s service in the Navy and at FDNY, especially his assistance at the World Trade Center. His legacy of selflessness and devotion to his community serve as a role model for our entire city through this co-naming. I thank his dedicated family and friends for joining us in commemorating his work and contributions.”
Marian and Stephanie Pennachio, sister and niece of Jimmy Lanza, said, “On behalf of the Lanza Family, we want to thank everyone involved for this wonderful tribute and honor bestowed upon Jimmy Lanza. He will never be forgotten. Every time a person looks up and sees this street sign, he will be remembered. He was a genuine American Hero and we are so very proud of all his accomplishments. He truly was a gift from God and lived his whole life helping others. He taught us well and now it is up to us to carry on his legacy. Rest in Peace Jimmy Lanza, our hero.”
“Jimmy Lanza was a pillar of the Woodside community who left behind a legacy of selflessness, service to our country, and goodwill for his fellow neighbors,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), who earlier this year honored Lanza with a statement submitted into the Congressional Record. “Co-naming this street is a fitting tribute to him and his family. I thank Council Member Constantinides for ushering this effort in the NYC Council to ensure Jimmy’s contributions to Woodside and our nation are never forgotten.”
Assemblyman Brian Barnwell said, “Jimmy Lanza served his country in Vietnam, and the New York City Fire Department. He was a community leader, a friend, and a good man. Jimmy was always helping other people in his neighborhood, and throughout the United States. It is fitting that we honor him with this street renaming so that future members of the community learn what Jimmy was all about: service to others.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. More information is available online at: council.nyc.gov/costa.