BY LUIS GRONDA
The Maspeth street that George Gibbons grew up on will now bear his name.
A street co-naming ceremony was held last Saturday in honor of Gibbons, who was killed almost two years ago after a driver was speeding on the wrong side of the Long Island Expressway and crashed into the cab he was taking home after a night at the family bar, The Gibbons’ Home.
The corner of 60th Drive and Mount Olivet Crescent in Maspeth will now also be called George Gibbons Jr. Way.
The ceremony featured many family and friends of Gibbons’, who came out to celebrate the life of their beloved family member.
Siobhan McEntee, one of George’s sisters, spoke of what the street co-naming means to George and their family.
“It’s very special for us to have the ceremony and to have our home street renamed after George. George was a true community leader and we hope this will be a reminder to others to be the same,” she said.
Other family members reflected on George’s life and the kind of person he was.
Brendan Gibbons, George’s brother, said he remembers celebrating his birthday with George the night before he was tragically killed.
“I was hanging out with him at the bar. It was my birthday that day,” Brendan said, wiping away tears from his face and struggling for words.
Bernadette Gibbons, also George’s sister, described her beloved brother as “priceless” and his sense of humor was “infectious.”
“Everyone that knew him knew that the party never really got started until George arrived,” she said.
Siobhan also said the street co-naming will hopefully bring more attention to the punishment of leaving the scene of an accident.
After Rodriguez crashed into the cab that was taking Gibbons home, he left the scene of the accident and a manhunt was started in the days after the incident. Rodriguez was found and arrested more than a month after the crash in Connecticut. He was charged with leaving the scene of a crime without reporting it and negligent homicide and was sentenced to three-and-a-half to seven years in prison.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), who also attended the ceremony, said there is legislation submitted to the City Council that would strengthen the penalty for leaving the scene of a crime.
“I know that the family is still working to strengthen the law so that if somebody leaves the scene of the crime, that they’ll be prosecuted just as much as if they were found on the scene, under the influence,” Crowley said.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.