Maspeth Street To Be Named After Pope John Paul II

Staff Writer

A Maspeth street corner will soon bear the name of one of the most prominent religious leaders of the 20th century.

The corner of 61st Street and 56th Road in Maspeth will be co-named Pope John Paul II Way next year, after the second longest-serving pope in history.

The proposal was submitted earlier this year and was approved by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Dec. 17.

The idea to co-name the street corner after Pope John Paul II came from a group called the Polish-Jewish Dialogue Committee, which focuses on discussing issues and honoring those of Polish and/or Jewish, decent.

Jeff Gottlieb, a co-chair of the committee, said they chose that specific corner because of Maspeth’s heavy Polish population. Pope John Paul II, who was Pope from 1978-2005, is of Polish decent and was an archbishop in Poland before becoming Pope. He also improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism and was a supporter of Israel.

It is unknown yet when the co-naming ceremony will take place, but Gottlieb said it is expected to be sometime in March or April.

He added that the group is elated for the ability to co-name the street after the former Pope. The sign will stand adjacent to Holy Cross Church.

“We feel very good about it,” Gottlieb said. “We feel a tremendous amount of pride to accomplish that on a City level.”

The group will hold a meeting next month to finalize details about the co-naming as well as other planned ceremonies, like who will receive the second annual Jan Karski Humanitarian Award, named after a Polish-Jewish World War II fighter, and honoring those who fought against the German-Nazis on the 75th Anniversary of the beginning of World War II.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, or @luisgronda.