Community hopes Martin Gold street honor near

Martin Gold’s widow, Helen, applied the ceremonial first coat as Councilman Jimmy Vacca and friends look on, during a ceremony honoring the life of the longtime community activist known for repainting mailboxes hit by graffiti. An effort to name a street after Gold has been stalled due to red tape.

While Community Board 11 approved the plan to ask for a street sign in honor of a beloved community activist, city red tape has held up the process.

Pelham Gardens’ residents won’t see “Martin Gold Way” on Tenbroeck Avenue until the City Council lifts its current hold on all sign approvals. 

“As an elected official, I want to support the wishes of the neighborhood,” said Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who hopes the stay will be lifted soon. 

The hold has been in place since controversy erupted last year after the nomination of Sonny Carson in Brooklyn, considered by some a strong community voice, but by others a divisive racist. 

“Ever since then, we haven’t approved a street naming,” Vacca said.  “I think now is the time to move and allow the names submitted to come forth.”

He hopes the city will ensure no controversies erupt in the future, and knows Gold’s nomination will surely be approved when the new process is implemented. 

“The City Council is looking at the process we use,” Vacca said.  “There’s been no objections to the names put forward since.”

Gold, a Pelham Gardens resident, worked to clean up neighborhood streets for 12 years until his passing in October of 2006 at age 90.

On a regular basis, he would cart his collection of paint cans and brushes to more than 50 area mailboxes to cover up unsightly tags — and became a local celebrity in the process.

A World War II U.S. Navy veteran, Gold also remained active by volunteering at Aging in America’s Morningside House Senior Center on Pelham Parkway, in addition to serving as an inspiration for so many in the community.

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