Spencer Estate street naming honors soldier, 52nd Pct. officer

Spencer Estate street naming honors soldier, 52nd Pct. officer
Photo by Aracelis Batista

A true American hero was fittingly remembered at a location that meant so much to him.

The corner of Bayshore and Ampere avenues has been named in honor of Detective Joseph Lemm, a member of the 50th Precinct Warrant Squad who was killed while serving in the Air Force’s Air National Guard in Afghanistan.

The Spencer Estate street corner was co-named after Lemm, who lived for a time on Bayview Avenue and met his wife Christine at the Ampere Fishing and Yacht Club near the corner, on Saturday, August 18.

His wife said that the couple also spent their last date on the water, embarking from the Ampere Fishing and Yacht Club, before Lemm’s deployment in 2015.

He lost his life in a roadside suicide bombing.

The co-naming ceremony included Lemm’s family, Mayor de Blasio, Senator Jeff Klein, Councilman Mark Gjonaj and high-ranking members of the NYPD.

The mayor said in remarks that Lemm was called ‘Superman’ by his colleagues during his 15-year NYPD career, and he spoke of Lemm’s three tours of duty, one in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.

“This is a commemoration of a life lived with courage, a life of service, a life that expressed a deep love for others because this life was lived in a way that was so exemplary…,” said the mayor during the ceremony.

The senator called Lemm “a true American hero who always put America and New York City first,” adding that the city will never forget that he selflessly dedicated his life as a 9/11 first responder, a 15-year veteran of the NYPD and a volunteer technical sergeant in the U.S. Air National Guard.

“Detective Lemm embodied honor and sacrifice for our community,” said Klein. “The Bronx is proud to celebrate his life and extraordinary service.”

The councilman said that he was proud to see the street naming for Lemm come to fruition, and that Lemm “like so many other fallen men and women in uniform, showed us the deepest possible meaning of service and sacrifice.”

“Brave Americans like Detective Lemm set a standard we should all strive to emulate,” said Gjonaj.

Christine Lemm said that while streets are normally named for police officers in the precinct where they served, she believes that her husband would have preferred to have a street named near a place where he enjoyed so many good times. “Joe and I very much loved the water and the street is right there overlooking the sound and it felt appropriate,” said Christine Lemm. “It was a wonderful ceremony and he was honored accordingly.”

Past Country Club Civic Association president, Mike McNerney, said he played the role of a go-between between Community Board 10 and the Ampere Fishing and Yacht Club, where the request originated.

“Myself being a member of the NYPD and a military veteran, I was 100 percent behind supporting this,” said McNerney.

Since the location was in Spencer Estate, he reached out to Spencer Estate Civic Association president Al Carena, who helped as well.

Keith Martin, the yacht’s club commodore, said that Lemm was introduced to the club around 2000 by another member and joined in 2005.

“Joe was a great guy,” said Martin. “He would give you the shirt off his back.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.