Watch CBS News

New initiative to learn more about local people with streets and landmarks named after them in Queens

Queens Name Explorer sheds light on local figures
Queens Name Explorer sheds light on local figures 02:18

NEW YORK -- Have you ever come across certain streets or parks named after someone and thought, who is this person?

Well in Queens, there's a new initiative to get you those answers. 

111th Street in Corona is also known as Francisco Munoz Way, but the name probably doesn't ring a bell. He was a Queens resident who lost his life inside the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks.

"We know he was 29 years old when he died. We know he was a child of immigrants from Colombia. But he's a perfect example we would love to flesh out from stories of people who knew him during his lifetime," said Natalie Milbrodt, director of the Queens Memory Project for the Queens Public Library. 

It's stories like his that fuel the Queens Name Explorer initiative, an interactive map that shows you all the landmarks -- whether streets, parks or schools -- named in someone's honor throughout the borough. 

"A lot of people who places are named after have made a big contribution to local communities," Milbrodt said. "We want to understand who these folks were, because otherwise they're just a name on a sign."

Milbrodt says while some spots listed are named after more famous folks, such a Louis Armstrong Park, others, like James Edward Heath Way named after a local jazz musician, require people who knew these individuals to step forward. 

"We'd love to hear about people experiencing, listening to him playing live shows. We know he's someone who passed away in 2020, so there must be a lot of folks that have great memories of him and his music," she said. 

If you do happen to recognize one of the names, using the map you can click on the "edit" button on the top right corner and add what you know. 

"You can upload photos, you can share anything that you'd like to share about this person and your memories of them," said Milbrodt. 

She said they plan to add hundreds of more names to the map in the coming weeks, with the goal to share stories from every corner of Queens.

"This project is a great way to learn more about the local heroes that are important on a local level, who we want to make sure in the future people can learn about and understand what their contributions were," she said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.