Albanian community upset over canceled street-naming ceremony of prominent figure

The intersection of Tenbroek and Morris Park avenues was supposed to be renamed Fan Noli Way, a Harvard graduate who was once the prime minister of Albania and founded the Albanian Orthodox Church.

News 12 Staff

Feb 26, 2022, 11:44 PM

Updated 822 days ago

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The Albanian community protested in Morris Park Saturday after it said a street-naming ceremony that was planned for months was put on hold.
The intersection of Tenbroek and Morris Park avenues was supposed to be renamed Fan Noli Way, a Harvard graduate who was once the prime minister of Albania and founded the Albanian Orthodox Church.
More than 100 Albanians, elected officials, and neighbors came out to voice their disappointment that the street naming did not take place. They said the day was extremely important as hundreds of members of Vatra, an Albanian American advocacy group, flew in for its national convention and that the street-naming ceremony was intended as a surprice for the visiting group.
Organizers said the City Council approved the street naming last December, but they claim Council Member Marjorie Velazquez did not submit a form to the New York City Department of Transportation to officially rename the street.
Former Council Member Mark Gjonaj called it an act of pettiness. He and his fellow Albanians said they are being discriminated against.
The Albanian community signed a petition to hopefully have the street officially renamed in the next few months.
News 12 reached out to Velazquez's office to learn more about where the renaming stands. She assured that she did not intentionally block it. In a statement, she says, "This street co-naming was never blocked, and I've been working with DOT on this co-naming and the former Council Member knows full well street co-namings I have always taken time to schedule. We have been coordinating a date with the President of Vatra Elmi Berisha, to celebrate not only Fan Noli but the church and culture he loved so much."
Velazquez also added in part, "It's unfortunate that some people would rather divide a community with fabricated lies than work to do positive things for us."
Velazquez said projects like street-naming take time and added, "Let's be clear what this is about, it was a cheap political attack by political opponents who want to divide our community."
Despite the delay, the Albanian community created a sign anyway.
"We are going to have our own sign recognized for Fan Noli Way," Gjonaj said.  


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