Mary Vallati was considered a gem in Norwood. She was seen as a fixture in the community and recognized for her devotion to bettering the neighborhood until her passing earlier this year. Now, members of the community are working to have a street renamed in her honor.
Barbara Stronczer, president of the Bedford Mosholu Community Association, is urging community members to sign the petition in order to have the street renamed. She looks to take those signatures to present to Community Board 7 (CB7) to begin the process. She says, “We need 100 [signatures] in order for CB7 to give us a letter of support. And in addition to CB7 we need letters of support from other organizations.”
Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation will also submit a letter. Its executive director, John Reilly, was a close friend of Mrs. Vallati’s.
Those letters will ultimately go to Councilman Andrew Cohen, representing the Bedford Park neighborhood where Vallati lived. Letters of support are option, though they strengthen a Council member’s request for a street renaming when they officially come before the Council to request one.
In the 1970s, Mrs. Vallati joined the Bedford Mosholu Community Association and in the 90s she took part in a demonstration against a C-Town supermarket that was being closed on East 204th Street between Valentine Avenue and East Mosholu Parkway South.
If the street renaming is approved, it will be an addition to the many commendations Mrs. Vallati has been bestowed. In 2006, to honor her 101st birthday, she was recognized with a park bench in front of the 52nd Precinct engraved with her name.
This is one of two street renaming requests Cohen’s office is involved with. The second is for the late Andrew Sandler, the former district manager of Community Board 7.