Eric Garner Way is located on the corner of Victory Boulevard and Bay Street in Staten Island. It sits along the same block where Bay Beauty Supply is located, which is where Garner died after being illegally choked by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who has since lost his job with the New York Police Department, though both a grand jury and the Justice Department refused to indict him. Garner, who was considered a “peacemaker,” was harassed by police after breaking up a fight outside the beauty store. The conflict escalated and Pantaleo placed the 43-year-old in a chokehold, which ultimately resulted in Garner’s final words: “I can’t breathe.” Pantaleo’s partner, Justin D’Amico, later admitted to crafting an exaggerated police report and claimed that he believed Garner was “playing possum” and not actually in any danger. Despite witnessing the illegal chokehold used by Pantaleo, D’Amico is somehow still on the police force. Garner was a father and a grandfather; his legacy not only lives on with his family but with the foundation they’ve created in his honor, fittingly named Garner Way, or E.R.I.C. The foundation provides resources on counteracting police brutality and helps families and victims who have been impacted by abuse of power from law enforcement.
Also honored with streets named after them are the many diverse communities that make up New York City. In Queens, the intersection at Homelawn Avenue and Hillside Avenue will now be known as Little Bangladesh Avenue, and is situated in the heart of the Bangladeshi community. The corner of 70th Street and Roosevelt Avenue will now be known as Little Manila Avenue for the Filipino community in the area. Little Manila is surrounded by a bevy of Filipino restaurants and businesses and locals have been lobbying to preserve the area for its importance to the community. Also renamed in honor of its community is Little Liberia Way, located at Sobel Court and Park Hill Avenue on Staten Island. The area boasts the largest concentration of Liberians outside of Liberia and is the home of thousands of Liberians who fled civil war and conflict in hopes of seeking a better life in the U.S.
The renaming of streets aligns with the vision of many New Yorkers, including incoming Mayor Eric Adams, who previously vowed to rename streets and buildings that honor slaveholders. Adams has yet to cite examples or name potential replacements for streets like Houston Street, which is named after slaveholder William Houston, but he likely has support from constituents. A recap of one of the mayoral primary debates with leading Democratic candidates revealed that all five candidates supported renaming locations named for slaveholders.