Rodney Dangerfield still isn't getting respect. A Queens civic group and a City Council member have killed a proposal to rename the street where the comedian grew up as Rodney Dangerfield Way. NY1's Angi Gonzalez reports:
Rodney Dangerfield has a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and in Queens, he's celebrated with a mural across the street from where he grew up.
Dangerfield lived above Austin's Ale House, at the corner of Austin Street and Lefferts Boulevard.
That connection gave the staff at the pub an idea.
"I said why don’t we try to do a street renaming because he used to live here," says Laura Altimari, the Marketing Director for Austin's Ale House
Altimari brought the proposal to the local City Council member, Democrat Karen Koslowitz. Her response, as Dangerfield himself might have said: Fuhgetaboutit.
"It's not like they are ignoring Rodney Dangerfield, because there's the mural of him in the park," she says. "You can't miss it. You see the picture of Rodney Dangerfield."
Koslowitz says her decision reflects the wishes of the Kew Gardens Civic Association.
There are whispers the group believes the sometimes-bawdy comedian does not reflect well on the community. It's executive chairman denied an interview request but released a statement to NY1 saying the proposal "had not been sufficiently considered to be recommended."
Folks at the Ale House don't understand the rejection.
"We just thought it would be a nice thing to do," Altimari says.
The majority of Kew Gardens residents we spoke to agreed.
"I’m for it. Why not?" says one.
"I don’t see the harm. I don’t see the being against it," says Bill Corrado, a local business owner.
Another resident added, "I would say yes, 'Rodney Dangerfield Way' would be nice."
This is the second local controversy about the late comedian this year. In February, Dangerfield's widow complained about how the mural portrayed her late husband. Her lawyer called the painting "an entirely unacceptable image" and a "less-than-flattering portrayal of Rodney, who deserves nothing but the highest respect."
Ceremonial street namings are rarely controversial. Celebrities, some far less known than Dangerfield; civic leaders; and fallen military service personnel are so honored all over the city. More than 1,600 streets, in fact, have been co-named.
A block of W. 53rd Street in Manhattan is Jerry Orbach Way, after the late actor, and a block of Second Ave. in the East Village is Bill Graham Way, after the noted rock concert promoter. W. 66th St., between Columbus Ave. and Central Park West, is Peter Jennings Way, after the late ABC News anchor; ABC News' headquarters is on the block.
Koslowitz was involved in the approval of another street co-naming last year: In Forest Hills, the intersection of 67th Ave. and 110th was co-named The Ramones Way to honor the legendary punk rock group.
The councilwoman says the Ramones were more deserving than Dangerfield and the street naming had more support.
"They lived here and they were famous. The people wanted it and we did The Ramones Way. Forest Hills didn't object," she says.
While supporters hope a Rodney Dangerfield Way is still possible, it doesn't appear likely, at least as long as Koslowitz is in office..
"I think we have the park with the nice picture," she says, "and that’s the way I think it's going to stay for now."