June 23, By Christian Murray
Plans are in place to co-name 39th Street—between Queens Boulevard and 43rd Avenue—after Gertrude “Gert” McDonald, a decades-long civic leader who died at the age of 100 last month.
The street was selected since it is the home of Sunnyside Community Services, a place where McDonald was a fixture often frequenting five to six days per week.
“I can’t think of a better way to honor Gert than co-naming 39th Street after her,” said Judy Zangwill, the executive director of Sunnyside Community Services. “The street was home to Gert for many years.”
Steps were taken this week at Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee meeting to co-name the street after McDonald. The committee voted unanimously to give her that honor.
McDonald was long credited for helping pave the way for women in Queens politics, when in 1968 she was the first female to run for elected office as a Democrat in Queens. Although her campaign for a state assembly seat failed, she helped lay the foundation down for other women to run for political office.
McDonald served on Community Board 2 for more than 40 years and held positions at the 108th Precinct Community Council and the United Forties Civic Association.
McDonald was born in Manhattan and moved to Sunnyside when she was seven. She lived in the neighborhood most of her life.
The street co-naming will have to be approved by the city council.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he has been in discussions with McDonald’s family about the co-naming and said that he will be working with them to make it happen.
“It will be with great pleasure to introduce legislation to co-name a street in honor of the late Gert McDonald,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Gert was special. A trailblazer and a legend in our community. She deserves this honor.”