Sept. 6, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
A portion of 39th Street is set to be co-named this Saturday in honor of Gertrude “Gert” McDonald, a Sunnyside civic leader who died two years ago at the age of 100.
The section of 39th Street between Queens Boulevard and 43rd Avenue will be co-named Gertrude McDonald Way at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7.
The co-naming ceremony will take place on the corner of Queens Boulevard and 39th Street and is being organized by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s office.
The street was selected as it is home to Sunnyside Community Services, a place where McDonald frequented up to six times a week in her later years.
Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee voted unanimously in June 2017 to honor McDonald by co-naming the street after her. The street co-naming was subsequently approved by the City Council.
In 1968, McDonald was the first woman to run for elected office as a Democrat in Queens and she is credited for helping to pave the way for women in Queens politics.
McDonald, who died in May 2017, 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.
She was born in Manhattan and moved to Sunnyside at the age of seven. She lived in the neighborhood for most of her life and was an active member in local politics and at Sunnyside Community Services.
Van Bramer sponsored the legislation in the City Council and said in 2017 that “Gert was special. A trailblazer and a legend in our community. She deserves this honor.”