July 29, 2013 By Christian Murray
A Woodside street took on a new name on Saturday when it was co-named after Lou Rispoli, the Woodside resident who was murdered on a Sunnyside street last October.
Rispoli’s family and friends gathered at 51st Street (43rd Ave.), where the honoree had lived for 30 years, to celebrate the new street name: Lou Rispoli Way.
“Lou meant so much to the people of 51st Street as well as Woodside,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was tearing up while speaking at the event. “Lou would sit in [John Downing Square] park and smoke a cigarette and have conversations with people in the neighborhood,” Van Bramer said.
“He was important to this block and we won’t forget him,” Van Bramer said. “While we all know that there has not been an arrest in this case, one of the things this shows is that we will never stop fighting for justice.”
Danyal Lawson, who was Rispoli’s husband, described the occasion as “bitter sweet.”
“Such happiness but such sadness,” Lawson said. “I am really moved that Lou is being honored in this way, and grateful to the people who supported it.”
Rispoli was the president of his coop board and was also active in Woodside beautification projects. He was also known for feeding and caring for AIDs victims in the 1980s, at a time when society was afraid to go near AIDs patients. He also helped mentor aspiring musicians throughout the city.
But the focus of the occasion was on Rispoli’s “free spirit” and how he was well known in the his section of Woodside and Sunnyside—whether it was by restaurant owners, waitresses, bakers, florists or other store owners.
I must say that Webley’s Daddy / Son role playing above is quite comical!
Bill Ryan is totally right, who the hell is this guy? Just because he was murdered, does not give anyone to name a street after him without consulting to residents of the area. Additionally, “daddy, who was Raspoli”, “He was a gay person murdered in the middle of the night next door to our building, son”.. Nice.
Ms. Quinn showed up as did Melinda Katz. Surprised that DeBlasio did not show. Also, Democratic district leader was introduced. I would like to know why? Is he more important than the other people who showed up? Politics, politics, politics!!! A death is being exploited for political gain. And that is not right.
Very sorry to hear about this man’s death.
I question naming a streeet after him.
Seems like there is some political motivation involved.
What contributions did he make to our community?
Did he perform any military or civil service?
Just asking questions that need to be asked.
Woodside wants to have it’s own Matthew Shepard as a rallying point for the gay movement. The fact we have no idea if this was indeed a hate crime or not didn’t stop the people who arranged for the street co-naming, so anxious are they to create a martyr for the cause. It’s all about politics. A tragedy for sure, but now about politics.
If he were a straight guy, would there have been a street naming for him? And believe me, I want this case solved. I also read that he was Van Bramer’s treasurer for his campaign. Connections count – not justice.
He was a nice guy. Took care of friends with AIDS and the Pres of his coop board. Heartbroken also previously mentioned that he would stare down people on the subway who would snicker at him for being gay. There you have it…
I’m with Andrew. Who is this guy? What about all the historical figures from Sunnyside?
No offense to the guy, but I don’t think he deserved to be co-named a street. He was murdered and the police screwed up the handling from the get go. Sad and tragic, but what makes him more special than any other person to have his name on a street.
I feel bad for Mr. Rispoli and his loved ones who have suffered a terrible loss. However, I do think that this street was renamed because of connections with Jimmy Van Bramer and that there are other crime victims who should be in our thoughts and prayers as well. I hope they catch his killers and well as the killer of the poor Korean lady who left behind children.
Meanwhile in Sunnyside South…
is the Pope gonna swing by on his way back to the Vatican and bless the corner?
something like anonymous said should not be swept under the rug — it should be brought out in the open when the truth comes out !!!!!!
If he were a straight guy who liked taking walks when he couldn’t sleep, would we even be having this conversation, “what if he were scoring drugs,” “what if he were cruising”? What if he were a Russian mafia member gone legit and they had to assassinate him to send a message? What if the whole thing were staged to bring attention to anti-gay hate crimes, and now he’s run away to Brazil with his two “killers”?
Seems to make more sense to work with what we know, rather than letting our imaginations run wild.
I think this automatic “oh, well he was probably up to something” assumption probably contributed to the 108’s totally botched investigation.
Not likely, that would be bad publicity for those who pushed for this premature canonization. Any revelation of drug scoring or late night cruising would probably be quietly swept under the rug.
I really hope they solve his murder though.
The truth about this murder, unfortunately, might turn out to be somewhat embarrassing. If, for example, further investigation turns out that he was murdered while trying to score drugs or some other illegal or seedy activity, I hope someone will have the good sense to take the street sign down.
There WAS a sketch but it was like brushed under the rug.
Something just feels weird that this guy was unfortunately murdered and no one was caught.
Like no description of anyone. I mean there was a description of the livery drive who stabbed two dudes, killing one.
Whatever, Rispoli’s murder just seems suspicious and I hope the truth presents itself.
A beautiful ceremony but I do hope that the politicians who showed up show some concern for other murder victims as well.
When’s the statue going up?
He blessed the neighborhood and now the neighborhood blesses him.