Aug. 10, 2015 By Christian Murray
More than 100 residents paid tribute to the legacy of the late Luke Adams by attending the co-naming of 46th Street Saturday in his honor.
Adams, who lived and ran a travel agency in the neighborhood for decades, passed away last November at the age of 76. On Saturday, local business leaders, friends and civic leaders met near the Sunnyside Arch for the unveiling of “Luke Adams Way.”
“It is important that we never forget the life of Luke Adams,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who organized the event with Adams’ long-time friend Patricia Dorfman.
“For decades Luke Adams walked these streets, had a business on this [46th] street and fought for this community,” Van Bramer said. “He made this community more livable and prosperous.”
Adams, a big advocate for Sunnyside, was a key player behind the construction of the Sunnyside Arch, which was built in the early 1980s to help revitalize the business district. He was a former president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and served as the president of Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club. He was also a member of Sunnyside Artists and was involved in the local Kiwanis Club.
Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, who returned from her vacation to be at the event Saturday, said that Adams was someone who “loved people.”
“You don’t take half of Sunnyside around the world, without loving people,” she said, referring to his days as a travel agent. “I’m so happy to celebrate his legacy,” she added.
State Sen. Mike Gianaris said that it was appropriate that a major intersection by the arch be named after Adams, given his service to Sunnyside and his passion for the arch.
Meanwhile, Lily Gavin, the long-time owner of Dazies Restaurant, said he was a fighter for the community and was involved in many local organizations. “He made a real difference to the community,” she said.
Joe Conley, former chairman of Community Board 2, said that Adams played a role in making sure the Arch remained in Sunnyside when its future was in doubt in the early 2000s.
Kris Czerniachowicz, a local resident who knew Adams for decades, said Adams changed her life.
“He turned me into addict, a service addict,” she said. “The more you do to help people, the more you want to do—it’s like a drug.”
She said Adams was often pushy since he wanted to get things done for the community. She said that he would often leave voice mail messages.
“I would always think what does he want me to do now—but I would always call back because I knew he would do anything for any of us,” she said.
Czerniachowicz said that she has inherited Adams’ cat, Dylan, who has many of his qualities.
“He’s a little overweight, loves to eat and is not the neatest but he has me wrapped around his little finger.”