June 30, 2012 By Bill Parry
Last July, New York City officially recognized the history of the Irish American Athletic Club and co-named 43rd Street (btw. 48th and 50th Avenues) as Winged Fist Way.
Today, a letter mailed to “Winged Fist Way” will arrive at that location without delay, although mail carriers warn that when people send letters to street names as opposed to street numbers they are taking a risk.
“It’s really a hit or miss thing. I wouldn’t use it for anything important like bills,” said Steve D’Angelo, who recently retired after 38 years delivering mail in the neighborhood.
Fellow carrier Dave Van Aiken explained that a computer system determines whether the mail gets to the postal worker. “That’s where the numbers create the convenience: it’s easier to sort. Sometimes it doesn’t get to the carrier because of insufficient information.”
D’Angelo added: “I still get occasional mail [that goes through the system] for Packard St. and I don’t know where it is, so it goes back and sits in the mail room.” Packard is 45th Street.
The Sunnyside number vs. street name debate is one of convenience vs. charm. Bliss Street, for example, is widely known as 46th Street. Dorothy Morehead, a longtime Skillman Ave. real estate agent, said: “Many home buyers prefer the street names as opposed to the numbers…but the numbers are for convenience.”
Ian McGowan, a Celtic Park resident who championed the co-naming of Winged Fist Way, has been using the name as his mailing address. In a recent mailing, there was no delay in receiving a letter to Winged Fist Way.
At a recent Celtic Park coop meeting, McGowan asked the Celtic Park board of directors to use Winged Fist Way as its official mailing address and was told it would be considered. The street name is in homage to the Irish American Athletic Club, whose members won about 50 Olympic medals during the club’s 1901-to-1930 existence. Celtic Park was built where the club was located.
McGowan has elected to use Winged Fist Way has his official address. “I have the utmost faith in the U.S. Postal Service. I think it’s an incredibly efficient and cost effective service. I have the utmost respect for our letter carriers, as well.”