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Many Sunnysiders Prefer to Use Street Names As Opposed to Street Numbers

Winged Fist Way and Ian McGowan (Photo: QueensPost)

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.”

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Patricia Dorfman

taking koch’s name off is unlikely. ideal would be a bill proposed by a mayoral candidate which puts renaming back in the hands of the people, perhaps called the “people’s property.” no renaming without representation. all dual or renaming should come from a grassroots swell, followed by a process which reflects the will of the people. Now it is a politician bestowing favors. may our elected officials stop planting flags and spend their days trying to assist and lead the governed.


@ Y’all make me laugh: Hitler Youth? Know your history. He’s giving the “Black Power” salute in the picture.


As a resident of the Woodside side of Celtic Park, I must agree with YAMML. First, it’s mighty confusing when you tell people you live in Sunnyside but give them a postal address of Woodside. And when I miss a package it always irks me that I have to trudge past the Post Office on 44th Street on my way up to the 61st Street branch. What’s up with that?

Bliss & Skillman

I love living on Bliss Street in Sunnyside! It just sounds so freaking HAPPY!

Mary Caulfield

I have a feeling after Bloomberg goes no one will fight a move to take Mayor Koch’s name off the Queensborough Bridge. It was a ridiculous act of hubris on his part, typical for tyrants. Act first, ask questions later. He just can’t admit he made a mistake.

Patricia Dorfman

i meant, “when a conductor says 46-bliss” i cheer up. many don’t

Patricia Dorfman

bragging here and off topic:

I got the names back on the subways stops and street signs in the nineties at queen blvd after a five year struggle, including a petition with over 2000 names, with the mta and dot oddly fighting restoration at every turn, even a letter from the dot saying the old names posed a danger to community safety. finally, with help from cathy nolan and eric gioia at the end, it got done. i and don mccallian even had to testify at city hall. we also threw in a struggle for lincoln.

you can see the giant “bliss street” sign at welcome home real estate where it now lives. i think lily gavin has “lowery” and not sure where rawson is. every the conductor says “46th-bliss” i cheer up. i i moved here expressly to get off at bliss street and freaked when after renovations, all the names were removed from the trains and maps. without the support of gioia and nolan, it would not have happened.

i am not a historian but appreciate mightily what they do. btw, i did notice the other day that on a 1893 map of the area, that “packard” street is called “grove” at the south end. i ask luke adams about getting up some of the old subway and street maps some of us have in his “good old days” section. fun to see. there is debate on where all the street names come from. no bliss farms, for instance. any historians out there to weigh in?


great that mcgowan is getting all things celtic back

councilman walter mccaffrey got the street names back in parts of Sunnyside Gardens after a push from preservationists, including dorothy morehead

i hugely loved that current councilman jimmy van bramer got the complete street names back in the gardens most recently, after requests from preservations like herb reynolds and many others.

as far as i am concerned, we can go back to native american names, and grassroots changes are fine such as for veterans for local celebs but otherwise, but no changing by gov’t. it is public property. i have still not gotten over the dreadful renaming of queensboro bridge and now will not be appeased until we rename the brooklyn bridge “loretta,” or “freddie”


The Train stops were named after the farms that were here when the Built the & train in the early 1900’s

33 street Rawson Farm

40 Street Lowery Farms

46 Street Bliss Farms


@you all make me….

Just a wild guess here but maybe – just maybe, Ian was simply pointing to the street sign above him that the story is about. Careful to check under your bed tonight before you go to sleep, there might be nazis hiding under it.


I think the named streets that happen to be included as subway stops along the Flushing [number 7] line have “survived” because of that: Rawson, Lowery and Bliss Streets; Lincoln and Fiske Avenues. I grew up on Fiske Avenue [a/k/a 69th Street] in Woodside. My parents and grandparents often referred to 68th Street as Meyer [or was it Myers?] Avenue and to 45th Avenue as Shell Road, so I know those names, but I’m sure there are others of which I am not aware. I believe there was an even earlier street numbering system in effect for that part of Queens – 68th Street/Myers Avenue may have been 18th Street, if memory serves. Or maybe it was 9th Street. This was back in the 19th century. In any event, each neighborhood was a “town” and had its own numbering system, which would have become ridiculously confusing once those Queens towns were consolidated into one borough. I see no harm in using the names – whether old or new – as alternative designations, but it is too much to expect postal carriers to recognize them and to deliver mail to them efficiently, although the use of zipcodes does help. Why not put BOTH the name and the number of such a street on envelopes and letterhead, separated by a comma ?

you all make me laugh

What they really need to do is somehow Rezone Celtic Park so it all falls under either a Sunnyside or Woodside zip code. The whole 11104 and 11377 for the same complex is silly. BTW that picture looks like a promo shot for the Hitler Youth of America. Bang Up Job with that…


“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.”

38 years delivering mail in the neighborhood and he couldn’t figure that one out somehow?


Have no fear. Your bills will always find your mailbox. Checks may go astray.

Murphy’s Law.


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