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Queens may soon have two streets renamed to honor men whose primary claim to fame is the fact they were shot to death.
In Forest Hills, orthodontist Daniel Malakov was shot to death, by a man hired by his estranged wife in front of the couple’s then-4-year-old daughter. Malakov’s wife, who was engaged in a bitter custody dispute, was convicted of hiring her uncle to pull the trigger and has been sentenced to life in prison.
City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz has introduced a resolution at Community Board 6 to name 64th Road between 108th Street and Yellowstone Boulevard as “Daniel Malakov Way.” Koslowitz said, “This is something we can do so his daughter and his family can see her father was an important part of the community.”
Friends and family say Malakov, a 34-year-old Bukharian Jew from Uzbekistan, was a good man who had given a great deal to the community. Albert Cohen, a close friend, said, “Our younger generation wants to achieve the same level of professional accomplishments he achieved. He was a top student in dental school who did extremely well at Columbia University. He was a good person who took care of families who could not afford braces.”
In Jamaica this week, the city renamed a street in honor of Sean Bell, a young man who was mistakenly killed by police in a hail of bullets as he left a seedy night club hours before he was to be married.
In both cases, the hope is the renaming of the streets will help the communities heal. Such street renamings have become commonplace in Queens. In Forest Hills, the renaming will serve as a reminder of the value of public service. In Jamaica, the renaming will serve as a reminder of the need for better relations between the community and police.
We are of two minds about street renamings. Sadly, it normally is not long before people forget who the person was and why a street was named after him or her. And the renamings sometime create confusion because the street now has two names.
On the other hand, it is a small gesture that does not cost much. If the renaming of a street brings a measure of comfort to the community, it is worth the effort.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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