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Corner bears name of LIC leader

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (r.) presents the commemorative sign to Bishop Mitchell Taylor, the son of Bishop Moses Taylor. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

The unveiling of “Bishop Moses Taylor Way” in Queensbridge Sunday served not only as an honor to the memory of a neighborhood religious and community leader, but also his legacy.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Moses Taylor’s son, hosted the renaming of 40th Avenue and 13th Street to coincide with the second anniversary of the nonprofit East River Development Alliance’s federal credit union.

Mitchell Taylor, who founded ERDA to help public housing residents in western Queens help themselves through a series of programs and services, said the creation of the credit union was based on one of his father’s sayings.

“He said you’ll never be able to sustain change until you have your own bank,” Mitchell Taylor said. “When you have the money in the bank, you rent the space. When you have your money in the federal credit union — or, as I like to call it, financial cooperative — you own the space.”

Moses Taylor, born in 1924, came to the Queensbridge Houses/Long Island City community in 1961. He joined a women’s prayer meeting and hoped to build a church, but later the Democratic club gave him the keys to a building at 12-11 40th Ave. for what would become Center of Hope International Church.

He paid off the building within 25 years and served the public housing residents through his church.

“We will never, ever forget Bishop Moses Taylor and all that he brought to this community,” Van Bramer said.

Moses Taylor died in 2004.

ERDA’s credit union accepts small savings deposits, charges lower fees and is more flexible with its loans, making it ideal for public housing residents.

Van Bramer had co-sponsored the bill to co-name the corner, which is not far from the church Moses Taylor founded.

“That is one of the most proud moments in my career,” Van Bramer told those assembled for the unveiling Sunday.

The co-naming ceremony was unlike many in the borough. A section of 40th Avenue was closed for a party with food, music, inflatable castles and basketball hoops for children. Before unveiling the sign, Mitchell Taylor led singers in his father’s favorite songs.

Yet the most unusual aspect of the unveiling may have been that the paper to cover the sign easily came off when the string was pulled. In most unveilings, the string detaches from the paper, usually requiring a brave soul to climb up the street marker pole or up a ladder to liberate the sign.

“You know that God is here today because that came off right away,” Van Bramer said.

The councilman said he had allocated $2 million to Queensbridge Houses and $500,000 to ERDA in his time on the Council.

Public housing resident Mayra Lucero said through a Spanish translator that ERDA’s credit union has helped her better manage her finances and save money that could be lost in fees to cash out her checks.

“ERDA means everything in my life,” she said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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