Volume 16 • Issue 41 | March 12 - 18, 2004



Committee backs street name for Tribeca brothers

By Elizabeth O’Brien

In a reversal of its earlier position on naming streets after 9/11 victims, a Community Board 1 committee voted to co-name the northeast corner of Beach St. for two Tribeca brothers who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Mark and Stephen Colaio, third-generation Downtowners, worked together at Cantor Fitzgerald and lived close to one another in Tribeca. Their sister, Jean Colaio Steinbach, and Mark’s wife, June, appeared before the board on March 4 to request that a street corner where Mark lived at 260 W. Broadway be co-named “Colaio Way.”

The board received the Colaio’s appeal last fall but decided to postpone any decisions on co-naming streets until the design for the World Trade Center memorial had been announced. Members felt it was time to revisit their position, since Michael Arad’s “Reflecting Absence” has been named the winning design.

Co-naming the street for Mark, 34, and Stephen, 32, Colaio would be “a way to keep the memory alive in our community,” said Rick Landman, a board member.

The City Council must pass legislation to rename or co-name a street or portions of a street. But the local community board votes on the measures before they go to the council, and lawmakers often uphold community board decisions. C.B. 1’s Tribeca committee voted for the Colaio co-naming and the full board is expected to vote on the resolution March 16.

To date, about 300 victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, or more than 10 percent, have been honored with portions of New York City streets co-named for them, Lupe Todd, a spokesperson for the City Council, said on Friday. Co-namings, where an additional name is placed under the original, are much more common than street renamings like the 1940s switch from Sixth Ave. to Ave. of the Americas.

Some New York City communities, including the Staten Island district represented by City Councilmember Michael McMahon, have decided to automatically approve all street name additions related to Sept. 11 victims.

“Every person who died on that day was a hero — everyone who went to work that day to provide for their families, or the rescue workers who raced in to save people,” McMahon told Downtown Express last October.

But in their discussion last fall, some C.B. 1 members favored supporting Sept. 11-related street changes only when the victim contributed significantly to the neighborhood. Altering street signs within C.B. 1 is different than in parts of the city without physical reminders of the World Trade Center attack, the members felt.

Before the Colaio request, C.B. 1 members approved one 9/11-related name change: they supported the co-naming of N. Moore St. between Varick St. and W. Broadway for Lt. Vincent Halloran, who worked on the block in the Ladder Co. 8 firehouse at 14 N. Moore St.

Recalling the board’s earlier guidelines, Janiece Brown Spitzmueller, a board member, asked June Colaio to describe specifically how her husband served the community.

Colaio responded that Mark was committed to the area and sent his two young children to neighborhood schools. After Sept. 11, 2001, Colaio said, she had opportunities to leave Tribeca but decided to remain with Delaney, now 5, and Joseph, 4.

“I feel very connected to him, staying down here,” Colaio said, her eyes filling with tears.

Colaio also lost her brother, Thomas Pedicini, 30, in the attack on the World Trade Center; Pedicini worked at Cantor Fitzgerald with his brothers-in-law.

“Having heard your presentation, I think every rule is made for exceptions, and I think this is a fitting exception,” said Michael Connolly, a board member.

The room erupted into applause, led by friends and family of Colaio and Steinbach, when board members voted to co-name the northeast corner of Beach St. “Colaio Way.”

Steinbach said the decision meant a lot to her parents, Victor and Mary Colaio of Battery Park City; Steinbach said her father was not well enough to attend the meeting himself.

Several days after the meeting, Steinbach said her parents were touched that the board approved a tribute to their sons: “They were ecstatic.”

Elizabeth@DowntownExpress.com


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