Downtown Far Rockaway Street Renamed To Honor The Late Manny Fiallo, Jr.
When people pass away, their absence is felt by their loved ones. When heroes like Manny Fiallo pass, their absence is felt by entire communities. For the past year, the Rockaway community has mourned the loss of a giant, but thanks to Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), he will be memorialized in the neighborhood he loved. Last month, the corner of 22nd Street and Mott Avenue was dedicated to Fiallo and will now be known as Manuel “Manny” Fiallo Jr. Way. Councilman Richards proposed the street renaming soon after Fiallo’s death last spring in honor of Fiallo’s close work with the councilman on many Far Rockaway initiatives.
Manuel “Manny” Fiallo Jr. passed away on May 2, 2017 from a rare blood disease called Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP). As a strong opponent of street violence, Manny spent the last decade of his life making Far Rockaway a safer place. His impact on the Rockaway community was and remains tangible. In 2007, after the murder of promising Far Rockaway hip hop artist Stack Bundles, Manny dedicated his life to improving his community. He founded the annual Stack Bundles Stop The Violence Basketball Tournament, which brings young residents together every summer for a season of safe athletics and fun. The success of the tournament is a testament to Fiallo’s herculean effort. The tournament also created opportunities for local residents to get access to resources such as college and career readiness programs.
In addition to his work with the basketball tournament, Manny wore several hats in the community. He worked with several community-based organizations including the 101st Precinct Community Council and Child Center of NY and was a parent coordinator at the NYC Department of Education. But more so, he was a beloved father, son, and friend to many. Councilman Richards said, “Those of us who spent a lot of time with Manny, we know that he never looked for accolades, he never looked for his picture in the paper. He did what was right for this community because he wanted to do what was right.”
Many people also recognized that part of Manny Fiallo’s success was due to his commitment to his cause. He never stopped being an advocate for justice. During the street renaming ceremony, Yolanda Fiallo, wife of the late Manuel “Manny” Fiallo Jr. said, “He loved what he did. It was not a nine-to-five job. It was a 24-hour, seven day a week run. He gave his blood, sweat and tears. His goal was to make a better Far Rockaway community for everyone.”
Manny’s commitment to justice serves as an example to the rest of the community. Councilman Richards spoke to the crowd about the need for people like Manny to help bridge the gap between public servants, like police officers, and residents. He said, “I don’t think people realize how important that is. The police have a job to do, day in and day out. To keep this community safe. But they can’t do it alone. When you look at many of the initiatives that were put in place in this community, from the Stack Bundles Basketball Tournament to his Stop the Violence women’s league and his efforts during Thanksgiving, these were all things that he put in place. He gave his heart, his soul and, quite frankly, his life. He looked out for everyone here while never looking out for himself. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.”
While Manny is no longer walking down the streets of Far Rockaway, this community will be forevermore touched by the love he had for this neighborhood. And even though he’s gone, his legacy continues. Last year, the Rockaway peninsula had its lowest amount of shootings on record ever. It just goes to show that one man’s life mission can go on, even after death. As you walk near the corner of 22nd Street and Mott Avenue, be sure to look up and say “thanks” to our hometown hero.