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Baysiders seek street name change to honor 9/11 hero

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Baysider Michael Mullan, 34, was the modern equivalent of a Renaissance man, according to his mom, Theresa.

A firefighter who served in Manhattan’s Ladder 12, Mullan was a friendly, good-humored man who was a registered nurse, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves at Fort Totten in Bayside and a musician, his mother said.

Mullan also was one of the 343 firefighters killed trying to rescue people during the Sept. 11 attacks. This week his grieving family went to Community Board 11 in Bayside to request that a block of 32nd Road in his Bayside West neighborhood be renamed “Michael Mullan Way” in his honor.

But while the measure received overwhelming support during the Monday night board meeting at MS 158, CB 11 chose to postpone its decision.

The obstacle? Whether or not to rename Jordan Street — a longer, more prominent stretch of road — in Mullan’s honor as opposed to the short block originally suggested.

CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said the board had polled about 30 residences on 32nd Road, getting seven responses. Most of the responses were in favor of the name change, Iannece said.

Because the board has chosen not to meet in July, Iannece said the proposal would have to wait until October for a CB 11 vote.

“I think it will be a fitting tribute,” Iannece said. However, “the board needs time to poll Jordan Street.”

Mullan’s parents, Theresa and Patrick, said they were not opposed to renaming Jordan Street but would have liked the change to be made in time for the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. It was unclear why the couple had originally requested 32nd Road.

CB 11 covers the communities of Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, Hollis Hills and Auburndale. It will hold its next monthly meeting in September.

Former City Councilman Michael Abel (R-Bayside), a longtime resident of Bayside West, said Mullan deserves to be recognized on Jordan Street, where his family has lived for nearly 30 years.

“Michael Mullan is a son of Bayside West,” Abel said. “I don’t think one short block is long enough.”

James Kasprzak, vice commander of the Auburndale American Legion Hall, Post 123, supported the name change.

“We agree that the street, whether it is Jordan Street or 32nd Road, be named for our hero,” Kasprzak told CB 11 members. “It is heartbreaking that we lost such a young hero.”

Mullan was working to rescue people from the Marriott Hotel, between the towers of the World Trade Center, when he and his fellow firefighters heard the call to evacuate the building, Theresa Mullan said.

Michael was about to go when he got a mayday call from a pair of trapped firefighters and volunteered to go back, his mother said.

A graduate of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Mullan graduated from Holy Cross High School in Flushing and in 1992 from Queensborough Community College with an associate’s degree in nursing. Mullan also attended Hunter College and earned a bachelor’s nursing degree in 1999.

Mullan joined the city Fire Department in 1994 and served in the U.S. military from 1985 until his death.

“He patronized the cleaners, the diner,” Theresa Mullan said of her son. “He was just a neighborhood boy. The whole neighborhood saw him grow up.”

City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has agreed to support the name change on either street when the proposal reaches the City Council, which makes final decisions on ceremonial name changes.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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