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Mayor OKs Bell street rename

Mayor Michael Bloomberg put his signature to a bill Monday renaming dozens of streets in New York City, including the Jamaica street where Sean Bell was killed by police and the Floral Park block where a mother of three died in an accidental gas explosion that destroyed her home.

Liverpool Street between 94th Avenue and 101st Street, where the 23-year-old bridegroom was gunned down in a hail of 50 police bullets three years ago, will now be called “Sean Bell Way.” The bill for the street renaming was passed last week in the City Council despite some opposition from five members who had criticism over Bell’s actions.

The Far Rockaway resident was celebrating his bachelor party at the now-defunct Kalua Cabaret Nov. 25, 2006, which was being investigated by police, and he and his two friends were confronted by undercover officers. The officers thought Bell, Trent Benefield or Joseph Guzman had a gun and they approached the trio in an unmarked police mini-van.

Bell rammed the vehicle with his car, prompting the officers to fire 50 shots, killing the bridegroom and seriously injuring the other men. No weapon was found, and three of the five officers were exonerated in a bench trial.

Bell’s family said the street renaming was meant to have the neighborhood remember the incident and make sure it never happened again.

The bill, which renamed 70 streets in the five boroughs, also paved the way for the Boodram family to remember their matriarch, who perished in an April 24 explosion that destroyed two homes in Floral Park.

Ghanwatti Boodram, a Guyanese immigrant who worked as a nurse, was alone in her home on 260th Street between 80th and 81st avenues, which is now named “Ghanwatti Boodram Way,” when a gas leak on the street ignited and caused the explosion.

During the Council’s hearings last week, her husband Dindial Boodram and three sons said they were devastated by the loss but found comfort knowing community members and elected officials have supported them since the accident.

“I feeling much better that it went though. We got a Christmas gift,” Dindial Boodram said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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