Ridgewood street renamed for ‘quiet hero’

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Doreen Angrisani was not a firefighter, police officer or paramedic.

But the unassuming 44-year-old secretary who loved the Mets and Melissa Etheridge died just the same on Sept. 11, 2001. And so in a neighborhood where countless streets now bear the names of fallen Bravest and Finest, Madison Street in Ridgewood was renamed Sunday for the woman described by her family as "our quiet hero."

"She was a good-hearted, open-hearted person," said her sister Gina Giovanniello. "She helped me raise my children."

Angrisani was born in Middle Village and for the past 16 years lived with her sister, her sister's husband, Frank, and the couple's two children, Paul and Maria, in an apartment just down the block from the corner of Madison Street and Fresh Pond Road, where the ceremony was held.

Relatives said she enjoyed rock-'n'-roll and often filled the apartment with music. She also loved to argue baseball with Frank Giovanniello, a Yankees fan.

"Oh, what a war we used to have," he recalled.

Her brother Ralph said "she got a real kick" out of the 2000 World Series, even though her beloved Mets fell to the Yankees in five games.

He added that the family enjoyed debating politics with Doreen, whose allegiances were slightly more liberal than those of her brother and sister.

Angrisani was a secretarial supervisor at Marsh & McLennon, an insurance and financial services firm with offices on the 98th floor of Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.

A co-worker, Rita Smaniotto, said Angrisani often came in to work earlier than she was required to - as was the case on the day she died nearly two years ago.

Angrisani's nephew, Paul, was at his very first full day at Stuyvesant High School in Lower Manhattan on that day. He remembered being called from his free period back to homeroom to be told of the emergency, then watching the towers burn from the school's windows.

He knew his Aunt Doreen worked in one of the towers, but was not sure which one until his worst fears were confirmed hours later, after he walked across the Brooklyn Bridge toward home.

Councilman Dennis Gallagher (R-Middle Village) said that Angrisani, one of 87 people from Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale and Ridgewood killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, should serve to remind people that heroes do not always wear badges or uniforms.

"It's nice to know that for years to come as we are walking along Fresh Pond Road ... people are going to realize that someone very special lived right here on this block," he said. "Someone who was what I call an 'everyday hero,' working to make sure that other people have a better life."

Angrisani's mother, Irene, said the street sign with the words "Doreen J. Angrisani Street" would be a bittersweet reminder of a tragedy she still has trouble believing.

"Every time we'll have to look up and see it," she said. "But we're proud."

Reach reporter Alex Ginsberg by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

Updated 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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