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Elmhurst avenue renamed after late crossing guard

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"She has left us and now took a new job: crossing guard for the children in heaven," she said.More than 100 people attended the ceremonial renaming of Calamus Avenue at Grand Avenue "Genevieve 'Jean' Albetta Way," in honor of the woman who helped schoolchildren from St. Adalbert Catholic School, at 52-17 83rd St., cross that intersection for 11 years.City Councilwoman Melinda Katz presided over the June 3 unveiling, held just over a year after Albetta's death May 29, 2004, at the age of 74. She called the honoree, who worked until the day before she died, "an ambassador of goodwill."Katz said that Albetta, who was born in Hempstead, L.I., lived in several orphanages as a child. Following a 22-year career with TWA, she became a crossing guard only blocks from her Elmhurst home and was also shop steward for District Council 37.The late-morning ceremony began with music. A bag piper played for the assembling crowd and Aprile Millo, a friend of Albetta and singer from the Metropolitan Opera, followed him with God Bless America.Members of Ladder Co. 136, Engine Co. 287, the 110th Police Precinct, over a dozen crossing guards and twice that many students from St. Adalbert joined local merchants and family members at the event.Florence Mulhere, one of Albetta's daughters, spoke during the ceremony and said that it was an honor to have the Police and Fire departments at the event.Addressing the students standing in their uniforms before her, she said "my mother played a big role in [your] lives and you played a big part in her life. Now her name will always be here, looking over you."The ceremony concluded with Katz pulling a cord that removed the paper covering the spotless bright-green street sign, affixed just below the official street name, Calamus Avenue.The family was also given a replica of the street sign. Michael Albetta, son of the honoree, credited a local businesswoman with spearheading the process. Raquel Silva, owner of New Image Salon at 83-07 Grand Ave., said of the elderly crossing guard that "she went beyond, she went a step further," and for that she deserved the community's recognition.Silva said that within a month of Albetta's death she began working with other residents, merchants and parents at St. Adalbert to collect over 150 signatures in support of the street renaming. She described the process as a "maze."Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the law creating this and several dozen other honorary street names on May 9.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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