Over the next couple weeks, the venerable Loeser’s Kosher Deli is looking to make one final mark on the community — it wants to ceremonially rename the northern part of West 231st Street in Kingsbridge after the business.
There’s no doubt how much the community loves Loeser’s. It’s clearly evidenced by the fact it’s been there since the start of the Kennedy administration.
But street renamings, like the one recently for community leader Andrew Sandler, are typically reserved for people who made an impact in the community, and who are no longer with us.
Naming a street after a business? Some might ask what’s next? Will Target want a new sign for West 225th Street?
Those are valid concerns, because how do you separate advertising from bestowing an honor?
The answer, however, is simple. Set the bar really high. And can there really be a higher bar than what Loeser’s Deli has already put in place?
No, the deli is not the oldest business in our community. When Fredy Loeser first opened his doors, The Riverdale Press already was a decade old.
And while there is no doubt the many contributions this newspaper has made to the community, there is a key difference between The Press and Loeser’s: David Stein, may he rest in peace, is not still running this paper. And hasn’t for decades.
Fredy Loeser, on the other hand, has. For nearly 60 years, Fredy has been behind the counter making his famous pastrami and matzo ball soup. And when he’s not serving up great eats, he’s fought for that part of Kingsbridge — a neighborhood often overlook despite the traffic that goes through there.
Whenever businesses needed support, Fredy was there. Heck, even his main rival deli supports the street renaming, according to his daughters.
No one wants to set a precedent, but one will be set here. It’s unavoidable.
But this is a good precedent. If any other community mom and pops feel they’re worthy, then meet the high bar Loeser’s has set, and you’ll get support, too.
Loeser’s isn’t alone, but it’s a small club — and it’s a club that deserves recognition.