The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

“St. John’s Way” Unveiled at Corner of Union Turnpike and Utopia Parkway

The move, approved by the New York City Council, was years in the making.
PICTURED: (from left to right) SGi President Ethan Burrell, Joseph Sciame, President Bryan Shanley, Councilmember James Gennaro and Brian Browne with the new signage.
TORCH PHOTO / Olivia Seaman

The southwest corner of Utopia Parkway and Union Turnpike now bears a new name: “St. John’s Way.” The cross streets connect the St. John’s University campus to nearby businesses, such as Aquista Trattoria, Coldstone Creamery and TJ Maxx. 

Members of the University’s community — including students and administrators — gathered Monday, May 3 for the co-naming ceremony. The sign was originally scheduled to display in 2020 but experienced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and special council elections. 

Councilmember James F. Gennaro and the New York City Council approved the new signage and attended the ceremony. Gennaro won a special election for his seat in 2021, after previously serving in the same position from 2002-2013. He has personal connections to the University, as his brother studied at the University and his late wife Joanne worked in the alumni department. 

The bill was approved Dec.15, 2021 and included the co-naming of 199 streets and public places. Council members made requests for co-named streets within the district they serve — New York’s 24th district, which Gennaro represents, includes the St. John’s University campus. The bill included other names of people and organizations that have had an impact on New York City’s economic, cultural and political development. 

“This renaming pays homage to the enduring legacy of this 152 year-old Catholic Vincentian University and law school that has been a beacon to people of all faiths who strive to use their talents along lines of excellence,” Gennaro said at the event. 

TORCH PHOTO / Olivia Seaman

The ceremony was complete with a bagpipes performance, a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) procession and the cheer and dance teams who encouraged the theme of spirit and the “St. John’s way.”

“‘St. John’s Way,’ refers obviously to St. John’s, but also to the spirit of St. John’s. There is a St. John’s way, there is a way that we do things. It is a way predicated upon the original example of St. Vincent DePaul,” said University president Brian Shanley at the co-naming. “The Vincentians answered the call to come here to serve first generation Catholic students. And we have been faithful to that mission for over 150 years.” 

Throughout the ceremony, speakers Vice President of Government Relations Brian Browne, Chair of the Theology and Religious Studies Department Rev. Patrick Flanagan, Vice President of Community Relations Joseph Sciame and other University representatives spoke to the significance of the street naming for the St. John’s community. 

“Our community is what makes us so unique; the different backgrounds and walks of life that we come from bring a diverse amount of perspectives and combinations of brilliant ideas,” stated Ethan Burrell, the president of Student Government, Inc. at the University. “I’ll be glad to visit my alma mater when I graduate and look at the sign as a representation of excellence in the St. John’s and Queens community.” 

The overwhelming support of bystanders was a visible sign of how the University is a staple of the local community.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Seaman, Managing Editor
Olivia is a junior journalism student serving her second year as Managing Editor. Outside of The Torch, she is a student ambassador and an Undergraduate Writing Consultant at the University Writing Center. You can find her with a matcha latte in hand, listening to SZA and watching St. John's basketball. Olivia can be reached at [email protected]

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