The Interboro Parkway, 5 twisting miles that often require major league reflexes from drivers, will be renamed for baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, officials said yesterday.
The change is expected to be made official by Monday — the eve of a Shea Stadium celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the day the Brooklyn Dodger great broke baseball’s color barrier.
New 6-by-8-foot signs will name the route Jackie Robinson Parkway.
“We want to do it in time for the game on Tuesday night, so that when people go to that game they can travel on the Jackie Robinson Parkway,” said Mayor Giuliani, who asked state lawmakers and Gov. Pataki to make the change.
“It’s appropriate that we are naming a parkway for him because Jackie Robinson paved the way for all of the African-American ballplayers that came after him,” said Giuliani.
Charles Cesaretti, executive vice president of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, called the renaming “a marvelous way . . . to not only remember Jackie Robinson the man, but also a man who contributed a great deal to the City of New York.”
Word of the renaming came as former Robinson teammate Don Newcombe said the Dodger great should have a national holiday named in his honor. “Why hasn’t the government honored him the way it should?” the former pitcher asked.
Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947 and sparked Dodger teams that won six pennants and one World Series before he retired after the 1956 season.
The parkway being renamed in his honor winds from Jamaica Ave. in Brooklyn — a long fly ball from the site of the old Ebbets Field, where Robinson starred — to Kew Gardens in Queens, not far from Shea Stadium.
Fittingly, the tree-lined road that was first opened in 1935 even passes by Cypress Hills Cemetery in Queens, the site of Robinson’s grave.
Like Robinson, who was a terror on the basepaths to opposing teams, the Interboro has had a reputation as dangerous for drivers because of its narrow lanes and hairpin curves. A $43.1 million upgrade in 1989-91 widened the roadway, improved the dividers between lanes and installed other safety features.
“Jackie Robinson was baseball as far as my family was concerned,” said Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (D-Queens), co-sponsor with Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Queens) of the Albany bill needed to approve the name change.
Original Story Date: 041097