Mary Audrey Gallagher Way
On August 25, 2018, NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) joined Consul General of Ireland in New York, Ciaran Madden, and a host of elected officials, community leaders, LGBTQ activists, and Jackson Heights residents to celebrate the co-naming of 91st Street between Northern Boulevard and 34th Avenue as Mary Audrey Gallagher Way, honoring the life and achievements of Mary Audrey Gallagher.
Mary Audrey Gallagher passed away peacefully on January 4, 2018 after spending time with her loved ones during the holidays.
Born on September 6, 1932, Gallagher graduated from The Mary Louis Academy in Queens with the Character, Loyalty, and Spirit of Study Award, one of the academy’s highest honors. Upon graduating high school, Gallagher attended and graduated from St. John’s University, where she was captain of the school’s cheerleading squad. After leaving a lasting mark on her campus community as a promising prospective instructor, she became a public school teacher. Some years later, Gallagher married Warren Dromm. Her son, NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm, was born soon after. She was also mother to Lori, Marybeth, John, and Joseph.
After opening a nursery school, Gallagher went on to become the director of multiple day care centers in NYC. She was instrumental in unionizing workers and she helped secure pay raises for paraprofessionals. Gallagher’s support of her son, an openly gay man, greatly advanced the rights of the LGBTQ community through his advocacy and by founding the Queens chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), of which Gallagher was an active participant.
Gallagher, along with her son Daniel and PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford, worked to use their voices to fight against bigotry and intolerance in Queens and throughout NYC. Gallagher became a venerable presence in the Queens LGBT community, attending parades, advising the parents of LGBT youth, and wholeheartedly supporting her son in his own endeavors to improve Queens. Having served as PFLAG Queens’ hospitality chairperson, Gallagher believed in the special role that parents of LGBT children play.
Installation Day Ceremony
NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the Council passed legislation to co-name the street after Gallagher (9/6/32 - 1/4/18), an educator, LGBTQ rights activist, and proud Irish American mother who lived in Jackson Heights for many years. Several elected officials and other special guests paid tribute to Gallagher at the ceremony including then-Congressman Joseph Crowley; Irish Consul General Ciaran Madden; NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Senator Jose Peralta (now deceased); Senator Toby Ann Stavisky; Assemblyman Michael DenDekker; and Council Members Francisco Moya, Karen Koslowitz, Barry Grodenchik, Peter Koo, Donovan Richards, and Rory Lancman.
Attendees were treated to traditional Irish music performed by the FDNY Emerald Society Pipe & Drums band and John Maynard. Gallagher's daughter Marybeth Dromm and son Daniel Dromm gave closing remarks. After the speaking portion of the ceremony, the Dromm family and other attendees unveiled the Mary Audrey Gallagher Way street sign on the southeast corner of 91st Street and Northern Boulevard.
About Co-Named Streets
Co-Named Streets, also known as honorary or secondary street names, can be found on hundreds of street signs throughout the five boroughs. Often they are immediately above or below the primary street-name sign. These designations can apply to a portion of a street, an intersection, or a corner. Under Local Law 28 of 1992, honorary street names do not require an alteration to the City Map, which can be a costly legal and bureaucratic procedure. But such names are official. Each name must be authorized in a bill that must be enacted by the City Council and signed by the Mayor. Each approved bill then becomes a "Local Law" (L.L.), which is referenced by year and by a sequential L.L. number within that year. If you have a suggestion for co-naming, contact a city council member.