The famed Graham Avenue, a place known for its local community stores and a significant Puerto Rican Community, has been in the news because, its community revolted and fought when city crews removed the sign honoring the area’s Hispanic heritage by taking down the “Graham Av-Av of Puerto Rico” street sign and replacing it with one that read only “Graham Av”.
This has been a controversial topic for a few years, with rumors that gentrifies wanted to play down and eventually erase the area’s Hispanic / Puerto Rican roots by removing the duo-labeled “Graham Av-Av of Puerto Rico” sign hanging over the Moore Street intersection. See live clip of sign going back up again captured by puertoricoselevanta IG account below.
Those fears were reborn in the areas Latino / Puerto Rican community when NYC DOT crews removed the old sign and replaced it with the singularly named sign, “Graham Av”.
“I felt disgusted, I felt hurt, because the Avenue of Puerto Rico has been a part of this community for over 30 years, and now they removed it”! -said a local resident.
A photo of crews changing the sign went viral on social media. It quickly spread among residents, business owners and local leaders.
This fueled the area’s residents to fight back and do something about it. Even Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso stepped in and tweeted that it was a mistake and that the old sign would be returned within a couple of days.
True to his words as within 48 hours the DOT swiftly came back and replaced the sign with what the community fought to get back, the “Graham Av-Av of Puerto Rico” sign.
A shop owner who has owned a Puerto Rican souvenir and goods store in the neighborhood for decades and also organizes the annual Brooklyn Three Kings Day Parade that marches down Graham Avenue, also stated that he was very upset, when he saw the sign being taken down.
“It’s not that we are against them moving into the area, the problem is them moving into the area and pretending to change everything they found.” –the shop owner said.
According to the DOT, overhead street signs usually do not include co-named streets. Those signs are usually reserved for street poles. The Graham Avenue – Avenue of Puerto Rico sign is “an exception to that practice,” and was restored, according to the agency.
“It’s a terrific relief to see the sign up there again,” “We want them to respect us, to keep in mind that we are still here, and it’s very important that the signs are there because it is a way for people to know that the Hispanic community has been and is still around.” -Said the local shop owner.