I noticed some time ago that Sterling Place between Sixth and Seventh had been renamed in honor of Ed Rogowsky, but I never investigated, possibly because I liked the mystery of it. Maybe he was a hero of the 1960 plane crash on this corner? Or some champion of a noble cause? My curiosity finally got the best of me after writing yesterday’s post, and a Google search revealed that this was a guy who really loved his city.
Edward T. Rogowsky was born in Brooklyn on September 15, 1940. He took an interest in urban studies and city planning while studying at Brooklyn College, and in 1968 he joined their faculty as a political science professor. He devoted his life to civic affairs and the public interest, and founded the college’s Graduate Center for Worker Education and directed the CUNY Internship Program in Government and Politics, since renamed in his honor.
In 1990, he was appointed to the 13-member New York City Planning Commission, and used his influence to champion pro-union and pro-gay rights causes (he was one of the first openly gay city planners). He was instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Brooklyn and MetroTech, and wrote many books and articles about New York politics and economics. He joined CUNY-TV in 1992 as city editor and host of MetroView, the school’s weekly public affairs program. He founded the Flatbush Development Corporation, directed Brooklyn’s office of Community Boards, and was a member of CB 14. He also had scores of friends and was an accomplished lyricist.
He died suddenly on March 18, 2001 at age 60, and four months later the new street sign was dedicated by Mayor Giuliani. Not sure why this stretch of Sterling Place was chosen (possibly he lived on the block), but just look at that list of accomplishments! If ever someone was worthy of a street, it was this man. Heck, he’s worthy of an avenue.