Spend 20 years on Long Island radio and you too might have a street named after you — except that there is, admittedly, a little something different about this particular street and this name.
John Parise — JP of WBAB's long-running morning show which he co-hosts with Roger Luce — will have a "portion" of West 15th St., the Deer Park street where he grew up, renamed "John 'JP' Parise Way" during a 1:30 p.m. ceremony on Saturday.
The ceremony will take place on the corner of West 15th and Oakland Avenue.
"It means everything to me," said Parise by phone Thursday. "It's the street where anybody who knows me knows is where I came from. It molded me and without those people and that atmosphere and that area, I'm not me. I don't have the personality to get to do what I do. All the stories I tell on the air either come from the families or friends or from situations growing up there. "
Deer Park, he added, "is a very special place, man. Never seen a community like this. It has an us-against-the-world vibe, and when we're together, we can break each other's [chops] but don't you dare have an outsider come in and break them."
“I’ve known and have been listening to JP for a very long time,” said Babylon supervisor Rich Schaffer, in a statement. “WBAB has always been a great neighbor and partner of the Town of Babylon, and I’m looking forward to celebrating the success of one of our own. JP is a great example for many young people in our town to follow."
Schaffer had announced the honor during a recent appearance on "Roger and JP," but his intent seemed tongue-in-cheek. (A new bathroom facility at Tanner Park in Amity Harbor would be dedicated to both, Schaffer said.)
The street naming was a different matter. Parise says that when he heard of the honor "I chased Richie down and said 'you can't do this' [because] anybody in Deer Park who's had that honor died running into burning buildings."
In 2012, for example, Steve Coakley Drive in Deer Park was named in honor of Coakley, 36, a member of FDNY's Engine 217 who died in the South Tower on 9/11. Babylon renamed a part of Long Island Avenue in honor of Deer Park resident John Vigiano, who retired in 1998 and died of cancer in July 2018. The former FDNY captain lost both sons on 9/11.
Parise said Thursday he reached out to the family of Dep. Chief Raymond Downey who died on 9/11 while commanding the FDNY's rescue units. Downey's family, also of Deer Park, gave the street renaming its blessing, Parise said. A town spokesman said such street name honors are typically for firefighters, police officers and first responders, "there have been ones for notable musicians or ministers or someone who has served the community for a long time."