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Long IslandHistory

From the archives: Nixon Drive, a street by any other name

Richard M. Nixon, the 37th President of the

Richard M. Nixon, the 37th President of the United States in an undated file photo. Photo Credit: Associated Press

Plainview - This story was originally published in Newsday on August 9, 1974

An 11-year-old resident of Nixon Drive, believed to be the only street in Nassau County named after Richard M. Nixon, said he would write to Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John W. Burke today asking that the street's name be changed. But most of the man's neighbors said last night that they opposed such a change.

"I'm not too proud of it," said George Gemming, 50, who works for a Manhattan communications firm. "Nixon's done the country a lot of harm, both here and overseas. I don't think the name of Nixon's going to be very popular in American history. I'm going to recommend the name be changed to Willow Drive."

A long-time resident of the street, Anthony Napolitano, 66, said that its name had been changed from Willow Drive to Nixon Drive in 1953, shortly after a development of about a dozen Cape Cod homes opened and after Nixon became vice president.

"I would like it to be changed," Napolitano said. "I'm a Democrat. Right along, we've been getting jokes about it."

Gemming said a cousin mailed him a letter with the address "17 Watergate Dr., Plainview," on it recently, "and I got it. Our postmen were wise to the job."

Other neighbors, who said they had lived on the street for from 10 to 21 years, said they saw no benefit in changing the name.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Eugene Glenning, 47. "But to each his own. If we change the name, does that make the people here any better?" Alison Granlund, 19, a nursing student at Adelphi whose parents have lived on the street for 20 years, said the name "doesn't bother me. Sometimes I'll get a remark of -??Oh, wow. . . Nixon Drive.' But I don't think it should be changed."

Ronald Cronk, a 16-year resident of Nixon Drive, said he opposed a name change, although several friends suggested a change to "Impeachment Drive, or Tricky-Dick Lane." He said, "That would just make it harder for people to find the place."

Betty Sciarini, who said she had lived on the street for 21 years, said, "You're damn right I do," when asked if she felt proud to live on Nixon Drive. "There's not one of us that's not done something we aren't proud of," she said. "My heart is heavy tonight, let me tell you. For him, and for all of us."

Editor's note: Nixon Drive in Plainview retains its name to this day.


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