If you’ve ever wanted to see a Kerrigan and Harding reunion, take a trip to Copiague. If you visit during the winter, you may even get to see them on ice.
Of course, you won’t actually find figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, but you will find their namesake streets.
In a municipal coincidence of Olympic proportions, Harding Road meets Kerrigan Road at the northern edge of Tanner Park.
Harding Road is likely named for President Warren G. Harding, not figure skater Tonya Harding. Kerrigan Road’s origins are unknown.
Both streets were named back when the neighborhood, known as Amity Harbor, was developed in 1925, said Mary Cascone, Town of Babylon historian — a solid 70 years before Olympic skaters Harding and Kerrigan were front-page news.
“In Amity Harbor, there are also streets named Coolidge Avenue and Dawes Avenue — Calvin Coolidge succeeded President Harding and Charles G. Dawes served as Coolidge’s vice president — so that may have been the inspiration,” Cascone said.
Jerry O’Neill, who has been a Realtor in the area since the 1970s, and who owns an original map of the neighborhood from 1925, said both Kerrigan and Harding roads were on the map back then.
But the figure skating coincidence hasn’t gone unnoticed. “It was some time after the incident,” O’Neill said, but he remembers it coming up a few times with clients.
Some fans have been more enthusiastic — thieves stole the signs marking the street corner on several occasions in 1994, according to news reports at the time, when the famous rivalry between the skaters reached its peak.
Just before the 1994 Winter Olympics, Kerrigan was clubbed in the leg by an assailant in a failed plot to keep her out of the games. Harding’s ex-husband and his associates were implicated in the crime and Harding later pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution, was stripped of her medals and banned from figure skating for life.
Since then, pop culture has never quite lost interest.
There’s ESPN’s 2014 “30 for 30” documentary “The Price of Gold,” which chronicles the saga through media reports and Harding’s own telling.
There’s a New Zealand-based Tonya Harding fan club and a museum in Brooklyn — The Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum.
And 2017 saw the release of a viral song from singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens called “Tonya Harding,” and the film “I, Tonya,” which is up for three Oscars at the Academy Awards on March 4.
Kerrigan, now a skating coach, has her own legion of devoted fans, who flock to figure skating events just to see her.
The recent Harding-Kerrigan press hasn’t brought the same fanfare to the accidental tribute in Copiague as it did in the past. Nonetheless, the neighborhood quirk is embraced by some who live there.
Tom Murphy, 76, has lived one house down from the intersection for 49 years. In 1994, he hung a pair of his daughter’s ice skates on the street signs and took pictures. He hasn’t seen “I, Tonya,” but began searching for his old photo after hearing about the film this winter.
“It came out really nice — I had a club hanging, too,” he said.