The Town of North Hempstead has renamed a portion of Hempstead Harbor in Port Washington for May Newburger, a former town supervisor and Democratic state assemblywoman who died earlier this year, while U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said he would continue his efforts to rename the cove at the federal level.
The town board voted unanimously at its meeting this past week to name a cove southwest of the North Hempstead Beach boat ramp on Hempstead Harbor as May Newburger Cove. Newburger, of Great Neck, died on Aug. 30 at 92.
While the name change will appear on town maps and records, it won’t appear on U.S. navigation charts without federal legislation.
Before Newburger’s death, town officials and Schumer, a Democrat, had announced in early August a joint effort to officially rename the cove for Newburger. Schumer had petitioned the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to make the name change official on U.S. navigation charts, despite the board’s policy of not naming features after living people, and requiring a waiting period of five years after an individual's death.
Lou Yost, executive secretary of the board, said the agency’s staff brought the senator’s request for an exception to the board last month, but it was declined.
“This is a purely bureaucratic and wrongheaded decision that unnecessarily slows down the appropriate honoring of a true pioneer and one of Long Island’s greatest political leaders,” Schumer said in a statement issued Thursday. “There is nothing in the law that says the cove couldn’t be named after May, but it appears Congress will have to force the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to act.”
He said he plans to introduce legislation naming the cove after Newburger once the Senate returns to session.