Park Slope street to be named after legendary Post columnist Pete Hamill
Every New York team had their own Horace Clarke
How I scored a big laugh from the great Pete Hamill
Pete Hamill was a legend, hero and friend
He was a Brooklyn boy and sheetmetal worker turned war correspondent and then flagship columnist who dated Jackie Onassis, edited both of the Big Apple’s tabloids and wrote nearly a dozen books.
And now, the bit of street fronting what was once a Park Slope tenement in which Pete Hamill grew up bears the name of the recently-passed New York literary icon.
“Now, he’s finally come home with this Pete Hamill Way,” his widow, Fukiko Aoki, told the crowd of Brooklyn luminaries and veterans of the city’s newspapers, who turned out to watch the honor.
“He never forgot where he came from,” she added. “What a wonderful gift for Pete.”
The bold-faced names assembled for the renaming of 7th Avenue between 11th and 12 streets included Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Councilman Brad Lander, Assemblyman Bobby Carroll and former Congressman Pete King (R-Long Island).
The move to rename the stretch began after Hamill passed away in August.
“Pete Hamill never, ever forgot where he came from,” said Pete’s brother, Denis Hamill, who was also a longtime New York newspaper columnist. “This street was always the ground zero for all of Pete’s work.”
Hamill’s signature writing style narrated the biggest stories in the world for the readers of New York’s newspapers and magazines for decades — as he served as a columnist for The Post, The Daily News and the now-deceased Village Voice and New York Newsday.
He was sent to cover wars in Vietnam and Northern Ireland, where his parents immigrated to New York from to escape the sectarian violence there, brother Denis Hamill told the crowd.
The columnist befriended Bobby Kennedy and was present in the Ambassador Hotel ballroom when the lawmaker and presidential hopeful was gunned down in 1968.
Hamill’s dating life made headlines, too, in the 1970s as he squired around both Onassis and actress Shirley McLaine.
The longtime writer — who cranked out more than a dozen books — also served as both the editor of The Post and The News at times during the 1990s.
He took over The Post shortly before it fell into the hands of developer Abe Hirschfeld, who talked of turning the newspaper’s then-South Street building into a parking lot and ordered mass layoffs, including that of Hamill.
Hamill refused to leave and moved his office to a nearby diner where he edited a famed edition dedicated almost entirely to mocking Hirschfeld — and returned to the newsroom the next day triumphant.
A judge later ordered the hated Hirshfeld to keep Hamill on staff and a campaign began to rescue The Post from his ownership, which led to media mogul Rupert Murdoch repurchasing and breathing life back into the paper.
Hamill’s short-but-celebrated tenure at The News came to an end in 1997 after he repeatedly clashed with its then-owner, Mort Zuckerman, over his order to tone down its celebrity coverage in favor of giving more space to city news.
“Pete’s love of writing and exploration led him to live all over the world, but his North Star always guided him back to the place of his beginnings — Brooklyn,” said Denis Hamill. “He was our trail blazer.”
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