A stretch of 43rd Street and 48th Avenue in Sunnyside, Queens, received a second name on March 10. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, it became Winged Fist Way, in honor of the Irish American Athletic Club. The I-AAC, whose members were known as The Winged Fists, thrived in Sunnyside at the beginning of the 20th century as one of New York’s first inclusive, multicultural athletic institutions, and a record-setting number of its members brought home medals from the Olympics.
“It is important that we recognize the achievements of this dynamic athletic club which once called Sunnyside and the borough home,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who passed legislation to co-name the street. “Before its members knew it, the I-AAC laid the foundation of what would become the essence of Queens, a multicultural diaspora of people who worked and lived together.” Council Member Van Bramer was joined by Congressman Joe Crowley, Ian McGowan, Executive Director of the Winged Fist Organization, members of the Emerald Society and ancestors of the early-20th-century I-AAC athletes.