by Kevin Walsh

A pleasant plaza is encountered at Gold and Fulton Streets, where Fulton takes a slight jog near the Seaport area. There are large rocks, pleasant vegetation, and a winding path. Perfect for a rest stop if you have been legging it around for awhile. It’s named for a guy who stunk up the city for nine days in 1968.

John DeLury Square was formed in 2010 when the city made some alterations to the intersection, brought in some large rocks and converted an already-existing public plaza to what you see today. The plaza was formed when preexisting buildings and streets were paved over and eliminated to create the affordable housing called the Southbridge Towers between 1961 and 1971.

The United Sanitationmen’s Association’ union headquarters are around the corner on a surviving section of Cliff Street and in 1968 the Sanitation Workers struck when negotiations for better pay and conditions broke down, creating the second serious strike during the John V. Lindsey administration. The day he took office in 1966, the transit workers closed down the subways and buses for twelve days. Conditions in the streets got so bad that Governor Rockefeller threatened to have the National Guard pick up trash, which prompted other unions to threaten to strike in solidarity. Eventually of course a settlement was negotiated. John De Lury was the longtime union head, from 1956 to 1978.

And thus, a pleasant oasis was named for a guy who helped stink up the town in 1968. The Sanitation Workers, of course, whom DeLury was responsible for a name change from “garbagemen” of course, revere the name.

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therealguyfaux February 24, 2022 - 5:55 pm

“The day [Lindsay] took office in 1966, the transit workers closed down the subways and buses for twelve days….”

…and the man who led THAT strike has a corner named after HIM. Michael Quill has the intersection of West 240th Street, Broadway, and Van Cortlandt Park South named for HIM. It’s a traffic island, with a small park called “Van Cortlandt’s Tail” across the street from it. The reason he gets THIS corner named for him is (A) it’s where the entrance to the yard for the 1-Train is located and (B) it’s next to Gaelic Park, where Irish sports like Gaelic footy and hurling are played. Those of us of a certain age will remember Quill’s brogue, which made that of Barry Fitzgerald sound almost British by comparison. That corner has “transit” and “Irish” well-covered.

Reply February 25, 2022 - 4:16 pm

One minor correction – the official name of Mr. DeLury”s union is Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, It is also Teamsters Union Local 831. Website:


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