“Today we are standing to honor Benjamin Fried and his entire family,” Vallone said. “The overwhelming presence and support from the community in joining us today is a testament of the impact and influence Ben had on our neighborhood.”
Vallone was joined by Borough President Melinda Katz and other elected officials to rename 43rd Avenue “Benjamin Fried Boulevard.” Fried’s son Jack, who serves as the president of the 111th Precinct Community Council, was proud to see his father’s legacy will live on in Bayside.
“My father was a very staunch worker to make Bell Boulevard and Bayside a very viable community,” he said. “He has been an active member of the community for about 35-40 years, and he was a big businessman in the community for about 67 years.”
Benjamin Fried opened Benn’s Bargain Store, later renamed to Benn’s Hardware, in 1933 at the corner of 43rd Avenue and Bell Boulevard. Among his many accomplishments that helped boost Bayside were his founding of the Bell Boulevard Merchant’s Association and his establishment of the Annual Children’s Holiday Parade.
He was also actively involved in the fight to reopen Engine Company 306 in the 1970s.
“Ben’s dedication to the quality of life in our neighborhood was unparalleled,” said Assemblyman Ed Braunstein. “[He] is truly deserving of this honor.”