Two icons of the Astoria community were honored during street co-naming ceremonies this past weekend.
State Senator Michael Gianaris recognized Lieutenant Edith Elida Torres, an FDNY member who responded to the attacks of September 11, and Luke Gasparre, an army veteran who was a beloved long-serving usher for the New York Mets.
Torres was memorialized at the intersection of 34th Avenue and 21st Street, while Luke Gasparre will be forever remembered at the intersection of 25th Avenue and 43rd Street.
“One of the things that makes Western Queens so special is the people who dedicate their lives to service and enrich our neighborhoods with their lives,” said Gianaris.
Torres, a 23-year FDNY paramedic veteran rushed to the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2001, where she worked the debris pile and rescued survivors.
She worked out of Battalion 49 in Astoria and was then promoted to lieutenant in 2005. She began her career as a volunteer EMT at age 20 with the Jackson Heights-Elmhurst Volunteer Ambulance Corps. She passed away from a-9/11 related illness in 2017.
“Off-duty on 9/11, she responded, and spent many hours at the site, working to provide medical care that day and for countless days afterward,” said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “It is that selfless work that led to the illness that claimed her life.”
Gasparre, a member of the Army who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, was a longtime employee of the United States Postal Service and among the longest-serving ushers in the history of the New York Mets organization, serving since 1964 until his passing in February 2020.
Gianaris inducted Gasparre into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame in 2016.
“My dad has taught us that to be kind was better than to be cruel, he taught us that to have an open heart was better than a closed heart,” said Roseanna Gasparre. “There is a saying when someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. He truly was a treasure to each of us in his own special way.”