Southern Brooklyn

New ‘Bishop Kearney Way’ leads down memory lane

October 20, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
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“Memories light the corners of my mind…”

The corner of Bay Parkway and 61st Street was renamed “Bishop Kearney Way” on Oct. 16.

Elected officials joined alumnae and faculty at a ceremony at the former site of Bishop Kearney H.S., which closed in 2019.

The all-girls school was named for Raymond Kearney, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn from 1935 until his death in 1956. His niece, Sister Helen Kearney, the former president of the Sisters of St. Joseph, said her uncle believed strongly in education and that the school had a big impact on its students.

Sister Helen Kearney, left, and Mary Ann Liotta.

“Our sisters taught there, and then eventually we took on the sponsorship of this school,” she said. “I think the tradition of excellence, knowledge and using it for the welfare of people really has lived on in the alumni of this school.”

Mary Ann Liotta, class of 1977, came up with the idea of renaming the street and was happy to finally see it happen.

“We had a slight halt during the pandemic,” Liotta said. “We went before the local community board and had an overwhelming agreement from residents and parishioners and we were happy to take on this task due to the closing of the high school, which propelled us to keep the school’s memory alive for future generations to come.”

Former Bishop Kearney H.S. students hold the new sign.

Councilmember Justin Brannan said the school was synonymous with excellence in Catholic education in New York City. 

“It was simply a place where so many young women met friends that they would have forever,” he said. “The great thing about Bishop Kearney is it will live on after we are all gone. As generations pass, the lessons learned from one to the next. In that sense, a great school like Bishop Kearney can never really close.”

The new sign on the corner of Bay Parkway and 61st Street.
The crowd applauds during the ceremony.

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