(UNIONDALE, N.Y.) - Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D - Freeport) thanked his colleagues for voting to approve the creation of a lasting tribute to a pair of dedicated Uniondale community activists.
The full Nassau County Legislature voted unanimously on Monday, March 22 to ceremonially re-name Uniondale Avenue between Nassau Road and Jerusalem Avenue “Catanese Way” in recognition of decades of advocacy by the husband-and-wife team of Ernest and Marie Catanese.
Legislator Abrahams’ proposal is the outgrowth of community requests for a public tribute to the legacy and accomplishments of Marie Catanese, who passed away in 2019, and her husband, Ernest, who continues to reside in the family’s Uniondale home. Steeped in humility, Mr. Catanese is eager to praise his dearly departed partner in life and advocacy.
“This honor is really for my wife, Marie - she was my inspiration and driving force,” he recently said. “We did the work together, but she was the true leader.”
Among their numerous accomplishments, the couple was known for their commitment to preserving the historic Goehner farm stand, protecting the environment, meeting the needs of veterans and fostering community diversity.
In the early 1990s, they launched the community organization Uniondale Neighbors in Total Effort (U.N.I.T.E), and Marie Catanese served as President of the Uniondale Historical Society. They also participated in the creation of Uniondale’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Park, where they volunteered their time to clean the grounds and place a wreath on Dr. King’s memorial bust each year on Dr. King’s birthday.
“Motivated by a can-do attitude and unwavering appreciation for Uniondale’s rich and diverse history, Ernest and Marie Catanese embody the spirit of grassroots community advocacy,” Legislator Abrahams said. “Renaming this stretch of Uniondale Avenue is a fitting tribute to a couple whose tireless efforts truly made the community they loved a better place for all.”