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Pelham Parkway Residents Seek Library Name Change

Pelham Parkway residents are hoping to have the name of their local library changed soon.

The Van Nest Library, formally located on 707 Rhinelander Avenue between Hunt Avenue and White Plains Road, moved to its current location on 2147 Barnes Avenue off of Pelham Parkway South in 1967.

It was not until this summer that local residents wondered why the name of the New York Public Library branch remained the Van Nest Library. Community Board 11 members Edith Blitzer and Joe Bombace came up with what they feel is a simple solution: change the name of the branch to the Pelham Parkway Library.

After presenting the idea to CB 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke, the CB’s executive board voted unanimously to support the name change, and Warneke is currently exploring the next steps to bring this to fruition..

“It’s certainly a start,” Bombace said. “Personally, it’s a no-brainer. The branch has not been in the Van Nest community in over 40 years. It’s in Pelham Parkway, so it should be Pelham Parkway’s library.”

Blitzer, a lifelong Pelham Parkway resident and president of the Pelham Parkway South Community Association, said she is all in favor of the name change. The PPSCA members also voted to unanimously to support the change.

With the opening of the Morris Park Library in 2006, Bombace said Van Nest and Morris Park residents had a local library again. Prior to that, he recalled the closest library serving Morris Park was the Parkchester Library on 1985 Westchester Avenue.

“I was 17 years old when the Van Nest Library moved and all I can remember was it being so far away,” Bombace said. “It’s almost as if we can let go of the name Van Nest Library after all this time. We all agree that it’s been part of Pelham Parkway long enough to bear the name of the community that it is located in.”

CB 11 will vote on a name change at their next full board meeting on Thursday, September 22. If the board votes in favor of the change, Warneke will forward the request to the New York Public Library.

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