Queens lawmakers on Thursday, May 19, announced the eventual renaming of the Long Island Expressway (LIE) overpass located at Francis Lewis Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway as “Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge.”
State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic were joined by Tsakos’ wife Irene Tsakos, various units of the New York City Police Department, the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York President Patrick Lynch, and members of the local community for the event at St. Francis Preparatory in Fresh Meadows to memorialize the one-year anniversary of the passing of Tsakos who was killed in the line of duty.
“For more than a decade, Detective Tsakos served our city and helped keep our neighborhoods safe. He was a loving son and father who is survived by his wife and two children,” Stavisky said. “It is fitting that we rename this overpass in his honor. The Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge will not only keep his memory alive but will also serve as a reminder of his heroism and line-of-duty death.”
Rozic said Tsakos served honorably in the NYPD and his tragic, untimely loss has been felt in the hearts of many.
“Today’s gathering to memorialize his heroic life is a clear reflection of the love and respect felt for him, and I am grateful for the opportunity to honor his memory and service to New Yorkers with the renaming of the Fresh Meadows LIE overpass as Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge,” Rozic said.
On April 21, 2021, while responding to a collision that occurred on the LIE to assist with directing traffic, Tsakos was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver. The driver fled the scene but was later apprehended and charged by a Queens grand jury with a 13-count indictment, including aggravated manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter.
Tsakos, from East Northport, had served 13 years with the NYPD as a highway officer assigned to Highway Unit 3. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective. He is survived by his wife, Irene, and their two children.
To honor his memory, the lawmakers have introduced legislation in their respective houses to rename the LIE overpass located at Francis Lewis Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway as “Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge.” The legislation passed the state Senate and is moving through the committee in the Assembly. Once passed and signed into law, the New York State Department of Transportation can proceed with the installation of signage along with the LIE.
Over the past month, several gatherings have occurred to honor Tsakos, including a plaque and motorcycle sidecar dedication and renaming of the wellness center and gym at Highway Unit 3.
NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster said last year the NYPD made a promise to the Tsakos family to never forget the sacrifice that Tsakos made.
“Today is proof of that promise. I want to thank Assembly Member Nily Rozic and the great people of Queens for making our promise to the family a reality. Countless families will pass this bridge over the next decade, and we want them to know that the NYPD promises to always be there for them in their time of need,” Royster said.
Lynch also thanked Stavisky and Rozic for helping to ensure that Tsakos’s heroic sacrifice is never forgotten.
“We want every person who crosses this bridge to know that Police Officer Anastasios Tsakos was not only a good cop,” Lynch said. “He was also a great father, a beloved husband, and a trusted friend to many of his brothers and sisters in blue. We lost all of that when he gave his life helping New Yorkers in distress.”
Northport Assemblyman Keith Brown said the community will never forget Tsakos, who will be remembered as a hero in blue, and a loving husband and father.
“No family should ever have to go through what Irene Tsakos and her two children have to deal with every day. NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos is a hero we should all look up to for his dedication and commitment to our communities. When everyone was afraid during the pandemic, he made sure his neighbors were safe,” Brown said. “My office will always welcome Irene Tsakos and her two children and help them any way possible because that is what neighbors do and that is what Anastasios would do.”
This story first appeared on QNS.com.