City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights, Inwood) was joined by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville) last Saturday at the christening of Pamela North Way – a street co-named in honor of civic leader Pamela North.
Pamela North moved to Washington Heights after finishing graduate school. There, she began to get involved in local politics and got herself elected president of the West 162nd Street Block Association. She used her power to transform the local community, working in tandem with other elected officials to rid the neighborhood of drug abuse, gang violence and other illegal activity. In her lifetime, she also served on Manhattan’s Community Board 12 and founded the Community Emergency Response Team.
In her honor, West 162nd Street and Edgecombe Avenue has been co-named Pamela North Way. Rodriguez, who had been a close friend of North since 2009, was happy to speak on her behalf.
“Pamela North was an exemplary woman of Panamanian and Afro-American descent, and a great friend of mine, who transformed the Northern Manhattan community, dedicating her life to improving the neighborhood and the city as a whole,” said Ydanis Rodriguez. “She will be forever remembered as a powerful advocate and community leader with a long list of accomplishments.”
Gale Brewer spoke about her in just as glowing terms, regarding her as an integral part of Washington Heights’ history.
“Pam North was a force,” Brewer said in a tweet. “When nobody knew what to do, she would figure it out.”
At the conclusion of his speech, Rodriguez said that North was more than just a community leader; she was an icon. Ever since he arrived in Washington Heights, the name “Pamela North” has been synonymous with the unification of the neighborhood and the eradication of crime.
“Since I got here in ’93, her name has been in the community,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a name that unified people. It’s the name of someone who worked for the agenda of all of us – the black and Latino, the anglo, the Jewish.”