The residents of Gowanus’s Sackett Street would like to honor a late, beloved neighbor, WWII veteran Thomas Delessio, by naming part of the street after him. The only problem? A quick Google search for “Thomas Delessio” turns up another, more notorious man of the same name, and neighbors fear they’ll be unintentionally associating themselves with his crooked legacy.
Thomas Delessio (the bad) was a county chief in New Jersey who was caught spending campaign money on houses and vacations in the 1990s. Thomas Delessio (the good)–known colloquially as “Tommy the Mayor” by neighbors–was a war hero who fought on the front lines at Normandy, bought ice cream for neighborhood kids, and was the neighborhood’s unofficial historian, telling stories and recounting memories.
The solution? Sackett street residents are petitioning to have the street named “Thomas A. Delessio Way,” to avoid any mixups with the crooked New Jerseyan, whose middle initial is “J.” “People on the block will know it’s him,” said Delessio’s daughter.