NYC Street in Queens to be Co-named After Tenzing Norgay Sherpa

On May 29th, 75th Street from Broadway to Woodside in Queens, New York, will be co-named “Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Way”. The street, which is densely populated by Nepali immigrants, will be named after the famous Nepali mountaineer Tenzing Norgay.

The co-naming ceremony will take place to mark the 70th anniversary of Norgay reaching the summit of Mount Everest in 1953 with Edmund Hillary of New Zealand. Norgay died in 1986 at the age of 71, and Hillary in 2008 at the age of 88.

Pasang Sherpa, the second vice president of the US Nepal Climbers Association and program coordinator who has climbed Everest seven times, said, “It is a matter of pride to name the street Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.”

Pasang Sherpa, the second vice president of the US Nepal Climbers Association and program coordinator, who has climbed Mount Everest seven times, providing details about the upcoming event.

He added that a street festival will also be held on that day, aiming to contribute to Nepal’s tourism promotion. The US Nepal Climbers Association and United Sherpa Association (USA), Inc.  are the main organizers of the event, while other Nepalese associations will be co-organizers.

Under the title of “Sea to Summit,” cultural performances from the Himalayas, Hills, and Terai will be showcased, reflecting various cultures such as Tharu, Newari, Magar, Tamang, Gurung, Rai, Limbu, Sherpa, and others. Tshiring Sherpa, the former president of United Sherpa Association (USA) Inc, mentioned that all Nepalis feel proud when they hear the name of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, and “Everest belongs to all Nepalis. So this is another opportunity to spread the identity of Nepal to the world.”

There was a long-standing effort to name 75th Street from Broadway to Woodside after Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. In May 2017, under the leadership of Urgen Sherpa, the United Sherpa Association (USA), Inc proposed renaming 75th Street to reflect Nepal to the then City Council member Daniel Dromm from the 25th District. At that time, the name of the street was proposed to be one of the names Nepal Street, Sagarmatha Street, Gautam Buddha Street, Lumbini Street.

Tenzing Norgay (right) and Edmund Hillary after successfully completing the first ascent of Mount Everest.

It was proposed to name the entire street from 30th Avenue to Woodside to reflect Nepaliness. But for that, the then City Council member of the 22nd District, Costa Constantinides, also had to take the initiative, and the process was prolonged as this area falls within two districts.

In March 2019, at the initiative of Costa Constantinides, only the corner of 31 Avenue and 75th Street was named Mount Everest Way. As the process of naming only one corner as Mount Everest Way is somewhat easier than the process of naming many blocks, “Mount Everest Way” was announced at that time.

After that, the proposal taken to the City Council member Dromm of 25 districts on behalf of United Sherpa Association was well-received. Later, Urgen Sherpa, the then-president of United Sherpa Association, informed that a proposal was made before City Council member Dromm to name 75th Street from Roosevelt Avenue to Woodside Avenue in Jackson Heights after TN Sherpa, short for Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.

Urgen Sherpa, the former president of  United Sherpa Association (USA), Inc, who spearheaded the effort to name the street Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Way.

He said, “Even when the proposal was brought up, we were asked to prove that Norge was an American citizen or that he had contributed to the USA. He was not an American citizen, and his contribution to America could not be immediately confirmed. After that, the second proposal was not passed.”

When Urgen Sherpa was appointed to the Community Board, he learned more about the street-naming process. He said, “In order to name a street, seven different steps have to be completed. Using that formula, we went for the third time in 2021 with the proposal to name the street Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Way. When Norgay’s family and children were contacted, Norgay was honored by the American government, and more information was obtained about his contribution to America.”

Daniel Dromm, former City Council member from the 25th District, who introduced the motion to the City Council to name Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Way and successfully passed it.

Shortly after the proposal was brought to the City Council in 2021, it was passed. Although the proposal was made to name the street from Roosevelt Avenue to Woodside, only the two blocks of 75th Street from Broadway to Woodside were named Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Way. Then, there was a request to place three Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Way signs on Broadway, 41st Avenue, and Woodside Avenue, but only one sign will be placed on 41st Avenue. Thus, after nearly six years of effort, 75th Street will be named Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Way in special honor of the Nepali community in New York.