When Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse (D 46) gave her State of the District address in January, she named Charles “Chuck” Rogers, former Managing Editor of the Canarsie Courier, as one of several individuals who, because of their remarkable contributions to society, deserved to be publicly remembered, in perpetuity.
On Saturday, August 5th, Narcisse and other elected officials gathered on Flatlands Avenue and East 92nd Street, a stone’s throw from the Canarsie Courier’s headquarters, with the Rogers’ family, friends, Courier staff and members of the community, and kept her promise by co-naming the street Charles Rogers Way, in honor of the venerable icon.
“We are here to pay tribute to the exemplary life and legacy of Charles Rogers by enshrining his name on the very street where he made a lasting impact,” the councilwoman said. Friends, family and colleagues described Rogers as the epitome of professionalism, honesty and integrity. “He was a mentor, compassionate confidant and gentleman through and through,” said Dara Mormile, a protégé of Rogers.
Alessandro F. Marra Esq. was effusive in his brief address. “This street sign will serve as a constant reminder of Chuck’s enduring legacy. Reminding us of the power of words, the importance of community and the profound impact that one individual can have. Chuck, though you may have left us 10 years ago almost to the day, your legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of those whose lives you touched. We are forever grateful for your tireless work, your unwavering dedication to the truth and your unyielding commitment to excellence. May this street sign be a lasting symbol of our deep respect and admiration for you, and may your spirit continue to guide us as we carry on the proud tradition of the Canarsie Courier, telling stories that matter and uplifting the voices of our community. May your memory and enduring legacy forever inspire us.”
Chris Rogers, Chuck’s son, proudly shared some of his Dad’s notable accomplishments. He was the Managing Editor of the Canarsie Courier for more than a quarter of a century. “Being editor of the Canarsie Courier meant my Dad would meet a lot of people,” Chris said. “After all, this was Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood,” he joked, eliciting a few “chuckles.”
Chuck was also a Korean War veteran who later worked in radio as the puppeteer, Leroy the Lion. At one time, he was a singing waiter, a career in which he met Chris’ mom. He was later employed at WNBC where he worked his way up from the mailroom and became a correspondent. This afforded him the opportunity to cover events such as Woodstock, turmoil in Haiti and be present when Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Chuck also got to travel abroad on two occasions, with President Lyndon Johnson. Chris shared one of his father’s notorious exploits – he engaged in a high-speed race on the Grand Central Parkway, trying to keep up with President John F. Kennedy who was driving his own car from the airport.
“This is a wonderful occasion,” Chris stated. “I’m so happy and so proud that I could come back to Canarsie to celebrate my Dad’s life, and everyone here is here for the same reason. He was a wonderful man. He loved Canarsie and he loved the Canarsie Courier, and he spent many happy years here because of the great people that are around.”