Queens, NY – On June 18, Speaker Adrienne E. Adams, community residents, friends, and family members gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Alex Pauline, a beloved community figure who mentored young people in the Rochdale Village community. At the street co-naming ceremony, family and friends highlighted the profound impact that Pauline, affectionately known as “Coach Al,” had on neighborhood youth. The intersection of 173rd Street and 134th Road, adjacent to where he grew up in Rochdale Village, has been officially co-named “Alex Pauline Road.”
Following the street co-naming ceremony, Pauline’s family organized a free basketball clinic at the South Rochdale Playground. Youth participants engaged in basketball and fitness drills, were provided free shirts, and enjoyed free food. Photos of the street co-naming ceremony are attached.
“Alex Pauline was a selfless community hero who dedicated his life to educating, mentoring, and supporting young people and students,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Through basketball and his own nonprofit program, Drug Free That’s Me, ‘Coach Al’ positively influenced the lives of countless neighborhood youth. His legacy lives on through them, and will be remembered forever with the unveiling of “Alex Pauline Road.” I thank the Pauline family, local elected officials, and community members for gathering to honor Coach Al’s life.”
“Me and my family are truly blessed to have had Alex Joseph-Pauline as our king,” said Aleek Pauline, the son of Alex Pauline. “He has been recognized and received numerous awards for his commitment to our community, but today, we celebrated the biggest honor ever as NYC Speaker Adrienne Adams sponsored the co-naming of 134th Road as “Alex Pauline Road.”
“Celebrating the life and contributions to our community of Alex Pauline, ‘Coach Al,’ lifts up his commitment to our community and his outstanding legacy,” said Senator Leroy Comrie. “Co-naming ‘Alex Pauline Road’ serves as a testimony to the lives he touched, the young people ‘Drug Free That’s Me’ impacted, and his lifetime of public service. Thanks to Speaker Adams, the Pauline family, and all who gathered to share the occasion.”
About Alex Pauline:
Mr. Alex Pauline was a well-known figure in Rochdale Village. As a child of “Circle 4,” he grew up playing basketball in South Rochdale Playground with his brothers and friends. This playground and the adjacent school, Public School 80Q, meant everything to Mr. Pauline. His entire extended family attended PS 80Q and as an adult, he never left the area. Mr. Pauline worked as the school custodian, a teacher, and the basketball coach at the school. His workdays began at 7 a.m. in the classroom and ended at 10 p.m. with his custodial work.
In 1988, Mr. Pauline created a nonprofit basketball program called “Drug Free That’s Me,” which was held on the weekends on the basketball court at South Rochdale Playground. “Drug Free That’s Me” was formed to provide alternatives to drug abuse and crime for young people. The program not only taught basketball and all aspects of the game, but also elevated the importance of education and informed participants of the detrimental effects of drug use. “Coach Al” was a father figure to his students, neighborhood kids, and his basketball players.
Nine months after Mr. Pauline’s passing in 2019, organized hosted the first annual “Drug Free That’s Me Day in Memory of Al Pauline.” Several players who participated in his program when they were kids attended the event. A local summer basketball tournament, known as B.A.C.E., later presented the “Al Pauline Award” to the player who averaged the most points throughout the tournament. Additionally, Mr. Pauline’s program was featured in the TV One series “Uncensored,” which featured NBA star Lamar Odom, who had participated in Coach Al’s program. Many community members still say when they look at PS 80Q, they think of “Coach Al.”