As Sean Mackie stood at the podium Saturday afternoon set up under a tent on South Jamesport Avenue, he pointed toward the nearby community center where he recalled playing basketball with so many of his friends as a kid. Nearly every day in the summer they would meet to play hoops. And Brian Simonsen would always be there.
“Smiles” was a strong rebounder, but that was about it when it came to basketball.
“Smiles was terrible at basketball,” joked Mr. Mackie, a Riverhead Town police officer and lifelong friend of Mr. Simonsen. “But he was there every time with us with a smile on his face just because he wanted to hang out with his friends and have a good time.”
Mr. Mackie shared memories of his close friend, fighting back tears at one point as he recalled the last time he saw Smiles, during a ceremony to name South Jamesport Avenue in memory of the fallen NYPD detective.
Dozens of police officers attended as well as local officials and residents. Det. Simonsen’s wife Leanne pulled the string to unveil the honorary street street sign displaying “Det. Brian Simonsen Way.”
Det. Simonsen’s mother, Linda, said afterward the support her family has received has “meant so much.”
“I don’t think I could have gone through it without them,” she said.
Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith and NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill both spoke during the ceremony along with NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea and Det. Simonsen’s friend Mike Lojko.
“Brian made an honest choice to live his life as selflessly as possible,” Mr. Lojko said.
See more photos from the ceremony below: