After 53 years of serving the Rockville Centre community, Jose Dominguez, 84, was honored on June 5, when a section of North Park Avenue was named for him at a ceremony at his business, Pioneer Hair Design.
Chamber of Commerce President Brian Croutier and ESPN personality Kevin Connors, who grew up in the village, worked together with the board of trustees and Mayor Francis Murray to make the street renaming happen.
Connors’s parents recently moved away from Rockville Centre, which got the ESPN anchor thinking about people who make the village a place he is proud of. “He’s the American dream,” Connors said of Dominguez. “He’s the kindest, sweetest person that I know. He’s a fixture here in Rockville Centre, and we need to do something to honor that.”
After Connors contacted Murray and Croutier, they decided to dedicate the street where Dominguez has worked for decades in his honor.
Just after noon on Saturday, a crowd gathered in the parking lot behind Village Hall, after word of the plan circulated on social media. When Connors signaled that he was in the barber’s chair at Pioneer Hair Design, dozens of family members, residents and officials commenced a very short march to the shop, where they showered Dominguez with cheers and gave him handshakes and hugs.
Croutier and Murray presented Dominguez with a new street sign and a proclamation from the village. The section of North Park Avenue in front of Pioneer will now be known ceremonially as Jose Dominguez Way.
“It’s an honor to be able to honor him,” Croutier said.
Murray noted that he is the fourth generation of Murrays whose hair Dominguez has cut. “Jose, you are a man of integrity, commitment and dedication to generations of families here,” the mayor said.
Dominguez immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba on Feb. 14, 1968, and it only took two days for him to find a new home in Rockville Centre and at Pioneer. Since then, by all reports, he has charmed generations of customers and friends, sponsored youth teams and given free haircuts to the sick and homebound. He was presented the Pave the Way Foundation’s Philanthropy Award in 2011.
“It’s unbelievable — I never expected it,” the honoree said of the street renaming. “There’s no way to thank everyone in the village for this.”