The NYC Council has voted unanimously in favor of legislation that will co-name the intersection of Cross Street and City Island Avenue as “Commander William G. Clancy Lane.” The street naming honor, which came at the request of Council Member James Vacca, will be at the location of the Leonard Hawkins American Legion Post 156.
Commander Clancy – a lifelong resident of City Island – was best known for his work with the Legion. He served two years in the Army between 1961 and 1963, which is what inspired him to dedicate the rest of his life to working on behalf of veterans. Clancy began serving at Post 156 in 1963 and held many roles, including Post Secretary, Post Vice Commander for Activities and Post Commander. During his time as Commander, he oversaw the expansion of the American Legion building to its current capacity. He was awarded the “Good Guy” award from the Legion in 1978 in recognition of his years of service.
Later, Clancy ascended to the rank of Bronx County Commander in the borough-wide Legion in 1993. When he again served as commander for the Leonard Hawkins post in 1996, he became involved in the New York State American Legion. At this time, Clancy spearheaded American Legion efforts to recognize Prisoners of War and soldiers Missing in Action (POW/MIA) nationally. As a result of this grassroots campaign, the U.S. Department of Defense declassified documents so families of POW/MIA could find out what happened to them, the POW/MIA flag proliferated in use on government flagpoles, and the U.S. Department of State strengthened their efforts to identify remains of soldiers in Southeast Asia. Clancy later became District American Legion Commander and Statewide Vice Commander – both positions covering the Bronx and other nearby counties. At the time of his passing in 2012, he was a candidate for New York State Commander of the American Legion.
Clancy was also a pillar of the City Island community, both in his capacity at the Legion and as a neighbor. Those who knew him lauded him as a person they could depend on in a crisis. For many years, he was active with Boys State, a legion program that teaches high school juniors about government. Clancy was also an original member of the City Island Volunteer Ambulance Corps and served as an assistant scoutmaster for City Island’s Troop 211.
Clancy’s trade was carpentry, and in this capacity he left his mark throughout New York City. He worked on several iconic buildings, including the World Trade Center, the Lord and Taylor Department Store, the Old Yankee Stadium and the Pan Am Building.