“Henry Clayton led an extraordinary life of entrepreneurship, service, and joy. From founding the first Black-owned travel agency in the community to serving as a role model for young people, his contributions to Southeast Queens will never be forgotten,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams, during a June 17 unveiling of the street sign – Henry Clayton Street, at the intersection of 137th Ave. and 169th Street, Queens to honor the community leader.
“Clayton’s legacy and impact on the Rochdale Village community is now memorialized through the new “Henry Clayton Street” sign, which was unveiled on the day of his birthday.”
“Henry Clayton led an extraordinary life of entrepreneurship, service, and joy. From founding the first Black-owned travel agency in the community to serving as a role model for young people, his contributions to Southeast Queens will never be forgotten,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams.
“I was proud to celebrate his life and impact with Kevin Livingston, Tanisha Phillips, and the entire Clayton family, as well as our local elected officials.”
“Now, just steps from his historic business, members of our community can look up to see the new street sign that pays homage to the legacy of Henry Clayton,” said Adams, who represents the 28th District, that encompasses Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, and South Ozone Park.
“We appreciate Council Member Adams and her staff for honoring my dad’s memory for generations to come,” said Kevin Livingston, founder of 100 Suits for 100 Men and the son of Henry Clayton.
Born on June 17, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Clayton spent his early years in Harlem, New York. He attended PS 103, James Fenimore Cooper Junior High School 120, and Central Commercial High School in Manhattan. As a teenager, Clayton excelled in track and field, particularly in the 100-meter dash and long jump.
After graduating from high school in 1961, he was drafted into the United States Army, where he served for two years. After his military service, Clayton worked as a head teller and manager at Carver Bank. He also worked as a route salesman for the Frito Lay Company for 20 years, servicing parts of Jamaica, Queens. Following his entrepreneurial dreams, Clayton later entered into a joint venture to start his own pest control business, C&H Exterminators. In March 1988, Clayton co-founded Henden Travel on Foch Boulevard with three employees. Three years later, Clayton and the travel agency secured a storefront in the Rochdale Village Center, across the street from Citi Bank. Henden Travel provided services including notary services, airline ticketing, hotel booking, travel insurance, and packaged tours.
In 2003, Clayton and his wife, Denise, decided to leave the cold weather behind and start a new chapter in Melbourne, Florida, where they enjoyed their time with longtime friends and neighbors. Clayton also enjoyed Bible study every other Saturday and outings to his local Walmart. Clayton passed away in January 2019.
“Henry Clayton, Jr. was a fine citizen of Queens. His philanthropy and entrepreneurship have left a lasting legacy throughout Southeast Queens and he deserves to have the permanent honor of this street renaming,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “Everyone in this community will have the opportunity to celebrate Mr. Clayton’s example.”
“I was grateful to spend some time with Kevin Livingston and his family as we celebrated the life and legacy of his father, Henry Clayton,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “Thanks to Council Member Adams for shepherding this co-naming through the City Council and bringing the community together to celebrate a man who lived a life worthy of celebration and honor.”
“It is a pleasure and honor to recognize the many contributions to the community of Henry Clayton,” said Assembly Member Clyde Vanel. “For generations, the community will see his name and know of his legacy.”