NYC Honorific Streets
Honorific Street Names
Honorific or secondary street names, sometimes called co-names, can be found on hundreds of street signs throughout the five boroughs, often immediately above or under the primary street-name sign. The designations can apply to a portion of a street, to an intersection, or to a corner. Honorific names are also given to parks and to specific facilities within parks.
A few of these signs bear names that most adult Americans would recognize: George Gershwin, Willie Mays, Humphrey Bogart. However, the great majority of them honor people or organizations of special significance to a particular community or neighborhood. A tragically large number, about a fifth of the total, commemorate people who died in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Honorific street names do not require an alteration of the City Map, which can be a costly legal and bureaucratic procedure, but such names are official. Each name must be authorized in a bill that must be enacted by the City Council and signed by the Mayor. Each approved bill then becomes a "Local Law," which is referenced by year and by a sequential Local Law number within that year.
The following listings cover all honorific street namings in Local Laws enacted from the beginning of 1998 through the end of 2013. This is the period for which City Council documents are available on-line. In the near future, we plan to add names authorized in earlier years.
Each entry consists of: (1) the honorific street name; (2) the present or underlying name, if there is one; (3) the limits of the naming or, alternatively, the location of the new sign; (4) brief information about the person or organization being honored; (5) the Local Law year and number.
In most cases, the information about the honoree is excerpted from longer descriptions in City Council committee reports or mayoral press releases. For additional information on Honorees, go to: http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Legislation.aspx. Select the year, find the Local Law number, and click on the Intro Number for that Local Law. This will take you to a page on which you can find links to various documents relating to that Local Law, including the Committee Report and Hearing Transcripts. Mayoral press releases can be found through Google. Additional information on people who died in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center can be found at http://names.911memorial.org.
In the course of researching honorific street names, we have found some inconsistencies between sources; for example, in dates of birth and spelling of names. We have corrected these to the extent possible but it is unlikely that we've caught all of them. If you find errors please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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