NYC Honorary Street Names


Marie Runyon Way (Manhattan)
Present name:None
Location:At the southeast corner of Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive
Honoree: Marie Runyon (1915-2018) was known for challenging Columbia University's 1961 expansion plans that would have required the demolition of six Columbia-owned apartment buildings. Marie Runyon spearheaded protests, rent strikes and legal action against the evictions, and won most of her suits under rent control protections. In 1996, Columbia announced that it would no longer seek to evict the people still living in her building and in 2002, Columbia announced that a renovated building was being renamed Marie Runyon Court. In 1969, she established Marie Runyon Associates to raise funds for progressive and radical groups, and was later elected to the NYS Assembly seat representing West Harlem and Morningside Heights. While an Assembly Member, she helped win partial clemency from Governor Hugh L. Carey for Martin Sostre, a Puerto Rican independence advocate serving a 41-year sentence on questionable drug and riot charges. In 1977, she founded the Harlem Restoration Project, which managed buildings and hired former inmates to rehabilitate apartments. She campaigned against American involvement in Vietnam; and supported the Black Panthers and nuclear disarmament. She continued to get arrested for civil disobedience into her 90s as a leader of the Granny Peace Brigade, which protested the war in Iraq. (Levine)

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