NYC Honorary Street Names
Honorary Street Names
Honorary or secondary street names, also called co-names or honorific names, can be found on hundreds of street signs throughout the five boroughs. Often they are immediately above or below the primary street-name sign. These designations can apply to a portion of a street, to an intersection, or to a corner.
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.
Under Local Law 28 of 1992, honorary street names do not require an alteration to 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” (L.L.), which is referenced by year and by a sequential L.L. number within that year. Honorary names are also given to parks and to specific facilities within parks. Such names can be enacted by the City Council, in the same manner as street names, but they can also be chosen by the Commissioner of Parks.
The following listings cover all honorary names adopted since L.L. 28 of 1992. In the near future, we plan to add co-names authorized in earlier years.
Each entry consists of: (1) the honorary 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 other entity being honored; (5) the Local Law year and number.
The information about honorees is mainly excerpted from City Council committee reports or mayoral press releases. This has been supplemented, where appropriate, with data from obituaries, organizational websites, and other on-line sources. For further information on honorees, you can 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 often 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 honorary 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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