A street named for Biggie may not happen—but these did (slide show)

A community board recently decided not to name a corner after the icon for egregious reasons, so we decided to investigate how some streets got their name.

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The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G.

The latest battle in New York’s apparent war on the obese continued this week as efforts to rename a Brooklyn corner Christopher Wallace Way—after the legendary rapper the Notorious B.I.G.—were met with skepticism and concerns about the late rapper’s waistline (among other things).


Here are some other avenues named after famous people, none of whom were totally perfect themselves.


  • Courtesy Nicky L/Lower Third Enterprise and Steven Kasher Gallery, NYC

    Joey Ramone Place

    Joey Ramone is dead, and so are Dee Dee and Johnny, the other two founding members of the Ramones. The New York the band knew from their CBGB days is also a memory, but it lives on in their music, old photos—and the Joey Ramone Place street sign, which is reportedly the most-stolen street sign in the city.

  • Photograph: Adam Padilla

    Run-D.M.C. JMJ Way

    There is precedent for hip-hop luminaries to get streets named after them: Run-D.M.C. JMJ Way (Hollis Avenue and 205th Street in Queens) was rechristened in 2009, to honor both the group's legacy and member Jam Master Jay, who was killed in 2002. The group is known both for its own pioneering sound and the revolutionary rap-rock collabo with Aerosmith. Sure, Aerosmith is the worst, but without this project, we’d probably have never witnessed the legendary union of Anthrax and Public Enemy. (But also, Aerosmith. That’s a tough one to forgive.)

  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

    U2 Way

    This street should be renamed if only because of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, but there are plenty of other legitimate grievances to be had against the Irish supergroup. First of all, they’re not from New York, and to our knowledge have contributed nothing to the city besides Spider-Man (see above) and "Angel of Harlem." And it’s not just all Bono’s fault. If you change your name to "The Edge," you need to be in a much tougher band than U2. (How do you even address him in casual conversation? The? Edge?) Anyway, they’re crap.

  • Screenshot via Google Maps

    Great Jones Street

    Due to some fancy lawyering politician work he did back in the Revolutionary era, Samuel Jones, the namesake of Great Jones Street, became known as "The Father of the New York Bar." That is some claim to fame, to be sure, but we’re fairly confident that if he knew what New York bars were charging for beers these days, he’d be less than pleased with his children.

  • Photograph courtesy the Library of Congress

    Washington Irving Place

    This road is named for Washington Irving, author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” who is no doubt rolling over in his grave for the new Fox series about Ichabod Crane, revolutionary action hero out of time.

  • Screenshot via Google Maps

    Peter Jennings Way

    Jennings, who died in 2005, became the youngest news anchor on record when he took over at ABC in 1965 at the age of 26. His broadcast peers, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, praised him after his death, saying he was the prince of them all. A prince, maybe, but let’s not forget the man who was arguably our finest newscaster was Canadian royalty. (Yes, that’s the harshest thing we could come up with.)

Courtesy Nicky L/Lower Third Enterprise and Steven Kasher Gallery, NYC

Joey Ramone Place

Joey Ramone is dead, and so are Dee Dee and Johnny, the other two founding members of the Ramones. The New York the band knew from their CBGB days is also a memory, but it lives on in their music, old photos—and the Joey Ramone Place street sign, which is reportedly the most-stolen street sign in the city.


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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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