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Cicely Tyson
Photograph: Shutterstock

A street in East Harlem was just renamed after this iconic actress

Trailblazing Black actress Cicely Tyson grew up in the area.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

A portion of 101st Street, between Third and Lexington Avenues, in East Harlem will forever be known as Cicely Tyson Way, after the iconic actress who was the first Black woman to star in a recurring role in a dramatic television series.

Tyson, who passed away at the age of 96 on January 28, 2021, grew up in a fifth-floor railroad flat in the area, at 178 East 101st Street.

The City Council actually approved the street renaming last year, following a petition signed by a variety of community members and organizations, including the New York Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, which Tyson was actually part of as an honorary member, and El Museo del Barrio.

This isn't the first time that the city honors the legendary Emmy and Tony awards-winning actress. Back in 1994, the non-profit housing developer SDFS Development Corporation rehabilitated four buildings in East Harlem, including the one where Tyson grew up in. The developers renamed the very structure after the artist.

Cicely Tyson Way
Photograph: CBS

This latest christening ceremony, complete with a street sign unveiling, took place in the neighborhood this past Saturday. 

As fans of the late actress know, Tyson's having lived in the area isn't the only reason why officials have decided to honor her. In fact, she was often seen frequenting staple East Harlem venues throughout her life, like the now-defunct nightclub Smalls Paradise, the Apollo and the landmark soul food restaurant Sylvia's. 

Clearly, Tyson is deserving of an entire street named after her—if not more.

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