A group of New York residents is hoping to get a block in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village named after Jimi Hendrix.
In a report from the New York Times, residents living in the Greenwich Village area want to get the block of Eighth Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues named after Hendrix, who is believed to have lived in a cottage apartment on that block.
Supporters of the renaming, including internet entrepreneur Rob Key, artist Storm Ritter, and store owner Richard Geist, believe that the renaming would not only honor the iconic musician but also attract visitors and shoppers in the area which is fighting gentrification.
“Gentrification is killing us,” Geist said. “Eighth Street has lost the magic and we want to bring that magic back, and bring traffic back to help business.”
However, the process of getting a street renamed is lengthy. As the Times reports:
Obtaining a street co-naming — the honorary name is typically posted along with the original street name — requires a proposal to the local Community Board 2. If approved, a local Council member — Councilman Corey Johnson represents the south side of the block and Councilwoman Margaret Chin represents the north side — would then have to propose the co-naming to the full City Council for a vote. The Council typically approves about 100 new street names each year citywide.
Key is confident that he can make the case for Hendrix, considering the artist built and left behind Electric Lady (which is next door to the cottage apartment), although it is unknown if Hendrix actually ever lived in the cottage. Still, more than 1,000 signatures have been collected for the street-naming petition, with Key and other supporters hoping to gain more community support before starting the official submission process.
“Jimi Hendrix’s cultural impact on New York’s Greenwich Village is immeasurable. For almost 50 years, music’s most celebrated recordings have been produced right here on West 8th Street at Electric Lady Studios – the facility Hendrix himself created in 1970,” the petition reads. “From Patti Smith, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and The Rolling Stones to Lorde, Frank Ocean, St. Vincent and Adele, Hendrix’s inspiration and influence is still felt to this day.”
“Today neighbors and organizers are coming together to pay tribute to Jimi’s unmatched contribution to creativity, self-expression, and to our local community by co-naming West 8th Street ‘Jimi Hendrix Way.’ Collaborators Storm Ritter of Storm Ritter Studio, Richard Geist of Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters – supportive community members (including 8th street residents, Rob Key and Shaolin), and members of The Village Alliance are creating a path to a fitting tribute,” the petition concludes.
The petition, which is halfway toward its goal of 1,000, can be signed here.