NEW YORK The East Village street corner located a few yards away from legendary punk club CBGB is one step closer to being known as Joey Ramone Place.
On Wednesday, the Public Safety and Transportation Committee of Manhattan's Community Board 3 unanimously approved a proposition by 20-year-old Maureen Wojciechowski to dub the corner of East Second Street and the Bowery after the late punk icon who, along with the likes of Patti Smith, Television and the Talking Heads, helped bring the genre to life at CBGB in the mid-'70s.
"I came up with the idea right after Joey's 50th birthday, but wasn't sure exactly how," Wojciechowski, a Staten Island resident, said. "Then someone mentioned honorary street signs, and how, as is the case with most in the city, no one knows who they are [named for]. So I thought, 'That's it. I'll put one up for Joey Ramone.' "
In order for Joey Ramone Place to become a reality, the proposal must be approved by the 50-member community board at a meeting on November 15. Members of the committee said they're fairly confident their decision in favor of the honorary street sign won't be met with opposition.
Ramone died of lymphatic cancer April 15 (see "Punk Pioneer Joey Ramone Dead At 49"), and plans for a party to commemorate his 50th birthday were carried out by his mother and brother in May (see "Blondie, Cheap Trick, Damned Salute Joey Ramone").
Wojciechowski first approached the board in October, and she was instructed to return with a petition of support signed by local residents and businesses, which she brought to Wednesday's meeting.
"The Ramones were just so much fun, and Joey was such an individual," Wojciechowski said. "Twenty years later he was still the same person that he was in the '70s nothing changed. I saw him two years ago, and he looked exactly as he did in 1978. He was true to New York City, and he was really cool."
Hilly Kristal, owner of CBGB, attended the meeting, as did Ramone's mother, Charlotte Lesher, and John Holmstrom, co-founder of Punk magazine, who gave a name to the punk movement.
"The East Village, probably more than any other place in the city, historically has been the melting pot of people who became famous and went to do wonderful things," said Kristal, a 28-year resident of the community. "Joey Ramone helped countless musicians, more than any other artist I can think of. He stood for something good. Joey left a very important mark on New York and the East Village, especially, and I'm proud that he played CB's and proud that he made his home here."
Although the proposal was to bestow the honor on a single corner, Wojciechowski said she'd like to see Joey Ramone Place stretch one crosstown block to Second Avenue.
What name would you propose for a street commemorating Joey Ramone? "Gabba Gabba Hey Way," perhaps? You Tell Us your suggestions, and we'll publish them when the decision is final.