George Carlin

Could George Carlin get his own street?

Three years after the comic's death, there's a movement to give him a little bit of New York

Mary Elizabeth Williams
September 8, 2011 10:09PM (UTC)

Wouldn't it be cooler if they called it "Seven Dirty Words Boulevard" instead? George Carlin, the legendary comic whose biting satire influenced generations of comedians, may be getting his own street.

A petition started by comedian Kevin Bartini to christen Carlin's boyhood block on West 121st Street "George Carlin Way" has already amassed nearly 3,000 signatures -- and the support of Carlin's daughter Kelly. "I feel it's very important to protect his legacy and keep the torch lit and to keep the conversation going the next 40 years and I'm very proud and honored to do it," she told ABC News this week.


Though the famously acerbic wit, who died in 2008, might never have been the type one could imagine as a statue in Central Park, his uniquely urban perspective still feels deeply resonant today, as much a cherished part of the culture of the sidewalks and stoops of Gotham as thin crust pizza, open fire hydrants and crazy people muttering to themselves. And though the neighborhood's Community Board rep told the Village Voice Tuesday that "we just heard about it today, so we don't have any further details," the city certainly already has its share of thoroughfares named for distinguished New Yorkers. Most recently the Bronx has gained a Thurman Munson Way and downtown got a  Saul Bruckner Way. "

So why not give Morningside Heights a little bit of the Carlin magic? As Kelly Carlin says, " "I know my dad loved his neighborhood deeply and you know, I think it's important that New Yorkers know where he came from." And in a city that never sleeps, what better spot could there be to pay homage to a man who revolutionized the art of standing up?

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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