If you’re wandering up Central Park West, don’t be surprised when you see a new sign on the northwest corner of 101st Street. In honor of late educator Corine Pettey, this corner is now known as “Corine Pettey Way”.
This request was first approved by Community Board 7 in 2018.
Who Was Corinne Pettey?
While she might not be as well known as other people UWS streets were named after, Pettey was once the principal of Public School 208, located at 21 West 111th street. Pettey worked as an educator, administrator, and ultimately principal at P.S. 208, where she devoted 25 years of her career to helping children receive a better education.
In 1989, Pettey was quoted by the New York Times in a piece focused on after-school programs. Pettey spoke of the many benefits afforded to students who are able to spend extra time at school. After-school programs in the late 80’s aimed to make “elementary schools community centers to improve educational and cultural opportunities in the state’s poorest neighborhoods, rural and urban”.
Pettey, then principal of P.S. 208, said the program was helping ”make the schools an oasis for the children. They come with so many kinds of problems,” she said. ”We have to work so hard to give them every opportunity.”
Programs like the one at Pettey’s school were organized in order to ”create a new environment” for children who might now be going home to parentless apartments and hours of television or out to the influences of the street. Despite environment, Pettey was dedicated to helping her students.
According to the guidelines for secondary street-namings, one must have “contributed in an extraordinary way to the welfare of the block and/or the community”. Additionally, the person the secondary street will be named after must have “had a long standing ” “relationship with (the) community (10 years or longer)”. Years later, the community that Pettey worked tirelessly for has thanked her.
Featured images c/o Google Street View