UWS Streets Named After Famous People

As one of the most historic neighborhoods in the city, it’s no wonder why the Upper West Side has attracted so many influential people throughout its history. A number of our streets honor artists, actors, musicians and activists who once stayed in this cozy corner of the city.

Norman Rockwell Place

At the intersection of West 103rd and Broadway now lies the sign of Norman Rockwell Place. This street sign was placed here because it’s right around the corner from where he lived for the first nine years of his life. Rockwell stayed in a brownstone with his family. His upbringing was fundamental in developing a unique vision for his paintings.

This street sign makes his legacy more visible to residents and tourists alike and was made possible by students from Reynolds West Side High School. The students were inspired by Rockwell’s art and his advocacy towards social justice. They were motivated to share his stories by placing this special sign on the Upper West Side.

Norman Rockwell Place

(Google Maps)

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Miles Davis Way

Renamed after the iconic jazz artist, Miles Dives Way is located on 77th Street between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue, and was one of the final acts in office of former Mayor Bloomberg. The project to get the street renamed was initiated by Davis’ friend and neighbor Shirley Zafirau.

Davis was also the first African-Americans to purchase a brownstone on the Upper West Side. He was a celebrated musician ahead of his time and incorporated other genres into jazz to produce spectacular sounds. Miles Davis won nine Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

famous street names in new york city

photo by Billy Hathorn

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George Carlin Way

It’s technically a bit north of the UWS, but we love the late funnyman enough to include him.

Right by Columbia University at West 121st Street is where pedestrians can find George Carlin Way. Named after the revolutionary comedian, this street sign was placed here in Morningside Heights after hard campaigning from fellow funny man Kevin Bertini. The sign was originally supposed to go up on the same block where the Corpus Christi Church is located between Amsterdam and Broadway.

However, the church opposed its installation after being the target of Carlin’s jokes. George was well-known for his seven dirty words routine. His ability to bring up subjects that are otherwise considered off limits was groundbreaking. He held the street he grew up on dearly to his heart and observed the world like a true New Yorker.

George Carlin Way

(Google Maps)

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Edgar Allan Poe Street

For two years, Edgar Allan Poe lived in a farmhouse within today’s Upper West Side. Born in Boston in 1809, he moved to New York City in 1837.

It is said that he wrote the ending to his literary classic “The Raven” while living in NYC. Considered by many the American Shakespeare, the NY Shakespeare Society placed a plaque on 84th between Riverside Drive and Broadway in his honor.

Edgar Allan Poe Street

photo by Taltal13

Duke Ellington Boulevard

The thoroughfare of West 106th Street took the jazz icon’s name on December 27 of 1977, three years after his death. An archived New York Times article from the following day describes how a band played Ellington’s songs and crowds cheered as the signs were unveiled. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington lived at 333 Riverside Drive, on the corner of 106th Street, for some time. He also owned two additional buildings on the block; these were lived in by his sister and son.

Duke Ellington Boulevard

photo by Yair Haklai

Elie Wiesel Way

In June of 2017, the southwest corner of 84th and Central Park West was dedicated to the humanitarian, Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner and author. Wiesel died approximately one year before the street took his name. Wiesel wrote 57 books; arguably his most noteworthy was Night, through which he documents his experiences with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

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Humphry Bogart Place

Humphrey Bogart grew up in a brownstone at 245 West 103rd Street, between Broadway and West End Avenue. In 2006, the block took the late actor’s name. On the day of the ceremony, about 150 fans showed up. And the special guest was his former wife, actress Lauren Bacall! Bacall was also an Upper West Sider, and one of many stars who’ve resided at The Dakota.

Humphrey Bogart Place

(Google Maps)

BONUS:  Sesame Street!

Okay … so there’s no one named “Sesame.” But when the Upper West Side first learned that 63rd and Broadway would become Sesame Street, people were so excited that we had to include this. The renaming had been in the works for a while, and it officially happened on the 50th anniversary of the iconic show. 63rd and Broadway was chosen because it’s where the Sesame Workshop offices are located.

Sesame Street 63rd Broadway




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