Image credit: Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office
The city has officially renamed the intersection of West 63rd Street and Broadway in Manhattan “Sesame Street,” to honor the beloved educational program’s 50th anniversary. As part of a year-long celebration, Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar, Elmo and other members of the “Sesame” crew at a renaming ceremony at the bustling West Side corner–the location of the Sesame Workshop offices. “We’re here because we believe in what Sesame Street means today and what it’s meant for half-a-century, what it’s done for our children.”
Mayor de Blasio spoke of the show’s focus on diversity of all kinds, at a time when such representation was rare, by reminding the assembled crowd that “the show made a choice long before most of the media had done it to show all of us, to represent all the people that make up our society, to show black and brown faces, young and old, male and female, and everyone on an equal footing. For my children that was profoundly important. My children, growing up in a multiracial family, to see the whole world presented through Sesame Street, was part of their growth, was part of how they gained a sense of their place in the world.”
In 2009, the city temporarily renamed a street to celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary, but this time the new street sign will stay put. The program is seen in 150 countries around the world, according to NBCNew York. A Starbucks-enhanced block near the rarified environs of Lincoln Center may not be what we envision when we’re trying to get to “Sesame Street,” but as the mayor put it, “There is also something beautiful for us watching when they were young to see our own city, even our own neighborhood portrayed in Sesame Street. And you cannot take the New York City out of Sesame Street, can you?
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Images: Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office.