Images via New York City Council on Flickr
Despite the rainy weather, hundreds of people gathered at St. James Place in Clinton Hill on Monday to honor the legacy of Christopher Wallace, better known as Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls. As amNY first reported, the block between Fulton Street and Gates Avenue—where the famous rapper grew up—will now also be known as “Christopher ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ Wallace Way.” Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, was present at the event and she remembered the last time she saw a huge crowd on the street, the day Biggie was murdered 22 years ago. “It was a sad day,” Wallace said, “and when I saw the crowds, tears came to my eyes and I said to my friend, ‘My son was well-loved.’” This time around, seeing everyone gathered there for the unveiling brought “happy tears” to her eyes.
Efforts to honor Biggie—who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 1997— began in 2013 when music enthusiast and advocate LeRoy McCarthy first suggested the renaming. As 6sqft previously reported, McCarthy also led the recent Wu-Tang Clan district renaming in Staten Island, and the Aretha Franklin memorial at the Franklin Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, among other artist tributes.
The Biggie effort was initially rejected by Community Board 2 due to objections over his lyrics, but by the end of last year, City Council unanimously voted in favor of the renaming.
Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo was present at the unveiling, where she underlined that advocates “fought a long time to get to this place.”
“That’s why this sign is important today — so that the history of why this place is what it is is told to our children, and to our children’s children,” she said. “We created this borough, and Biggie Smalls created the soundtrack of inspiration that gave us the growth, the ability, the inspiration to create success in Brooklyn, New York.”
“This block, it belongs to Biggie,” added rapper Lil’ Kim, who was discovered by Biggie in 1994. “He always had a vision, and I feel like today was part of his vision.”
- Staten Island intersection is renamed to honor legacy of the Wu-Tang Clan
- City Council votes to name NYC streets after Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan, and Woodie Guthrie
- Manhattan intersection is permanently renamed to honor 50th anniversary of ‘Sesame Street’
Editor’s Note 6/12/19: The original version of this post incorrectly named Bed-Stuy as the neighborhood of the street naming.
Neighborhoods : Clinton Hill