The late Cicely Tyson has been honored with a street named after her in her home neighborhood of East Harlem in New York City. On Saturday (Sept. 17), East 101st Street between 3rd and Lexington Avenues was officially renamed Cicely Tyson Way in honor of the award-winning thespian.
During the celebratory event of family and friends, the presentation was made by the Honorable Diana Ayala, New York City Council deputy speaker. Additionally, The Dance Theatre of Harlem, Poet Laureate of El Barrio Jesús Papoleto Meléndez, poet Juan Papa Santiago, the Dominican Folklore Dance Troupe, the Caribbean-American Sports, and Youth Movement Steel Orchestra, and many more notable community members made appearances.
Approved by the New York City Council in the summer of 2021, the renaming effort was spearheaded by Ayala, Taina Traverso, Nina M Saxon, and Deborah Quinones, who cofounded the Cicely Tyson Street Renaming and Landmark Committee. Together, they gathered dozens of signatures for a petition requesting the honor.
“We just wanted to really commemorate her contributions to the arts and just celebrate where she came and she lived,” Quinones told Spectrum News NY1.
Signees included numerous high-profile individuals and entities, including political analyst Donna Brazile, El Museo del Barrio, El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109, Landmark East Harlem, and the New York Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where Tyson was an honorary member.
“My heart is warm that so many people came out to enjoy the day,” said Tyson’s nephew, Reginald A. Henry. “Initially my grandmother didn’t want her in show business. She called it quelbe. When my aunt finally got her first recognition and award, she said, ‘See, momma, I made it.’”
Organizations including the New York Alumnae Chapter of DST Sorority, Inc., Com.Org, HHC Metropolitan Hospital Center, Hi-ARTS, Manhattan Community Board 11, Union Settlement, and 111th Street Old Timers have joined forces with the Committee to produce the free street celebration.
The ceremony ended with public dancing to tunes spun by DJ Krayze and Liquitone Entertainment.