There's Joey Ramone Place and Peter Jennings Way. But getting a street named after the city's arguably most famous TV detective who was also a Broadway legend is no easy task. The NY Times has the full story about the quest for Jerry Orbach's name to grace a street corner. Specifically the corner of West 53rd and 8th Avenue, where he and his wife Elaine Orbach lived.
It turns out that Community Board 5, which controls the western edge of the intersection, doesn't like streets to be named after celebrities. Orbach's widow Elaine will be appealing to the board tomorrow, along with Orbach's 96-year-old mother (!) and one of their sons. From the Times:
[Elaine Orbach] said that after seeing how quickly a block of West 66th Street was named for Peter Jennings, the ABC News anchor who died seven months after Mr. Orbach, she assumed that getting a corner renamed was mostly a matter of asking. That notion was reinforced, she said, when a stretch of West 103rd Street was named last summer for Humphrey Bogart.
Indeed, the City Council, which can override a community board’s advisory opinion, renames blocks and street corners in bunches. In October, it passed a bill to honor 64 people that way, many of them victims and heroes of 9/11 whose names would adorn signs in boroughs other than Manhattan. (These renamings, which the Council calls co-namings, are symbolic and do not affect the actual names of city streets.)
CB 5 district manager Gary Parker says, "It’s no reflection of the person that is to be honored or the institution to be honored. It’s a concern about keeping the cityscape as clean and clear as possible.” Hmm, then we expect less tall condos and office buildings to be built.
But doesn't being named a Living Landmark count for anything? If CB5 rejects Elaine Orbach's and Jerry's old mother plea, all is not lost: Community Board 4 controls the other side of the street. But, really, the civic thing to do would be to name the street after Jerry.
Here are some Lennie Briscoe quote pages: Lennie Briscoe One Liners, the Quotable Lennie Briscoe and The Quotes. All of 'em are great: "All this evidence kind of takes the fun out of it.", ""He confessed so fast, I thought I'd have him do the paperwork.", and "My grandmother had an apartment like this, only it was on Delancy, not Madison." And here's a clip of Jerry Orbach singing "Try to Remember" from The Fantasticks.
Photograph of Jerry Orbach filming one of his last scenes as Detective Lennie Briscoe taken in 2004