At long last, Morningside Heights has gotten its George Carlin Way. The late comedian's fans have been petitioning for a small stretch of West 121st Street to be renamed in his honor for years, and yesterday Mayor de Blasio put a ring on it, signing the street name into law. Oh, and thanks to a clerical error, there's a Catholic Church smack dab in the middle, so you know that "invisible man in the sky who watches everything you do" has a sense of humor, at least.
Carlin—who most people know as the man who yelled "Shit-Piss-Fuck-Cunt-Cocksucker-Motherfucker-Tits" onstage, but who I will always remember as the Station Master on Shining Time Station—died of heart failure in 2008 at age 71. And in 2011, a group of fans started a petition to get West 121st St between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway named after the Morningside Heights native. That dream became a reality yesterday, but thanks to a clerical error, the new "George Carlin Way" encompasses two blocks, not just one—the second block is home to the Corpus Christi Church, where Carlin was a practicing Catholic "until I reached the age of reason."
Priests at the church have been opposing the Carlin street name for years, probably since the comedian mocked it, Catholicism, the Pope and religion mercilessly when he was alive. The city says they'll fix the error by the fall, but you can't script this kind of human comedy. "That’s funny,” Carlin's daughter, Kelly Carlin, told the Times when she learned of the error. “Who knows if they’ll get around to amending it?” A comedian who helped spearhead the renaming effort told the paper that Carlin "“would have been tickled by all of this.”
Wherever you are, Carlin, remember that God loves you, and he needs money.