The great jazz musician and composer Thelonious Monk lived much of his life at 243 West 63rd Street, just off of West End Avenue. His ground-floor apartment was bursting with creative energy, and was just as messy apparently as most other Upper West Side apartments occupied by non-geniuses:
“Monk’s piano was notorious for its clutter. It occupied a significant portion of the kitchen and extended into the front room. The lid remained closed, since it doubled as a temporary storage space for music, miscellaneous papers, magazines, folded laundry, dishes, and any number of stray kitchen items,” a recent biography noted.
The city honored Monk, who died in 1982, by naming the cul-de-sac on the block where he lived “Thelonious Sphere Monk Circle.” But they left one thing out of the tribute: an O. As you can see in the photo above, the sign spells Thelonious as “Thelonius.”
Now, Upper West Sider Ken Biberaj, a candidate for City Council, is trying to fix the oversight. He’s urging the city to replace the sign in time for a tribute to Monk next week that will feature Monk’s music played by a trio from Juilliard.
“DOT is inspecting the location and will make any necessary adjustments, as needed,” DOT spokeswoman Nicole Garcia told us.
Update: the city changed the sign the very next day after we published our story!
Check out Ken’s letter below:
Photo courtesy of Ken Biberaj.