THELONIOUS! A SIGN TO HONOR THE JAZZ GREAT GETS ONE BIG THING WRONG, SAY FANS

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:

Letter to DOT about Thelonious Monk Street Sign by Ken Biberaj

Photo courtesy of Ken Biberaj.

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    1. Richelle says:

      BRAVO, Ken…you have my VOTE!!! See you next week at the event!

    2. m says:

      Thanks, Ken! If they have the time and money to take down the ‘Do not Honk’ signs, they can fix this.

    3. Hey, I took the photo above and posted it on twitter on Nov. 28! How about a credit? In any case, I’m glad Monk is getting some respect from NYC,

      -Miles Okazaki
      NYC Musician

    4. julie stone says:

      Good for you Ken! I’m so sorry you were not elected! I really like your style and your intelligence.
      As someone pointed out, the jerks took down the signs to stop honking.. I’m awake most of the night from the noise from the aggressive honking made presumably from the bridge and tunnell nut-jobs and the taxis who have no respect for those of us who live here on the UWS.