The City Council voted last week to officially name the corner of West 103 Street and Amsterdam Avenue “Norman Rockwell Place” after the famous painter. We first wrote about this last year as the community board was getting ready to vote on it. Rockwell, known for his evocative paintings of Americana, was born (in 1894) and lived the first two years of his life in a brownstone at 206 West 103rd street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.
The impetus to rename the corner came from a group of students at Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School, a school around the corner from Rockwell’s home that serves students who “have been pushed out of, or become disenchanted with their previous schools.” The students showed up to the city council meeting to watch the bill pass. Councilman Mark Levine, who helped shepherd the bill through, sent the following account:
“The idea originated from a class project by a group of students from Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School, an alternative school located around the corner from where Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894. After researching the life of the artist and visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the students began creating materials as part of a committee they formed called “Norman Rockwell Place,” which they hope to rename the corner. On Election Day, November 4, 2014, they canvassed voters at their school, a polling location, and picked up 300 signatures of support for the idea.
This past spring several of the students, lead by teacher René Mills, returned to Stockbridge to learn more about the artist, his social justice works, and continue their collaboration with Norman Rockwell Museum. The Museum’s Curator of Education, Tom Daly has been lending his support to the teens’ effort, both in Massachusetts and New York City, which has become a useful civics lesson for the students.”
Bravo to artists and students!