Sunday, December 21, 2008

Will Mayor Bloomberg Play the Scrooge? Or Make Marx Brothers Place a Reality?

Susan Hefti of the 93rd Street Beautification Association, in an e-blast to her growing, increasingly vocal constituency, has a message for Mayor Bloomberg. The question is whether, by spending not one dollar, he will listen. Mr. Mayor, hello? Is there a good reason NOT to proclaim Marx Brothers Place? Here, read the email from Susan -- and you decide.

NYC's Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, has long been known for his generous largess—saving, for example, a struggling ballet school uptown, much to the delight and surprise of the very grateful recipient of his unexpected gift. Acts of kindness and good will, like this one, have loaned a certain charm to the Mayor's reputation over the years.

But, in the wake of the Mayor's recent and notorious end run around two voter referenda on term limits, his reputation has, according to polls on the subject, taken a real beating.

So as acts of generosity and kindness always seem to take on a special glow during the holidays, offering as they do hope for the human spirit, we have a very simple suggestion of a Mayoral gesture that might help to smooth out some of the dings left behind by the bitterly contested Council vote, and this gesture won't cost the Mayor a dime!

One of the many perks of being Mayor of this great city is that the office carries with it the authority to ceremonially co-name streets throughout the five boroughs. Mayor Koch made good use of this official gesture when he co-named a block on 91st Street James Cagney Place in honor of the late great actor whose childhood home once stood there, but which was sadly demolished before Koch had a chance to bestow the honor.

As many of you know, we have been campaigning to have East 93rd Street, between Lexington & Third Avenues, the site of the beloved childhood home of the Marx Brothers, to be eponymously co-named Marx Brothers Place in honor of NYC's greatest gift to the world stage of comedy. It was actually the celebrated preservationist, Tony C. Wood, who first came up with the name Marx Brothers Place, and what a great idea it was!

So we hope that Mayor Bloomberg is feeling magnanimous this holiday season, and will grant this glorious, but cost-effective, holiday wish. A Mayoral gesture, as fine and grand as this, would be especially appreciated by neighborhood businesses who, during this economic downturn, will be the grateful beneficiaries of the foot traffic associated with becoming a true destination, especially one invested with so much good cheer.

For the Mayor's part, it would require no more than waving his magic wand to make the ceremonial name "official". Why the Mayor wouldn't even have to make the long, hard trek up our famously steep hill to deliver this particular holiday gift. He could simply announce, from the comfort of his warm office, that the deed has been done.

No environmentally unfriendly gift wrap is needed; no fancy ribbon; no squeezing down a chimney to place the ceremonial name under a tree. Simply say it is so, and it becomes Marx Brothers Place. It's just that easy.

Given the amount of good will this simple gesture would generate, and how little it would cost, its a real bargain for the city, the block and the Mayor. Everybody wins!

And talk about a bang for your buck! In one fell swoop, the Mayor would be supporting the neighborhood; local businesses; local real estate; tourism; NYC's much vaunted history; our city's cultural heritage & public identity and the unrivaled legacy of the universally recognized grandfathers of American comedy.

While some may still be harboring visions of sugarplums, we think the Mayor co-naming East 93rd Street for the greatest comic geniuses the world has ever known would simply be the sweetest holiday treat of all!

So perhaps you could all take just a moment out of your busy days to call the mayor's office at 212.788.2958 or 212.788.3245 or simply send him a cut & paste email at: (with a copy to and drop a really big hint about a very smart gift the Mayor could bestow upon historic East 93rd Street this holiday season, a gift New Yorkers would surely embrace and enjoy for generations to come.

Thanks for your continued interest in historic Marx Brothers Place!

For more information about the 93rd Street Beautification Association, please contact us at or 212.969.8138 or visit our blogs at: Save Marx Brothers Place or The Marx Brothers Place Report or view our MySpace profile.

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