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Mayor de Blasio Names West 33rd Street Next to Madison Square Garden "Muhammad Ali Way"

June 7, 2016

Honoring “The Greatest,” street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues will be temporarily renamed for the next week

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that West 33rd Street adjacent to Madison Square Garden will be temporarily renamed for legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who passed away last Friday at the age of 74.

“Muhammad Ali was a champion, activist and the self-proclaimed Greatest,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Throughout his life he lived up to that title again and again – and today, we are paying tribute to the man in the heart of this City. Ali never backed down from a fight in or outside the ring, and because The World’s Most Famous Arena hosted some of Muhammad Ali’s greatest fights within the ring, including the ‘Fight of the Century’ against Joe Frazier in 1971, he deserves this naming honor and more.”

“Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest figures to ever grace Madison Square Garden. His eight fights at The World's Most Famous Arena - including his epic, 1971 ‘Fight of the Century’ against the legendary Joe Frazier - helped cement his reputation as one of the greatest fighters of all time, and contributed to the Garden's enduring legacy as the Mecca of Boxing,” said Spokesman for Madison Square Garden.

"Muhammad Ali was a giant, a man whose courage and dignity outside the boxing ring matched his achievements within it," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Honoring him with a street renaming in the heart of our city, within sight of Madison Square Garden, is a fitting tribute."

Congresswoman Maloney said, "An extraordinary athlete, civil rights leader and humanitarian, Muhammed Ali inspired, motivated and thrilled millions. He made an enormous difference in the world by standing up for what he believed and refusing to back down. I am delighted that the City will be renaming a street for the greatest of all time."

"It's a fitting tribute to name the street next to Madison Square Garden in honor of the Greatest, who gave this historic arena some of its most cherished moments. Muhammad Ali was not only the greatest boxer of all time, but fought battles against inequality and injustice with the same tenacity he displayed in the ring. He was an inspiring man, whose towering legacy will never be forgotten. He will forever 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee'," said State Senator Adriano Espaillat.

“Muhammad Ali was an Olympian figure who was revered around the world for his dedication to his principles, his faith and his advocacy for peace and tolerance.  He inspired others through his indomitable spirit. It is fitting that New York City, the capital of the world, should honor Muhammad Ali, a true world champion,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, who represents the area where Madison Square Garden is located.

“Muhammad Ali inspired America with his bravery,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “He stood up to forces of injustice and he prevailed. In doing so, he changed the world. It is fitting that this street co-naming is taking place at Madison Square Garden, site of the ‘Fight of the Century.’ I thank Mayor de Blasio for honoring his memory.”

Temporary street signs are only posted for a matter of days. A permanent name change for a street is handled through the legislative process following the introduction of a co-naming by a City Council Member, followed by Council approval and a mayoral signature. In 1984, Mayor Ed Koch signed legislation naming the adjacent plazas on the Seventh Avenue, Eighth Avenue and West 33rd Street sides of the Garden “Joe Louis Plaza,” honoring Joe Louis (1914-1981), an earlier legendary heavyweight champion. Neither the temporary designation nor a permanent one honoring Ali would change the previous designation of Joe Louis Plaza.

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