How To Get To Sesame Street

Sesame Street on the Upper West Side

On your way to where the air is sweet? You’ll end up on West 63rd Street and Broadway. 

Wednesday morning the City of New York named the southeast corner of West 63rd Street and Broadway Sesame Street in honor of the show’s 50th anniversary. 

The ceremony was attended by fans of the decades running show, Mayor Bill de Blasio and of course, the whole “Sesame Street” gang. Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, and Oscar the Grouch gathered at the corner on the Upper West Side to celebrate.

“Fifty years of extraordinary programming, 50 years of making people’s lives better, 50 years of helping children believe in themselves. It’s absolutely amazing. Sesame Street changed this country,” said Mayor de Blasio giving remarks. 

The mayor praised the show for its diversity and declared May 1 in the City of New York as Sesame Street Day. 

“The show made a choice long before most of the media had done it to show all of us, to represent all the people that make up our society, to show black and brown faces, young and old, male and female, and everyone on an equal footing,” said de Blasio. 

“Sesame Street” first premiered in 1969 at the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement. Set in an inner city, the show’s purpose was to educate children through the voices of a diverse cast, celebrity guests, songs, and of course, the beloved Muppet characters. In 2019, Sesame Street will begin its 50th season. 

For those passing by on the Upper West Side, they didn’t even notice the new sign.

“It doesn’t seem like the right neighborhood, there’s no front porches,” laughed Amy Voll, visiting from Rochester, New York with one of her four grandchildren across from the new street corner. 

Voll said it’s a “cute idea” but wished “it wasn’t just a street sign.”

As she strolled with her 4-month old son, Vicki S., a resident of the area, said she thought it was a “great idea,” but she pointed out that the street was also named George Balanchine Way, co-founder of the New York City Ballet. She said she hadn’t noticed that before, even though she’s lived around the corner for 10 years. 

“Frankly I’m not sure people really pay attention,” she said. “But, there are worst things that you can name the street after. Sesame Street is pretty innocuous.”

Fans at the street naming Wednesday, however, were paying attention, capping off the event with the “Sesame Street” gang singing “Sunny Days” wishing for a “sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away.”

So what’s on Sesame Street? Two banks, one Starbucks, honking taxi cabs, and now, hopefully, friendly neighbors, happy people, a whole lot of sunshine.