More than six months after Joey Ramone’s death from lymphatic cancer, the Ramones frontman may have the corner of East Second Street and the Bowery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side named for him. A proposition before Community Board 3 would rename the corner, which neighbors the legendary club CBGB’s where the Ramones got their start, Joey Ramone Way.
Longtime resident and CBGB club owner Hilly Kristal believes that Ramone embodied the spirit of punk and the Lower East Side. “He represents a new ilk of musicians and artists, and it crosses lines from music into art into theater because everybody knows Joey,” Kristal says. “But I think even in the last number of years, he gave back a lot to a lot of musicians. He was a very healthy influence on young people. And of course his home was Second Steet”
The fifty-member community board must approve the proposal at their next meeting on November 15th, and Kristal sees no reason why the measure would not pass.
“Joey played here a lot of years,” Kristal says. “I think he’s very important as an example of people who come from the East Village, but he’s a New Yorker — lived here, prospered and developed. There are others of course: Patti Smith, Blondie. But more than anybody, he’s a figurehead, more renowned in a way and he transcends different ages. People who are teachers know about the Ramones, and the hardcore kids still know about the Ramones and Joey. So it’s very appropriate, especially on that corner where he lived and where he played.”
As for what Ramone would have thought of the honor, Kristal says, “I think he would he have been kind of embarrassingly pleased.”