NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio 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.
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.