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Miles Davis Street Sign Gets Nod from UWS Community Board

By Emily Frost | September 25, 2013 3:59pm
 A sign with Miles Davis' name will be installed on West 77th Street to reflect his residence on the block. 
Miles Davis Sign Approved for UWS
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UPPER WEST SIDE — Miles Davis' permanent place in the Upper West Side's history is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Community Board 7's Transportation Committee agreed Tuesday night to honor the jazz legend with a street sign on the northwest corner of West 77th Street and West End Avenue to mark Davis' 25 years as a resident on the block. 

"He’s probably one of the most important jazz icons of the modern era," said Shirley Zaifrau, who said she's been advocating for the street sign for her former neighbor since 2010. 

The committee said it usually favors commemorative plaques to street signs, but has allowed signs in the past. 

A medallion to mark Davis' home at 312 West 77th Street was awarded last May, but Zaifrau said it's being held in storage until the building resolves a violation it incurred with the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission that prevents it from hanging the commemorative piece. 

In 1990, the building changed its windows without a permit, violating the city's rules for landmarked buildings, said Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the LPC. 

But the violation is decades-old and would require a substantial investment to lift, property co-owner Marjorie Rutimann has said. 

Board member Ken Coughlin pointed out that a street sign would make the medallion redundant, but the committee acknowledged that the madallion's hanging might not happen for some time. 

"With this kind of violation, it likely wont be fixed until the building is sold," said co-chair Andrew Albert.

The eight committee members present unanimously approved the addition of the sign. The board's final decision will be made on Oct. 2, and if approved would need City Councilwoman Gale Brewer's approval as well.