JOEY RAMONE PLACE
- STREET SIGN IN NEW YORK


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HEADLINES:
1) HOW IT ALL STARTED/ BASIC INFOS.
2) IT WAS A LONG PROCESS.
3) JOEY RAMONE PLACE STREET SIGN CEREMONY.
4) SIGN WAS STOLEN ALREADY FOURTH TIME IN 2003-2010. SIGN HAD TO RAISE UP MORE. IT WAS STOLEN ALSO LATER.
5) ARTICLES RELATED TO JOEY RAMONE PLACE IN 2001-2003.





1) HOW IT ALL STARTED/ BASIC INFOS:

(Photo of Arturo Vega is taken by Dean Roderick. Another photo has Maureen Wojciechowski, John Holmstrom and Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone (I am standing). Maureen Wojciechowski is mother of Joey Ramone Place idea).

After Joey Ramone Birthday Bash memorial event on May 19, 2001 (Joey became 50 years young that day), Maureen Wojciechowski got idea of honorary street sign for Joey Ramone. Thanks Maureen (she was then 20 years old).
I think I have met Maureen only once, at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash in 2002. After it Maureen, I, and John Holmstrom were hanging out. Also I think, I only has one photo of her from that meeting (see it in right). Many of you are probably aware that John Holmstrom is one of the founders of Punk Magazine.
Here is small comment how John wrote of Maureen for
Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone.
John Holmstrom: "Maureen Wojciechowski talked about her campaign to rename the corner of The Bowery and 2nd Street, just above CBGB's, Joey Ramone Place. She encouraged everyone to call Rosie Mendez, the city councilwoman who's handling the legislation. I guess it worked - on Monday, Ms. Mendez said her office had gotten a bunch of calls, but that the bill needed some more paperwork before it could be sent to the City Council to be turned into a bill".

In 2001, Maureen had to "introduce" Joey Ramone to Community Board 3 in October, 2001. With her came Joey's mother Charlotte (RIP), John Holmstrom etc. Maureen wrote to me that only two of the eight board members said they had ever heard of the Ramones. So there was a lot of work to do. The board members asked Maureen to make clear what CBGB & the other neighbours would think of that etc. They asked her to come back in November 2001... The second community board meeting to approve the honorary street sign with the name of Joey Ramone Place was a success. The Public Safety and Transportation Committee of Manhattan's Community Board 3 approved a proposition by Maureen Wojciechowski. Hilly Kristal (RIP), owner of CBGB's, attended the meeting, as did Charlotte (RIP)& John Holmstrom.

Here are some comments I had included for my first Ramones book Heaven Needed A Lead Singer: Fans Remember Joey Ramone.
First I include one part Maureen wrote for me.
Maureen Wojciechowski: "There will never be anyone that can replace Joey Ramone. Joey changed the way we looked at people, that the most expensive clothes, dating the captain of the football team, or being homecoming queen wasn't what it meant to be cool. He showed us that standing out wasn't such a horrible thing. This lesson helped get me through my school years of being targeted for being an individual.
Along with being an amazing singer, and a role model, Joey Ramone was truly one of the nicest people I have ever met. I wished when I met him I wasn't crying because I really was having the worst day in the world. He was very gracious, kind, and humble for being such a big celebrity. It was like talking to an old friend. He's one of those people that if you met, you never forgot.
These were all the reasons why I started the campaign for Joey Ramone Place. It's a place to say "I remember you" from the people and city that he loved, and that loved him right back."

In one point of this progress, Ramones' creative director etc. Arturo Vega read long letter what explained a lot.
Arturo Vega: "I moved into the building at 6 East & 2nd Street in the fall of 1973. I found a place I could afford in a neighbourhood I felt comfortable. In my opinion one of the best things that happened was the arrival of the original musical movement that was labeled punkrock - centered at CBGB's and championed by the Ramones, whose lead singer Joey became my roommate.
Joey in particular identified strongly with the East Village, and never moved out of it. He was restless when it came to promoting its music scene; after a while his cool, easy going, and positive attitude made him a favorite with the locals who felt familiar enough with him to yell a "Hey Joey" whenever they spotted him walking down the street. Seeing a street sign with Joey's name on it would put a smile on a lot of people's faces, bringing a lot of good will to our community.

And here are thoughs by Hilly Kristal (RIP, founder of the CBGB): "Joey Ramone helped countless musicians, more than any other artist I can think of. He stood for something good. Joey left a very important mark on New York and the East Village, especially, and I'm proud that he played CBGB's and proud that he made his home here."

Maureen, if you read this, please get in touch with me (2010). Or if someone knows where she lives (she has changed her E-mail address and possibly also got married and changed surname, as can't find her contact infos from internet anymore).

Read Maureen's two interviews/ and articles how all started, click here to read article from NY Times on October 21, 2001 and read here article from MTV.com from November 8, 2001.






2) LONG PROCESS

Progress was going on, going on...
Arturo Vega wrote in February 2, 2003 following:
Arturo Vega: The city of New York took one more step towards renaming the corner of 2nd Street and the Bowery Joey Ramone Place. The Council finally took a resolution bringing the process closer to complition. A good reason to move forward was the initiative to name other parts of the city to honor victims of the attack of September 11, 2001.

The New York City Community Board # 3 voted unanimously to approve the petition to rename the corner of 2nd Street and the Bowery: Joey Ramone Place.

Arturo Vega told, that this means the people has spoken and the biggest obstacle has been cleared, but it doesn't mean it's all over. Now it's in the hands of the local politicians who have to be convinced that somehow they can benefit from it. And given the fact that the city is in crisis, and that the government is changing this could mean delays, but.... It's only a matter of time now.
Arturo read his letter at the community board meeting and he organised campaign. There were two different Joey Ramone Place T-shirts, the proceeds from those sales went to benefit community projects in the East Village.

...and we won...





3) JOEY RAMONE PLACE STREET SIGN CEREMONY

(Collage in right. Four photos are taken by Dean Roderick: Upmost: Tommy Ramone, Marky Ramone and Joey Ramone's brother Mickey Leigh.
Middle: Little Steven (Bruce Springsteen's The E Street Band, Sopranos etc.), Hilly Kristal (CBGB's) and Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group etc.).
Photos in topmost are taken by Deborah Olin: Joey's uncle Sy Hyman, Joey's mother Charlotte Lesher (RIP) and Jim Jarmusch (independent filmmaker).


The city of New York renamed the corner of 2nd Street and the Bowery on November 30, 2003 at 1PM. There was an official ceremony, when they put sign also. Also celebration was at CBGB. From the beginning it was going to be Joey Ramone Place, but Joey's brother Mickey Leigh wrote on November 24, 2003: "The Dept of Traffic informed us TODAY!, that the street sign they made will say "Joey Ramone Way" not the aforementioned "Joey Ramone Place" which had been the plan from the inception, and was the name approved by the city council people."

But as we know, we got Joey Ramone Place.
And then afternoon November 28, sign was placed to wrong place, to the front of CBGB, but then Arturo Vega changed place to correct location etc. Arturo Vega wrote on early November, 2003:
Arturo: We think it's the perfect spot to honor Joey since it's half a block away both from CBGB, the Bowery joint that saw the beginning of the Ramones career, and the Ramones Loft on 2nd Street that Joey, Dee Dee and I shared in the 70's.

And finally was day - November 30, 2003, our dear Joey Ramone got his way, where we all fans can meet mentally with him. Joey Ramone Place sign was covered with Ramones Eagle logo T-shirt before cerenomies started. At first there was cerenomy inside CBGB's club (RIP) where Joey's family, friends and fans delivered heartfelt tributes to Joey. CBGB's was totally full. then started cerenomies outside CBGB, where after a few words by Joey's family and the local city officials that supported the event, the crowd started a chant of Hey Ho Let's Go, followed by a countdown, then the Ramones Eagle logo T-shirt covering the sign was pulled by Arturo Vega and crowd went wild after seeing Joey Ramone Place. During these cerenomies were speaking in example Joey's mother Charlotte Lesher (RIP) and brother Mickey Leigh, and Tommy Ramone, Marky Ramone, Hilly Kristal (RIP), Arturo Vega, Steven Van Zandt, Danny Fields, Jim Jarmusch, Lenny Kaye, Kevin Patrick, Jesse Malin, Handsome Dick Manitoba, Andy Shernoff, Richie Stotts, Donna Gaines, Meg Griffin, Vin Scelsa, Rachel Felder, George Seminara, Ray Goodman and Jimmy Webb (Trash & Vaudeville), Sonia Sanchez (Wowsville), Dave Frey, Sy Hyman etc.

Don't forget to check
out also CBGB's site.


Here you can read story by Linda Iorio:
I went to the unveiling of "Joey Ramone Place" in NYC today -- the corner of East 2nd St. & Bowery, which is right near CBGB's. This project has been in the works for over a year, and it was originally conceived by a Ramones fan named Maureen, who is only 20 or 21 years old. I went to some of the early City Council meetings and it was a lot of red tape to get this project off the ground.
There were hundreds of people there, crowded on the street corner. There were kids as young as 6 months old, up to old punks in their 50's. The actual street sign was covered in a black Ramones T-shirt with a rope attached, and was unveiled by Arturo Vega, the band's longtime friend and art director. Arturo took off his shirt to reveal a huge Ramones "logo" tattoo on his back (he's the artist behind the famous logo and all the Ramones' T-shirts).
Joey's mother, Charlotte was there, his brother Mickey Leigh, among other Ramones significant others -- Marky Ramone, Legs McNeil (author of Please Kill Me, a punk biography), John Holmstrom (of Punk magazine), Jesse Malin, Steve Van Zandt, the City Council woman who signed the necessary papers to name the street, and others.
I didn't see Steven Van Zandt because he was inside CBGB's with the others for a pre-unveiling ceremony, but I didn't know this until it was too late and they weren't letting any more people inside. So I just waited outside on the street corner with hundreds of other fans. I saw quite a few familiar faces from in & around the NYC music scene too.
Eyewitness News was there, and I tried calling someone at home to set their VCR, but afterwards I asked the reporter what time the News was on, and she said she was from radio, not TV. 1010WINS (NY) radio was there and I heard the story on my ride home tonight. Charlotte said it was the best day of her life, and that she'd probably cause an accident every time she drives by the sign! I've met her several times, and she's always such a lovely and gracious lady. She had tears in her eyes as she spoke to the crowd and to the 1010WINS reporter. The reporter got everyone to chant the famous Ramones' rave-up, "Hey Ho, Let's Go", and there was Charlotte, with the rest of us, chanting and pumping her fist in the air! A young girl gave her a framed drawing she drew of Joey, and Charlotte was deeply touched.
It was a historical day for punkers everywhere!





4) SIGN WAS STOLEN FOUR TIMES IN 2003-2010. SIGN HAD TO RAISE UP MORE. IT WAS STOLEN ALSO LATER.


Joey Ramone's brother Mickey Leigh wrote on October 20, 2008 that Joey Ramone Place sign is now across Bowery, instead of across 2nd St. It was changed because one guy was trying to steal it.
I do anyway wants to keep this story still here about crime. Joey Ramone's brother Mickey Leigh wrote following on September 28, 2008 (luckily that guy got arrested):

Mickey Leigh:Joey Ramone Street Sign Bandit Caught!
On September 7, a 28 year old man tried to steal the Joey Ramone Place street sign. The criminal was caught in the act by Joey Ramone Place resident Chuck Smith, a next door neighbor of Ramone's staffer, Arturo Vega. Chuck tried to convince the crook to stop but the guy proceeded, saying he worked for NYC, and the city was giving the sign to Joey's uncle. The cretin nabbed the sign and began to walk away with it - with Chuck in pursuit. Finally, Chuck summoned a passing police car. The cops apprehended the thief and arrested him.
Thanks to the support of some good people in the city's government the sign will be replaced soon.* A huge thank you to Chuck, for boldy and effectively preventing Joey's sign from being stolen; and to Arturo who is keeping in touch with the authorities to ensure the sign gets restored to it's rightful place where people - Ramones fans, punk rock fans, and just curious people from all over the world are assured to see it. It might be the only thing remaining on the Bowery that can remind everyone of why they are there, and who paved the way for them.
Thanks also to Danny Fields for first report of the incident to us, as Arturo was out of town at the time. (September 29, 2008)

...and...

ARTICLE ON NEW YORK POST BY JEREMY OLSHAN ON SEPTEMBER 27, 2010.

Joey's 'high' note
Why street sign is going 'up'?
Nine years after his death, punk legend Joey Ramone has gone to an even higher place. The ceremonial street sign placed in his honor at the corner of Bowery and East Second Street had to be raised a full eight feet because thieving fans kept snatching it, city officials told The Post.
Joey Ramone Place is perhaps the most stolen of the 250,900 street signs in New York, according to the Department of Transportation, which recently asked contractors to install the sign for the fourth time since 2003.
He would have appreciated the distinction, said the group's longtime drummer, Marky Ramone. "But maybe they should find a better way to attach it," he said. "Now you have to be an NBA player to see it."
Although most street signs are about 12 to 14 feet off the ground, Joey Ramone Place was raised to 20 feet, an oddity first noted on the blog EV Grieve. Though he wasn't aware so many thieves had given the sign the "Hey Ho," Marky said he can't think of a better tribute.
"Every time I turn down Second Street, I look up and say, 'Hey Joey, you belong up there,' " he said.
The Bowery has become much more sedate since the death of the original three Ramones. And with CBGB -- the Bowery venue where the Ramones, and punk, started -- closed for good, the sign has become a crucial reminder of the corner's role in music history, Marky said.
"It's a really nice tribute to a frontman who started the genre we call punk rock," he added.





5) ARTICLES RELATED TO JOEY RAMONE PLACE IN 2001-2003

1) ARTICLE ON VILLAGE VOICE BY
DONNA GAINES, ISSUE DECEMBER 10-16, 2003.
2) ARTICLE ON ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE BY ANDREW DANSBY ON NOVEMBER 10, 2003.
3) NEWSPAPER ARTICLE/ MAUREEN WOJCIECHOWSKI'S INTERVIEW FROM NEW YORK TIMES BY DENNY LEE ON NOVEMBER 8, 2001.
4) NEWSPAPER ARTICLE/ MAUREEN WOJCIECHOWSKI'S INTERVIEW FROM MTV.COM BY JOE D'ANGELO ON NOVEMBER 8, 2001.


ARTICLE ON VILLAGE VOICE BY DONNA GAINES, ISSUE DECEMBER 10-16, 2003

Not 53rd & 3rd
Joey Ramone Gets His Place (in the 9-to-5 world, and beyond)

By 1 p.m., two generations of punk loyalists had swarmed the corner of East 2nd Street and the Bowery for the city's formal dedication of Joey Ramone Place, immortalizing the relationship between the King of Punk and the city that spawned him. Following Joey's untimely death in 2001, a teenage fan from Staten Island spearheaded the street sign movement. On Sunday, November 30, her dream came true-now punks have something to lean against.
Meantime, inside CBGB, high mass was in progress. Joey's brother-guitarist Mickey Leigh-and Punk magazine founders Legs McNeil and John Holmstrom officiated, as a parade of family, friends, scene entrepreneurs, and luminaries offered heartfelt testimonials to the huddled masses. Marky Ramone said, "Joey was a true New Yorker, and only a New Yorker could have spawned the Ramones." Talking Heads' Chris Franz observed, "Joey Ramone was an outsider artist. He was a person who truly lived at the edge while challenging our traditional cultural values." The Dictators' Dick Manitoba quipped, "What's the big deal about a street sign? It should be fucking Joey Ramone Boulevard!"
Borrowing from Gandhi, Ramones artistic director Arturo Vega summed up the Ramones' last 30 years: "At the beginning, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." Indeed, Joey's punk politics permeated this bittersweet family affair. The cultural freedom-fighter from Forest Hills demanded the airwaves and open space for kids to create and consume music. The street sign symbolizes CBGB's role in the end-of-the-century revitalization of the Bowery. Now, as condos and luxury buildings impose themselves upon the landscape, and landlord greed and NYU encroachment threaten to shut CBGB, Lenny Kaye applauded the sign as a historical referent in an ominous future.
Sporting a CBGB T-shirt, with a proclamation signed and sealed by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, Council- man Alan Gerson formally declared November 30 "Joey Ramone Day." At around 2:30 p.m., the sign, covered with a black Ramones T-shirt, was unveiled amid hearty chants of "hey ho let's go." A giant Joey Ramone puppet head on a stick carried a sign, a prayer; "1-2-3-4ever in our heart, soul, gut." Meantime, everyone began placing their bets: "How long do you think it will be before some punk steals that sign?"





ARTICLE ON ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE BY ANDREW DANSBY ON NOVEMBER 10, 2003

Joey Ramone Gets Street Cred.
The corner of Second Street and the Bowery in New York City will officially be named Joey Ramone Place during a November 30th ceremony.
Ramone's corner is on the north side of the block that houses CBGB, the legendary club where the Ramones helped usher in punk rock.
"As far as the city recognizing Joey, it's about time," CB's owner Hilly Kristal says. "The Ramones meant a lot to this city and to music. They were the original punk rock band. Their longevity supercedes anybody who sold more records, and the consistency and meaning of their name is greater than anybody in the punk rock field."
The location is almost as much a tip to Kristal's club as it is to Ramone, who found his faux-sib bandmates closer to his home in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, New York. CBGB celebrates its thirtieth anniversary next month, and Kristal figures it was within the venue's first six months that the Ramones made their first appearance. In an online history of CB's, Kristal recalled thinking at first that the Ramones were "the most untogether group I'd ever heard . . . a mess." But he became a champion for the nascent punk scene despite the fact that his club's name stood for Country Bluegrass Blues. "The key is that Joey and [bassist] Dee Dee wrote great little songs," he says. "They were not pretentious, just real and simple back to rock & roll-type songs. It's why you still hear them today."
Ramone's fans had been trying to get the corner named after him almost immediately after his death, from cancer, in April 2001. While the group never enjoyed much commercial success during its time, the past few years have seen a greater sense of appreciation for the Ramones, including a tribute album and their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Dee Dee Ramone died later that year, leaving guitarist Johnny Ramone and drummer Tommy Ramone as the sole surviving members of the band's original lineup.
The ceremony for the installation of the Joey Ramone Place sign is scheduled for 1 p.m. on the 30th.





NEWSPAPER ARTICLE/ MAUREEN WOJCIECHOWSKI'S INTERVIEW FROM NEW YORK TIMES BY DENNY LEE ON NOVEMBER 8, 2001.

Ramone Fans Say Love Never Dies
"Who is Joey Ramone?"

Maureen Wojciechowski, a 20-year-old from Staten Island, faced that question last week. She had come to Community Board 3 seeking its approval to name the block of the Bowery in front of CBGB, the fabled East Village club, after the gawky, mop-headed icon of punk who died of cancer April 15.

But only two of the eight board members said they had heard of his band, the Ramones. So Morris Faitelewicz, chairman of the board's Transportation Committee, asked for a primer.

Ms. Wojciechowski, a lifelong fan who wore black eyeliner and matching nail polish for the occasion, nervously described "the homegrown group" that gave birth to an international style of music. "When the Ramones and other bands played at CBGB," she said, "it made the Bowery more of a happening place."

Several friends came along to back her up, including Mr. Ramone's mother, Charlotte Lesher, and John Holmstrom, a co- founder of Punk magazine who coined the name of the music.

Mr. Holmstrom, dressed in a black leather jacket and a Ramones T-shirt, broke into song. "Hey, ho, let's go!" he chanted repeatedly, invoking the reprise to the Ramones' 1976 track "Blitzkrieg Bop." "They play it at every sports stadium in the country."

But these testimonials seemed to fall short. Did CBGB support the honorary street name? Would other music legends be offended? Were any neighbors opposed? The board asked Ms. Wojciechowski to do some homework and return next month.

Hilly Kristal, the owner of CBGB, which is on the Bowery between First and Second Streets, seemed to support the idea.

"This was their launching pad," he said in an interview, explaining why hundreds of Ramones fans had turned his club into a shrine this spring. "And they helped solidify CBGB's reputation as the punk capital."

After the meeting, the punk rock fans were holding a powwow in the hallway when an unnamed representative from the city's Department of Transportation approached to sign a "Road for Joey" petition. Mr. Ramone, it seems, had a fan inside the agency that puts up street signs.

The whole thing resembled a scene from "Rock 'n' Roll High School," the 1979 cult film about a bunch of misfits hellbent on subverting their music-hating principal with the aid of their favorite band, the Ramones.

"Joey changed the way we looked at other people," Ms. Wojciechowski said. "You didn't have to be the most popular, the most talented or the best looking. He said anyone could be cool."





NEWSPAPER ARTICLE/ MAUREEN WOJCIECHOWSKI'S INTERVIEW FROM MTV.COM BY JOE D'ANGELO ON NOVEMBER 8, 2001.

NEW YORK The East Village street corner located a few yards away from legendary punk club CBGB is one step closer to being known as Joey Ramone Place.

On Wednesday, the Public Safety and Transportation Committee of Manhattan's Community Board 3 unanimously approved a proposition by 20-year-old Maureen Wojciechowski to dub the corner of East Second Street and the Bowery after the late punk icon who, along with the likes of Patti Smith, Television and the Talking Heads, helped bring the genre to life at CBGB in the mid-'70s.

"I came up with the idea right after Joey's 50th birthday, but wasn't sure exactly how," Wojciechowski, a Staten Island resident, said. "Then someone mentioned honorary street signs, and how, as is the case with most in the city, no one knows who they are [named for]. So I thought, 'That's it. I'll put one up for Joey Ramone.' "

In order for Joey Ramone Place to become a reality, the proposal must be approved by the 50-member community board at a meeting on November 15. Members of the committee said they're fairly confident their decision in favor of the honorary street sign won't be met with opposition.

Wojciechowski first approached the board in October, and she was instructed to return with a petition of support signed by local residents and businesses, which she brought to Wednesday's meeting.

"The Ramones were just so much fun, and Joey was such an individual," Wojciechowski said. "Twenty years later he was still the same person that he was in the '70s nothing changed. I saw him two years ago, and he looked exactly as he did in 1978. He was true to New York City, and he was really cool."

Hilly Kristal, owner of CBGB, attended the meeting, as did Ramone's mother, Charlotte Lesher, and John Holmstrom, co-founder of Punk magazine, who gave a name to the punk movement. "The East Village, probably more than any other place in the city, historically has been the melting pot of people who became famous and went to do wonderful things," said Kristal, a 28-year resident of the community. "Joey Ramone helped countless musicians, more than any other artist I can think of. He stood for something good. Joey left a very important mark on New York and the East Village, especially, and I'm proud that he played CB's and proud that he made his home here."

Although the proposal was to bestow the honor on a single corner, Wojciechowski said she'd like to see Joey Ramone Place stretch one crosstown block to Second Avenue.





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