New York to Create Bill Cunningham Corner in Late Fashion Photographer’s Honor

The corner of 57th and 5th gets a new name.

Bill Cunningham. Courtesy of Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan.
Bill Cunningham. Courtesy of Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan.

Bill Cunningham was a fixture of the streets of New York, mounted on his bicycle and clad in his uniform of jeans and his signature French workers’s jacket. Camera in hand, the street fashion photographer, who died on June 25 at age 87, captured New Yorkers in their natural environment, leaving a careful record of what we really wear.

In honor of his life’s work (Cunningham shot for the New York Times for nearly 40 years), the city of New York will hold a ceremony on July 7 christening the northeast corner of 57th Street and 5th Avenue Bill Cunningham Corner. The temporary honor—permanent street name changes have become less common of late—is also the site, appropriately, of a Louis Vuitton store.

Bill Cunningham shooting Anna Wintour. Courtesy CreditFirst Thought Films/Zeitgeist Films.

Bill Cunningham shooting Anna Wintour. Courtesy CreditFirst Thought Films/Zeitgeist Films.

“Bill Cunningham turned our sidewalks into runways and New Yorkers into models,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “His vivid photos captured our city’s diversity in every sense of the word, and helped define New York as the fashion capital of the world.”

The ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. and will be attended by deputy mayor Alicia Glen, former Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Harold Koda, and New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet. Moving forward, the mayor’s office is looking into additional, more permanent means of honoring Cunningham and his legacy.

Bill Cunningham at the Frick Garden Party. Courtesy of Sarah Cascone.

Bill Cunningham at the Frick Garden Party. Courtesy of Sarah Cascone.

One possible solution would be a plaque bearing Cunningham’s name, similar to the one honoring Jean-Michel Basquiat set to be installed in NoHo on July 13.

There have also been movements of late to honor the recently-deceased singer David Bowie. In Berlin, there was a petition to dedicate the street where Bowie once lived to him. In South London, a mural of the singer as his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, that became a makeshift shrine to the beloved artist, musician, and art collector, may become a permanent memorial.


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