The Grand Concourse Walk of Fame that holds the names of 120 notable Bronxites could be getting a much-needed spruce up on its 23-block span on the borough’s most impressive thorougfare.
Currently, the yellow and brown Bronx Walk of Fame street-pole signs line the concourse from East 138th Street to East 161st with names of inductees put in no particular order.
That corridor has become quite crowded over the years as more and more famed Bronxites have received recognition on the walk for their own lifetime achievements.
“We put (their signs) where we found space,” said Bronx Tourism Council executive director Olga Luz Tirado, who’s in charge of the Bronx Walk of Fame.
She explained that where the concourse begins on East 138th Street, there are several blocks of auto body repair shops, an area that’s not appropiate for signs recognizing Bronx greats such as Stanley Kubrick.
“You certainly don’t get much foot traffic down there,” she said.
Tirado is pushing to have the Bronx Walk of Fame start at East 149th Street,the location of Hostos Community College and the former General Post Office Building, then continuing down to the Bronx Museumof Art on East 165th Street. Calling the area an economically vibrant section of the concourse, Tirado continued to explain that this proposed re-zoning would also give the Bronx Tourism Council an opportunity to categorize inductees based on the genre of their own recognition.
“Given the anticipation of the Bronx’s hip-hop museum, we would put the hip-hop artists down on East 149th Street,” Tirado said, mentioning that its close proximity to hip-hop-themed bar and restaurant Beatstro also served as inspiration for that idea.
“We could also put artists and writers near the Bronx Museum of Art, which would make perfect sense,” Tirado continued.
Relocating the Bronx Walk of Fame is only one component of the revitalization plan, though.
The small, mustard yellow and brown signs that designate each of the inductees don’t exactly carry a strong visual aesthetic, even for the most devout Cleveland Browns fan.
Tirado wants to have all the street signs re-designed in what she described as “more prominent (design) and in a lighter color.”
Since each individual street sign costs about $500, just replacing the current signs on the walk is a $60,000 dollar investment.
After her organization, which is affiliated with the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp, BOEDC, received the much needed funding from Governor Cuomo, Tirado is confident that her 5-year plan will come to fruition.
An important aspect of Tirado’s plan, if not more tangible than the renovations, would be incorporating a digital component to the Bronx Walk of Fame.
“Creating a digital map to the walk is one of the most important pieces of what we’re trying to do,” she said.
Developing an online, cross referencing system that provides the name and location of an inductee along with a biography, is next on the list of improvements for the tourism council.
“We want to have a database that can answer questions like how many Jewish people are on the walk or how many authors are there,” Tirado explained. “We have people calling with these requests anyway,” she continued.
While the plan for the walk’s makeover is still in the design phase, Tirado and the Bronx Tourism Council aim to unveil an entirely new Bronx Walk of Fame by Bronx Week 2020.