MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, Manhattan (PIX11) — After a long uphill battle, late-comedian George Carlin finally got his due getting a section of West 121st Street in his old neighborhood of Morningside Heights re-named in his honor.
As family and supporters know all too well, the tribute didn’t materialize overnight.
Carlin, known for his crude standup, would sometimes target religion as well as nearby Corpus Cristi Church – the same church he attended as a child.
So when comedian Kevin Bartini led the charge to honor Carlin it was met by resistance from the church. It claimed the tribute to Carlin would encourage neighborhood children to look up and learn about the comedian.
“That was their public stance, to protect the children against seeing the sign, Googling ‘George Carlin’ and hearing 4-letter words,” Bartini told PIX11 News.
After three years and plenty of bickering, a compromise was finally made. George Carlin Way took up residence at W. 121st St. between Amsterdam and Morningside Drive, a block away from its original proposed location at 121st St between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.
“This city loved my father so how could they ultimately say no,” said Kelly Carlin, the comic’s daughter. “I mean if they would’ve said no they would’ve looked like schmucks. I knew it would happen eventually.”
Wednesday’s ceremony for the re-naming brought out the funny with some notable faces like Gilbert Godfrey and Judah Friedlander. It also managed to deliver a few good one-liners.
“Here is George whose name is going on Amsterdam Avenue which is very fitting,” brother Patrick Carlin said to a crowd of supporters. “And the church had a good workout of umbrage, ya’ know to let us know they’re still breathing.”
New York City councilman Mark Levine, who helped shepherd the proposal for the street renaming, also got into the Carlin spirit revealing the 7 dirty words that you can’t say in politics.
“Truth, truth, truth, truth, truth, truth and mother [expletive],” quipped the councilman.