A Street Corner Named Miles Davis: Former Neighbor Wants To Name NYC Corner After The Jazz Legend

The street address ‘312 West 77th Street’ in New York City’s Upper West Side was home to Miles Davis for about 25 years. Now a former neighbor wants to name a nearby corner after the jazz icon.

And to that we say ‘huzzah!’ What a grand idea.

Writing at DNAinfo.com, Leslie Albrecht has the story on Shirley Zafirau, who’s lived on West 77th Street since 1963 and is leading the charge to honor Davis.

“He was a nice neighbor,” said Zafirau. “He was a very complex personality. He wanted this bad, tough image out there, maybe to keep people away, but he was a wonderful neighbor.”

Zafirau wants people to know that Davis spent many years on the block, a time she recalls fondly. She said Davis would sit on a stone wall in front of his house and ask her, “Hey, how’s it going?” in his distinctive growl. In the summer, Davis and musician friends would jam outside, Zafirau said.

Albrecht points out that Davis lived at the 312 West 77th Street address for about 25 years starting in 1958.

She also catches up with Ashley Khan (author of “Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece”), who told her that, “Miles was always very sensitive to racial and social issues.”

“That (incident) for him was very telling, and it was very telling of the time,” Kahn added. “Even in a place as progressive as New York he was breaking a color barrier by purchasing a brownstone on the Upper West Side.”

The article tells us that Zafirau submitted her request to Community Board 7’s transportation committee this week. Looks like she’ll need the support of the current owners of 312 West 77th Street, then present the idea at Community Board 7’s full board meeting on Nov. 3.

Let’s just go ahead and send over a complementary box of Miles Davis CDs to the current owners.

While it might seem like a small bit of community legislation to bless and move on, the street corner project is no slam dunk. Albrecht writes that plans to name streets after famous people ‘sometimes get a cool reception;’ the board voted against a bid to rename Central Park West and West 72nd Street after John Lennon last year.

It seems neighbors complained it could turn their street into a tourist circus. Sure, I might want a few photos next to a Miles Davis street corner, but I promise to be quiet about it.

This a terrific idea by Shirley Zafirau, and I hope the Community Board 7 will see it the same way.

Click HERE to read the complete story about 312 West 77th Street and Miles Davis.


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