July 2016: New York, NY: In a fitting tribute to iconic “street style” photographer Bill Cunningham, who recently passed away at the age of 87 in June, the City of New York has temporarily renamed the corner of Fifth Avenue at 57th Street as “Bill Cunningham Corner.”
The street renaming, which will last one week, came by way of an online petition signed by over 6,000 people. Permanent street renamings require City Council legislation.
In an official statement- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed ““Bill Cunningham turned our sidewalks into runways and New Yorkers into models. 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.”
New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray who attended the official ceremony noted that “ Bill Cunningham saw the style and beauty of all of our city’s citizens.”
Tourists, locals, and passers by, along with Cunningham’s friends and co-workers converged at the ritzy Midtown intersection in proximity of the Louis Vuitton store and Tiffany to commemorate the renaming ceremony.
Cunningham called his photos of well-dressed people “stunners.” John Kurdewan-his assistant was among those honoring Cunningham.
Though his images were published in a diverse array of periodicals, dailies, and books, Cunningham was best known for his tenure at the New York Times, where he worked since 1978 in a photographic series aptly entitled On The Street. However the newspaper’s use of Cunningham’s photographs is currently in legal limbo.
As the late photographer did not leave a will, nor did he sign his photos, the Times is legally prohibited from publishing any more Cunningham images until the rights issue is resolved.
Considered a pioneer in street style imagery, Cunningham’s influence on contemporary photographers, image-makers, web and print editors, and bloggers is profound and will continue to inspire future generations.