Does This Actually Honor Jane Jacobs?
Jane Jacobs. Photo via

Jane Jacobs. Photo via

The New York Times‘s City Room blog is reporting that Jane Jacobs’ block of Hudson Street, that most iconic block of the sidewalk ballet and the White Horse tavern and so many more phrases and characters iconic to anyone who cares about cities, is going to be renamed in Jacobs’ honor.

In some ways, it seems so fitting. Of all the streets given honorific names, is there anyone for whom that particular honor would be more appropriate?

But at the same time,  I actually wonder what Jane Jacobs herself would think of it. One of the things I most respect about Jacobs’ work is that it is not about her. The planner does not get primacy in her work; the men, women and children who use the streets are the characters in her telling.

It’s probably a nice thing, but it just sits uneasily with me. The street already is forever connected with Jacobs and the survival of Greenwich Village seems like the only monument that Jacobs would want for herself.

Does anyone else share my unease, or am I being crazy?

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