On Sunday, October 28th, the City of New York held a ceremony to officially rename a Queens city block after late Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker. The street sign for Walter Becker Way is now posted on the corner of 112th Street and 72nd Drive. According to an early release about the re-naming that mirrors the late Becker’s sly sense of humor, “This represents the kind of street credibility that Becker truly would have appreciated!”
The festivities were hosted by Jim Kerr of New York’s Classic Rock Q104.3. City Council Member Karen Koslowitz, the councilwoman who proposed the name change, was also on hand for the hour-long ceremony. The event’s keynote speaker was Howard A. Rodman, a screenwriter who similarly grew up in the neighborhood and met and befriended Becker at the age of 10, beginning a lifelong friendship.
You can watch a live-streamed video and check out photos from the ceremony below via Q104.3:
Walter Becker Way Dedication Ceremony
View this post on Instagram
The Forest Hills street on which Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker grew up (112th St and 72nd Dr) is now “Walter Becker Way”! Thanks to Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz and everyone who joined in on our tribute to Walter and his music! #steelydan #walterbecker #walterbeckerway 🎸🎶🎵
The New York City Council customarily uses street co-naming to honor New York-based activists, cultural heroes, and community leaders whose contributions continue to reverberate in the city and beyond. You can look through a database of other eponymous honorary NYC street names here. Now, you can add Walter Becker Way to this esteemed list of influencers.
This is not the first time Walter Becker’s accomplishments have been honored on a public stage in New York City. On October 29th, 2015, the Empire State Building celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Master FM Antenna, which sits atop the world-famous skyscraper and anchors the iconic Manhattan skyline. Legendary lighting designer Marc Brickman—who has also orchestrated Empire State Building light shows for GD50 and Dead & Company—fittingly choreographed the LED Tower Lights to Steely Dan’s 1978 hit, “FM (No Static at All).” The song was written as the lead single for the film FM, which was about disc jockeys working at a popular radio station fighting to keep radio freeform. You can watch aerial footage of the spectacle here.