In 2001, Maureen had to "introduce" Joey Ramone
to Community Board 3 in October, 2001. With her came Joey's mother
Charlotte (RIP), John
Holmstrom etc. Maureen wrote to me that only two of the eight board
members said they had ever heard of the Ramones. So there was a lot of
work to do. The board members asked Maureen to make clear what CBGB &
the other neighbours would think of that etc. They asked her to come
back in November 2001...
The second community board meeting to approve the honorary street sign
with the name of Joey Ramone Place was a success. The Public Safety
and Transportation Committee of Manhattan's Community Board 3 approved a
proposition by Maureen Wojciechowski. Hilly Kristal (RIP), owner of
CBGB's, attended the meeting, as did Charlotte (RIP)& John
Here are some comments I had included for my first Ramones book Heaven Needed A
Lead Singer: Fans Remember Joey Ramone.
First I include one part Maureen wrote for me.
Maureen Wojciechowski: "There will never be
anyone that can replace Joey Ramone. Joey changed the way we looked at
people, that the most expensive clothes, dating the captain of the
football team, or being homecoming queen wasn't what it meant to be
cool. He showed us that standing out wasn't such a horrible thing. This
lesson helped get me through my school years of being targeted for
being an individual.
Along with being an amazing singer, and a role model, Joey
Ramone was truly one of the nicest people I have ever met. I wished
when I met him I wasn't crying because I really was having the worst
day in the world. He was very gracious, kind, and humble for being such
a big celebrity. It was like talking to an old friend. He's one of
those people that if you met, you never forgot.
These were all the reasons why I started the campaign for Joey Ramone
Place. It's a place to say "I remember you" from the people and city
that he loved, and that loved him right back."
In one point of this progress, Ramones' creative director etc. Arturo
Vega read long letter what explained a lot.
Arturo Vega: "I moved into the building at 6 East
& 2nd Street in the
fall of 1973. I found a place I could afford in a neighbourhood I felt
comfortable. In my opinion one of the best things that happened was the
arrival of the original musical movement that was labeled punkrock -
centered at CBGB's and championed by the Ramones, whose lead singer Joey
became my roommate.
Joey in particular identified strongly with the East Village, and never
moved out of it. He was restless when it came to promoting its music
scene; after a while his cool, easy going, and positive attitude made
him a favorite with the locals who felt familiar enough with him to yell
a "Hey Joey" whenever they spotted him walking down the street.
Seeing a street sign with Joey's name on it would put a smile on a lot
of people's faces, bringing a lot of good will to our community.
And here are thoughs by Hilly Kristal
(RIP, founder of the CBGB): "Joey
Ramone helped countless
musicians, more than
any other artist I can think of. He stood for something good. Joey left
a very important mark on New York and the East Village, especially, and
I'm proud that he played CBGB's and proud that he made his home
Here you can read story by Linda Iorio:
I went to the unveiling of "Joey Ramone Place" in NYC today -- the
of East 2nd St. & Bowery, which is right near CBGB's. This project has
been in the works for over a year, and it was originally conceived by a
Ramones fan named Maureen, who is only 20 or 21 years old. I went to
some of the early City Council meetings and it was a lot of red tape to
get this project off the ground.
There were hundreds of people there, crowded on the street corner. There
were kids as young as 6 months old, up to old punks in their 50's. The
actual street sign was covered in a black Ramones T-shirt with a rope
attached, and was unveiled by Arturo Vega, the band's longtime friend and
art director. Arturo took off his shirt to reveal a huge Ramones "logo"
tattoo on his back (he's the artist behind the famous logo and all the
Joey's mother, Charlotte was there, his brother Mickey Leigh, among other
Ramones significant others -- Marky Ramone, Legs McNeil (author of Please
Kill Me, a punk biography), John Holmstrom (of Punk magazine), Jesse
Steve Van Zandt, the City Council woman who signed the necessary papers to
name the street, and others.
I didn't see Steven Van Zandt because he was inside CBGB's with the others
for a pre-unveiling ceremony, but I didn't know this until it was too late
and they weren't letting any more people inside. So I just waited outside
on the street corner with hundreds of other fans. I saw quite a few
familiar faces from in & around the NYC music scene too.
Eyewitness News was there, and I tried calling someone at home to set
their VCR, but afterwards I asked the reporter what time the News was on,
and she said she was from radio, not TV. 1010WINS (NY) radio was there
and I heard the story on my ride home tonight. Charlotte said it was the
best day of her life, and that she'd probably cause an accident every time
she drives by the sign! I've met her several times, and she's always such
a lovely and gracious lady. She had tears in her eyes as she spoke to the
crowd and to the 1010WINS reporter. The reporter got everyone to chant
the famous Ramones' rave-up, "Hey Ho, Let's Go", and there was Charlotte,
with the rest of us, chanting and pumping her fist in the air! A young
girl gave her a framed drawing she drew of Joey, and Charlotte was deeply
It was a historical day for punkers
Ramone Fans Say Love Never Dies
"Who is Joey Ramone?"
Maureen Wojciechowski, a 20-year-old from Staten Island, faced that
question last week. She had come to Community Board 3 seeking its approval
to name the block of the Bowery in front of CBGB, the fabled East Village
club, after the gawky, mop-headed icon of punk who died of cancer April
But only two of the eight board members said they had heard of his band,
the Ramones. So Morris Faitelewicz, chairman of the board's Transportation
Committee, asked for a primer.
Ms. Wojciechowski, a lifelong fan who wore black eyeliner and matching
nail polish for the occasion, nervously described "the homegrown group"
that gave birth to an international style of music. "When the Ramones and
other bands played at CBGB," she said, "it made the Bowery more of a
Several friends came along to back her up, including Mr. Ramone's mother,
Charlotte Lesher, and John Holmstrom, a co- founder of Punk magazine who
coined the name of the music.
Mr. Holmstrom, dressed in a black leather jacket and a Ramones T-shirt,
broke into song. "Hey, ho, let's go!" he chanted repeatedly, invoking the
reprise to the Ramones' 1976 track "Blitzkrieg Bop." "They play it at
every sports stadium in the country."
But these testimonials seemed to fall short. Did CBGB support the honorary
street name? Would other music legends be offended? Were any neighbors
opposed? The board asked Ms. Wojciechowski to do some homework and return
Hilly Kristal, the owner of CBGB, which is on the Bowery between First and
Second Streets, seemed to support the idea.
"This was their launching pad," he said in an interview, explaining why
hundreds of Ramones fans had turned his club into a shrine this spring.
"And they helped solidify CBGB's reputation as the punk capital."
After the meeting, the punk rock fans were holding a powwow in the hallway
when an unnamed representative from the city's Department of
Transportation approached to sign a "Road for Joey" petition. Mr. Ramone,
it seems, had a fan inside the agency that puts up street signs.
The whole thing resembled a scene from "Rock 'n' Roll High School," the
1979 cult film about a bunch of misfits hellbent on subverting their
music-hating principal with the aid of their favorite band, the
"Joey changed the way we looked at other people," Ms. Wojciechowski said.
"You didn't have to be the most popular, the most talented or the best
looking. He said anyone could be cool."
NEW YORK The East Village street corner located a few yards away from
legendary punk club CBGB is one step closer to being known as Joey Ramone
On Wednesday, the Public Safety and Transportation Committee of
Manhattan's Community Board 3 unanimously approved a proposition by
20-year-old Maureen Wojciechowski to dub the corner of East Second Street
and the Bowery after the late punk icon who, along with the likes of Patti
Smith, Television and the Talking Heads, helped bring the genre to life at
CBGB in the mid-'70s.
"I came up with the idea right after Joey's 50th birthday, but wasn't sure
exactly how," Wojciechowski, a Staten Island resident, said. "Then someone
mentioned honorary street signs, and how, as is the case with most in the
city, no one knows who they are [named for]. So I thought, 'That's it.
I'll put one up for Joey Ramone.' "
In order for Joey Ramone Place to become a reality, the proposal must be
approved by the 50-member community board at a meeting on November 15.
Members of the committee said they're fairly confident their decision in
favor of the honorary street sign won't be met with opposition.
Wojciechowski first approached the board in October, and she was
instructed to return with a petition of support signed by local residents
and businesses, which she brought to Wednesday's meeting.
"The Ramones were just so much fun, and Joey was such an individual,"
Wojciechowski said. "Twenty years later he was still the same person that
he was in the '70s nothing changed. I saw him two years ago, and he
looked exactly as he did in 1978. He was true to New York City, and he was
Hilly Kristal, owner of CBGB, attended the meeting, as did Ramone's
mother, Charlotte Lesher, and John Holmstrom, co-founder of Punk magazine,
who gave a name to the punk movement.
"The East Village, probably more than any other place in the city,
historically has been the melting pot of people who became famous and went
to do wonderful things," said Kristal, a 28-year resident of the
community. "Joey Ramone helped countless musicians, more than any other
artist I can think of. He stood for something good. Joey left a very
important mark on New York and the East Village, especially, and I'm proud
that he played CB's and proud that he made his home here."
Although the proposal was to bestow the honor on a single corner,
Wojciechowski said she'd like to see Joey Ramone Place stretch one
crosstown block to Second Avenue.