Brooklyn prepares for ‘Walt Whitman Way Day’ Street co-naming celebration will help mark the 200th birthday of Brooklyn’s bard

CLINTON HILL — Former Brooklyn resident and great American poet Walt Whitman will soon be honored on a Clinton Hill street corner.

The intersection of DeKalb Avenue and Ryerson Street will be co-named “Walt Whitman Way” on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 3 p.m.

Called “Walt Whitman Way Day” by those involved, the ceremony will be led by Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and other dignitaries along with a host of community organizations. 

The co-naming celebration, which is spearheaded by the Walt Whitman Initiative, will feature poets, musicians, singers, light refreshments and representatives from supporting organizations.

“Walt Whitman lived in many different residences in the borough of Brooklyn, and his greatest poetic work, “Leaves of Grass,” was first published when he lived on Ryerson Street,” said Karen Karbiener, president of the Walt Whitman Initiative. “We look forward to a fitting celebration to mark the co-naming and the bicentennial year of Whitman’s birth on Saturday afternoon.”

A walking tour of Whitman-related sites, the “Walt Whitman Ramble,” will precede the ceremony. This free tour departs from the High Street subway stop in Brooklyn Heights on Cadman Plaza West at 2 p.m. and proceeds on foot to the site of the street co-naming ceremony.

“Brooklyn has always brought big ideas to the world, and we’re ready to commemorate another Brooklynite whose artistic work and influence has spread globally,” said Cumbo. “Walt Whitman was a cultural icon, visionary and a true artist in every sense of the word. I am proud to see his legacy live on in my district.” 

“We’re excited for the co-naming. It helps to remind people that Walt Whitman lived and emerged as America’s poet right here in the streets of Brooklyn,” said Brad Vogel of the Coalition to Save Walt Whitman’s House. “We still have a chance to protect his last remaining New York City home a few blocks from the co-naming site by designating it a city landmark for the benefit of future generations.” 

Supporting organizations include the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Poets, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, the Historic Districts Council, the Society for Clinton Hill, the American Opera Project, the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, the Coalition to Save Walt Whitman’s House, the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, BRIC, the NYU Liberal Studies Department, and George Broadhead and the Society of Old Brooklynites. 

The event is free and open to the public and will take placerain or shine. For more information or to obtain contact information for parties involved in the celebration, email or

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