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Famous Harlem Block Renamed Art Kane Harlem 1958 Place

Announcement made on 63rd anniversary of Kane's iconic "A Great Day in Harlem" photograph

Final shot for Harlem 1958 photo session
Final shot for Harlem 1958 photo session (photo by Art Kane)

Every jazz fan is likely familiar with Art Kane’s August 12, 1958 photograph “Harlem 1958”—better known as “A Great Day in Harlem.” The photo, originally published as the accompaniment to an essay in Esquire magazine, features 57 jazz greats on the steps and sidewalk of a brownstone on East 126th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues.

That block in eastern Harlem will now receive the official co-name “Art Kane Harlem 1958 Place” from the City of New York.

A ceremony was planned to mark the occasion on August 12, the 63rd anniversary of the original photo shoot, with remarks by Kane’s son Jonathan, prepared statements by Benny Golson and Sonny Rollins (the last two surviving artists who appear in the photograph), and performances by Patience Higgins and the Sugar Hill Quartet. However, due to safety precautions—there is an excessive heat advisory in effect for August 12 in Manhattan—that ceremony has now been canceled. JazzTimes is following this story and will provide updates if the event is rescheduled.

For the 60th anniversary of “A Great Day in Harlem”—which began to be so called after the release of Jean Bach’s 1994 documentary of the same name about the photo shoot—Jonathan Kane, in association with Guido Harari and Wall of Sound Editions, put out a commemorative book called (appropriately) Art Kane Harlem 1958. Go here to read the in-depth interview that JazzTimes‘ Lee Mergner conducted with him at the time.