Should the Williamsburg Bridge be Renamed the "Sonny Rollins Bridge" After the Great Jazz Player?

If you don't listen to Jazz you my not know the great Sonny Rollins, but he is known to musicians as the "Michael Jordan of Jazz Saxophonists". Whenever he wanted to practice and hone his skills, Rollins would head up to the Williamsburg Bridge and play up there for hours. As such, there is a campaign to officially rename the Williamsburg Bridge to the Sonny Rollins Bridge:

In the summer of 1959, saxophonist Sonny Rollins disappeared from the jazz scene. He was 28 years old and at the height of his career. He would not record or perform publicly for almost 3 years, a virtual eternity for a jazz musician. Instead, Rollins took it to the bridge: he would practice, typically alone, up to 16 hours a day on the pedestrian walkway of New York’s Williamsburg Bridge, not far from his home on the Lower East Side. Rollins has said of the experience: “Playing against the sky really does improve your volume, and your wind capacity. I could have just stayed up there forever.”

During his sabbatical, Rollins also began practicing yoga, exercising, stopped smoking, and worked on improving himself. Rollins’ decision to step out of the scene was a radical act in jazz’s a pivotal year for jazz. The only way you could hear Rollins was if you walked up on the Bridge.

The renaming effort has some pretty influential backers. Legislation was recently introduced by City Council member Stephen Levin, and is supported by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

via Vimeo

Williamsburg Bridge
Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Editor in Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's food scene with his Wife and the outdoors with their dog. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time eating, running, and working on cool stuff.

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