Throughout the city, major landmarks are named for politicians. But now there's an effort to rename the Williamsburg Bridge for jazz great Sonny Rollins. NY1's Michael Scotto has the story.
Sonny Rollins released his album "The Bridge" in 1962.
The album's title refers to the Williamsburg Bridge.
The jazz saxophonist would walk from his Grand Street apartment to the center of the bridge, to spend hours perfecting his craft.
"He would practice for 12 to 16 hours a day," said Clifton Anderson, Sony Rollins nephew.
Anderson says the jazz great did this from 1959 through 1961, to take a break from a grueling career that had exposed him to hard drugs and alcohol.
Those long days on the bridge are why Anderson and others say it makes perfect sense to rename the 114-year-old bridge after the 87-year-old musician.
He is considered one of the last living legends of mid-20th Century jazz.
"By renaming this bridge, it's not just a renaming for him, it's a renaming, it's an acknowledgement of the music and of the musicians who participated in making it great," said Anderson.
The effort to rename the bridge began with Jeff Caltabiano, a management consultant and jazz fan.
He says he launched the renaming campaign after seeing an Instagram post that said the Williamsburg is "still Sonny Rollins's bridge."
"And when I read that a lightbulb went off and I said this is it, he's absolutely right, this is Sonny Rollins bridge and we need to make it official," said Caltabiano, Founder of the Sonny Rollins Bridge Project.
It's rare to rename a bridge for someone who is alive. But it has happened.
The Queensboro bridge was renamed for former mayor Ed Koch several years before he died.
The Manhattan Borough President supports the renaming and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams says he backs efforts to recognize Rollins.
A spokesman for the mayor says it is too early to weigh in.
A Brooklyn City Councilman is about to introduce legislation to make it official.
"We name stuff after politicians all the time, but it's really I think important that we recognize our cultural heritage," said Stephen Levin, Brooklyn City Councilman.
While efforts to rename the bridge are gaining steam, it will take some time for the process to play out.
It's likely the proposed bill won't get a hearing until next year.