New York City renames street after Muhammad Ali

People queueing yesterday for tickets to attend boxing legend Muhammad Ali's funeral service in Louisville, Kentucky, tomorrow. He died last week after a decades-long battle with Parkinson's disease.
People queueing yesterday for tickets to attend boxing legend Muhammad Ali's funeral service in Louisville, Kentucky, tomorrow. He died last week after a decades-long battle with Parkinson's disease.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • New York City on Tuesday renamed a street outside Madison Square Garden "Muhammad Ali Way" after the late boxing legend, who headlined a string of fights at the iconic sports arena.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the temporary renaming of West 33rd Street next to the Madison Square Garden arena, where some of Ali's greatest fights took place in America's entertainment capital.

"Today, we are paying tribute to the man in the heart of this city," Mr de Blasio said. "He deserves this naming honour and more."

Ali, whose remarkable boxing career and civil rights activism made him one of the 20th century's most indelible figures, died last week after a decades-long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 74 years old.

Ali boxed at Madison Square Garden eight times, including in his epic 1971 "Fight of the Century" against Joe Frazier.

New York streets may be renamed permanently if legislation is passed by the city council and signed by the mayor. There are no plans so far to make the Muhammad Ali Way name change permanent, which would first require a council member to introduce a Bill.

Former United States president Bill Clinton and comedian Billy Crystal are to deliver eulogies at the boxer's public funeral tomorrow in Louisville, Kentucky.

However, the White House said President Barack Obama will not attend the funeral, which coincides with his older daughter's graduation. The Obamas "will be attending Malia's high school graduation ceremony in Washington, DC", said spokesman Jen Friedman.

Instead, a close aide "will read a letter from the President and the First Lady as part of Friday's service in Louisville".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2016, with the headline 'New York City renames street after Muhammad Ali'. Print Edition | Subscribe