"Onwards and sideways" (Jerry Orbach)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Mar 9 06:09:36 UTC 2007

Jerry Orbach used to say "onwards and sideways"? (See the end of the below  
article.)...Looking back, "Big Apple Corner" (after a mere five-year struggle)  
was something of a miracle. I had not a single friend or supporter. New York  
City didn't deserve it.
No Community Board Approval for a Jerry Orbach Corner
Published: March 9, 2007

In a twist worthy of a “Law & Order” script, the decision on whether to  
name a Midtown street corner for the late actor _Jerry Orbach_ 
(http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=54172&inline=nyt-per)  effectively 
ended in a hung jury last  night. Not even a cameo appearance by his longtime 
colleague _Sam Waterston_ 
(http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=74941&inline=nyt-per)  could change the outcome. 
The members of Community Board 5 were evenly divided, and admittedly  
conflicted, about whether to relax their standard objections and approve the  naming 
of the 53rd Street and Eighth Avenue intersection the Jerry Orbach  Corner. 
A few hours after a committee voted 3-2 for the renaming, the full board  
voted 18-17 for it, with one abstention. But that slim margin was not enough to  
qualify as an approval because the votes in favor were not a majority of the  
votes cast. The decision — or lack of one — is merely advisory; the City 
Council  ultimately decides on street renamings. 
“Technically, we are on the record as not taking a position,” David Diamond, 
 the chairman, explained to his confused fellow board members. Looking toward 
Mr.  Orbach’s widow, Elaine, Mr. Diamond added, “And now, on to Community 
Board 4.”  He was alluding to the board that has jurisdiction over the other 
side of the  intersection. Mrs. Orbach’s lawyer, James B. Fishman, has already 
sought  approval from Community Board 4, which oversees the area west of Eighth  
Mr. Orbach, who died in December 2004, was a familiar face in the  
neighborhood for decades. A leading man in Broadway musicals long before he  played the 
prototypical New York detective, Lennie Briscoe, on “Law &  Order,” he lived 
with his family in a rented apartment on 53rd Street for more  than 25 years, 
his wife said. 
His regular-guy appearance and lifestyle made him a sentimental favorite  
among the board members, who have routinely rejected applications for street  
renamings in the last few years. They turned down Guy Lombardo, _Hal Holbrook_ 
)  and even St. Francis of Assisi. But many  found it hard to say no to Jerry 
Orbach, consummate New Yorker, especially in  the face of his widow, his son 
Tony and a living, breathing star, Mr. Waterston,  who plays the prosecutor 
Jack McCoy on “Law & Order.” He read passages from  a letter from the 
Detectives Endowment Association and from Mr. Orbach’s  obituary in The New York Times. 
It wasn’t Mr. Waterston’s presence that flustered Vikki Barbero, a board  
member who voted against the renaming. It was the face of Tony Orbach, 45, who  
bears a strong resemblance to his father. 
“It’s like he’s here,” Ms. Barbero said, referring to Mr. Orbach. 
“That’s why I’m here,” Tony Orbach responded. 
But in the end, the Orbachs went away unsatisfied. Mrs. Orbach left with a  “
go figure” shrug and said afterward, “As Jerry would say, onwards and  

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