Miami Beach May Remove Arthur Godfrey's Name From 41st Street

Categories: Politicks

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In the late 1940s and '50s there was no bigger American media star than Arthur Godfrey, who had become known and loved for his intimate, folksy radio news personality and went on to host programs like the wildly popular daily CBS variety show Arthur Godfrey Time.

Beginning in 1953 Godfrey broadcast the show from a glitzy Bal Harbour hotel, the Kenilworth, and also became a part owner of the hotel several years later. His star power brought business and tourism to burgeoning Miami Beach; for his contribution 41st Street was co-named Arthur Godfrey Road, probably as early as the 1960s, according to local historian Paul George.

Now, more than four decades later, a Miami Beach commissioner wants to remove the designation, arguing the Godfrey name no longer provides any benefit.

"He had a radio program and played the ukulele and because he broadcast his show from the South Florida area at the time they thought that was a good idea," commissioner Joy Malakoff tells Riptide. "It was requested by the business people on 41st Street. It no longer brings anybody to the city."

Despite online rumors, Malakoff says the move has nothing to do with longstanding rumblings that Godfrey was anti-Semitic.

The anti-Semitic claims against Godfrey, who died in 1983, were widespread even when he was at the height of his career, according to Paul George, a historian with History Miami, and stem from the practices of the Kenilworth Hotel.

The common allegation against the Kenilworth -- that it had a sign out front that read "No Dogs or Jews Allowed" -- is probably a myth, but the hotel was, in fact, blatantly and openly anti-Semitic. In advertisements and placards, he said, the Kenilworth commonly used phrases like "Gentiles Only" and "Restricted Clientele" -- widely understood to be code words meaning Jews were banned.

"If you were Jewish and you showed up at the hotel in 1961," he said, "you were likely to be turned away."

But some say tying Godfrey to that practice isn't fair. Dick Cavett, for one, knew Godfrey personally and wrote in the New York Times that Godfrey actually later bought the Kenilworth and abolished the policy and that his anti-Semitic label is a "bum rap."

Malakoff said she proposed the idea of removing the name because most people know it as 41st Street anyway; after Wednesday's meeting the discussion was moved to the commission's Neighborhood and Community Affairs Committee, who will discuss the change before offering a recommendation to the full commission.

"It's not for that reason specifically," she said of the anti-Semitism rumors. "It's really that his name is no longer relevant."

Send your tips to trevor.bach@miaminewtimes.com, or follow @trevorbach.

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50 comments
samueljackson864
samueljackson864 topcommenter

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Sally Lance
Sally Lance

Silvio Alexis Morales let's guess who is anti Semitic. ..

Sally Lance
Sally Lance

Ayad Succar your post has a little truth. The Jews and the Arabs are both Semitic people. If you want to propagate the lie that the Jews are natives of Germany or Russia you don't know their history.

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birdieshammond

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Cristina Moinelo
Cristina Moinelo

Well everyone has an opinion they are passionate about. For example banning whats his name from the NBA for making a racist comment. Maybe we can all concentrate on moving on. Over many years people have done a lot of reprehensible things and many people have jumped on many band wagons without any true convictions of their own. How sad. Getting to the subject at hand most of Miami Beach was anti Semitic. Removing a name will not change history and Mr. Godfrey (pun intended) is not here to confirm or deny. Here is an idea...live, Love, forgive, get along. Rise up when you are in danger and defend yourself. Otherwise have a coke and smile.

nutinliket
nutinliket

It's really that his name is no longer relevant." 

I think the fact this woman doesn't have a sense of history is relevant to her lack of leadership she should remove herself from her post

dantevida
dantevida topcommenter

Arthur Godfrey broadcast his show on location from Pomperniks Jewish Deli on Collins Ave several times.  He also gave Steve Allen his start in TV by allowing him to guest host his show, while Godfrey sat in the audience. Anti semitic? Really? 

Deejay Icue
Deejay Icue

Their saying his name is not important anymore. When was there name ever important?

SoBeBaby
SoBeBaby

I have a source in the City who says they are pushing for "Neil Rogers Expressway"


I'm not joking....

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

"allegedly" is the key word, but some people for argument's sake, still omit that part and the fact he acquired the hotel and did away with that bogus restriction... But of course, as 'Muricans, people have a right to argue and debate.

Jorge F. Jorge
Jorge F. Jorge

Typical South Florida out with the old in with the new. No respect for History whatsoever .

Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon
Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon

Some people are bigots. This guy was allegedly anti-Semitic. Though there is no logical reason to harbor such hateful sentiment towards any group of people, we as free thinkers are allowed to do so. He was a rock star for his admirers and fans and never killed anyone so maybe just keep it for the sake of history. All people have faults. We can't go back and change every street/school/park, etc that is named after every bigot.

dantevida
dantevida topcommenter

When I see that street sign the Godfrey name evokes memories of an era of 50s TV, glamour, style, good manners. So let's just erase all that.

Barbara Guttman
Barbara Guttman

AYAD.... That term is in related to Eastern Europeans of Jewish faith, and if you really want a history lesson ... All humans came from the cradle of civilization... Mesopotamia ... and extending outward towards the east.

Barbara Guttman
Barbara Guttman

Hey.... That neighborhood before the mid-seventies was Irish Catholic.... And blacks and Jews were made to walk of that part of the beach( sixties) . Only reason that changed; non-Jewish people wanted Jewish Doctors at Mt Sinai. ( also were only allowed to live south of fifth street at one time in Miami beach history)

Stephen Sarsfield
Stephen Sarsfield

Nobody remembers barbara capitman, lets remove her name too. And jackie gleason. And lummis park. And flagler too

Joseph Mazon
Joseph Mazon

Sounds like facts are scarce in this post and people are trying to rewrite history. That said , Nobody in Miami ever calls this street anything but 41st street. Godfrey, whoever the hell he was is long forgotten and has no bearing on 2014. I could care less if the street is 'renamed", and I don't give a damm if he ever existed. Who cares?

Ayad Succar
Ayad Succar

How can Arthur Godfrey be anti-semitic when the semites are the ones Israel is hunting ? Google the word Ashkenazi, they are not semitic at all...

boofwash
boofwash

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii have no penis.

Melissa Lisboa-Bennetti
Melissa Lisboa-Bennetti

With so many more important issues the city is debating this? Really? Now? I guess we have nothing more time consuming.

JewGotAProblem
JewGotAProblem

How about Little Jerusalem Way?


Also didn't Miami Shores golf course just let Jews in during the 1980s?

Jeffrey Knight
Jeffrey Knight

I agree with Dick Cavett. I think the charges are bogus. The commissioner has no real sense of history.

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter

gashadokuro sound like a better name

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

How will they rename it, then?! "KOSHER CROQUETA WAY" or "OY! (Rectum) WAY"?!?!

Hugo Marin
Hugo Marin

Hugo Marin Road has a nice ring to it.

Míss Miriam
Míss Miriam

Dumb. I've never called it 41st street. It's always been Arthur Godfrey. The city has nothing better for it's employees to do than to destroy history and build more walmart a

Alexander Fernandez
Alexander Fernandez

It'll always be Joe Robbie Stadium and it'll always be Arthur Godfrey Road.

Cavin Michaud
Cavin Michaud

No History left in South Florida. Why not just change it every year or so like the Football Stadium!

Rishona Campbell
Rishona Campbell

Good! He was an obvious anti-Semite. It doesn't even matter that there are a lot of Jews on Miami Beach. Why you would want to name a road after such a person is beyond me.

George Wiggins
George Wiggins

Let's call it Fanea they slowly buying land to get there

casey.piket
casey.piket

Since when do names on street signs act as a draw for tourists? One should keep in mind that Carl Fisher was well known for being anti-semitic and no one is demanding to make changes to the name of Fisher Island. It was an unfortunate sentiment of the time.

Silvio Alexis Morales
Silvio Alexis Morales

Hmmmm I wonder what community of people is behind this and whos name is in line to replace it...

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

Let's pretend Jackie Gleason never existed either.

Michael Cassidy
Michael Cassidy

41st st one of the biggest Jewish areas on the beach. Time for his name to go.

Miguel Barker
Miguel Barker

Most street names have zero relevance... So what's the point?

Jim Cobb
Jim Cobb

I guess the commissioners know somebody that wants to pay some money so they can get their name on the street now instead

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