On November 2, Brooklyn received its own "Walt Whitman Way" honoring the poet and longtime Brooklyn resident. The idea to co-name Ryerson Street as Walt Whitman Way was promoted and pursued by the non-profit organization the Walt Whitman Initiative, and New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo sponsored the legislation to co-name the street Whitman lived on while completing the first edition of Leaves of Grass.
Brooklyn turned out for a "Walt Whitman Way Day" block party featuring Ms. Cumbo's eloquent speech on Whitman as a "poet of healing." Brooklyn-based operatic contralto Nicole Mitchell, members of the international dramatic collective Compagnia de' Colombari, and several members of Brooklyn Poets set a festive mood while participants enjoyed Whitman's birthday cake courtesy of NYU Liberal Studies. "Whitman is now officially part of the Brooklyn landscape," said Liberal Studies professor and Walt Whitman Initiative president Karen Karbiener. "Though Brooklyn has always had its open-armed, public-spirited, neighborly 'Walt Whitman way'. We hope the new sign inspires Brooklyn to continue celebrating the poet's ideals." The Whitman Initiative perseveres in its efforts to landmark 99 Ryerson Street, the only Whitman residence standing of over 30 while Whitman lived in New York.