More than 200,000 people sign petition to rename Trump Tower's street after Barack Obama

By Sophie Lewis

/ CBS News

NASA renames street "Hidden Figures Way"

Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition to rename a one-block stretch of Fifth Avenue in New York City after former President Barack Obama. That particular block also happens to be the home of Trump Tower.

"We request the New York City Mayor and City Council do the same by renaming a block of Fifth Avenue after the former president whose many accomplishments include: saving our nation from the Great Recession; serving two completely scandal-free terms in office; and taking out Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind September 11th, which killed over 3,000 New Yorkers," creator Elizabeth Rowin wrote.

The petition requests that all buildings between 56th and 57th Streets on Fifth Avenue change their addresses. If the campaign is successful, Trump Tower's new address would read: "725 President Barack H. Obama Avenue, New York, NY 10022."

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In May, Los Angeles renamed a stretch of Rodeo Road in honor of the 44th president, and the creator of the MoveOn.org petition hopes New York will follow. The petition is addressed to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, and as of Wednesday afternoon, more than 210,000 people had signed it.

Rowin said she started the petition back in December after seeing a comedian joke about it on Twitter. "I thought, 'That's a great idea and probably no one is going to do anything about it,' so I decided to do it," she told CBS News on Wednesday.

A few news sites picked up the petition in January, but then it "kind of died out," Rowin said. It started to gain traction again after a viral tweet this week from a man in Scotland.

Trump Fact:

New Yorkers don't like Trump.

They have started a petition to request that the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 59th be renamed President Barack H. Obama Avenue.

If it gets the green light, Trump Tower will have a new address.

Poetic justice or what…?

— Donaldo (@donaldmackenz30) August 10, 2019

While a few city council members said they would look into it, Rowin said she has yet to receive any concrete responses from officials.

"I really didn't think there was a chance that it could happen," Rowin, who lives in Los Angeles, said. "I think it would be fabulous. I think people feel kind of helpless right now, and it's a way to troll him," she said of President Trump. "If he does hear about it, maybe it would slow him down and distract him."

While New York regulations only require 100 signatures for the local area to consider a secondary street name, it prohibits street re-naming if the honorees are still alive.

But Rowin isn't concerned. "That's an arbitrary rule," she said. "In L.A., there are two streets named after him. So there's no reason New York couldn't do it as well."

"As much as I love the idea of celebrating President Obama, I am not positive this is the best way," Speaker Corey Johnson told CBS News on Wednesday. The Obamas epitomize class, dedication to public service and respect for the Oval Office. I'm pretty confident we can find a better way to honor the greatest president of my lifetime than by trolling the worst president of my lifetime."

The office of Mayor de Blasio agreed. "We're always happy to see New Yorkers finding creative outlets for resistance," Deputy Press Secretary Avery Cohen told CBS News on Wednesday. "Ultimately, we'll let the council determine how this should proceed."

First published on August 14, 2019 / 4:16 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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