A petition to rename the one-block stretch of New York City’s Fifth Avenue where Trump Tower is located as “President Barack H. Obama Avenue” is gaining momentum, amassing over 275,000 signatures and garnering more mainstream media attention.
“Rename Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower: ‘PresidentBarackH.ObamaAvenue,'” the MoveOn.org petition reads. The petition’s total signatures now top 276,000, gaining over 60,000 over a span of the last 24 hours.
Addressed to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council, the petition requests that “the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets be renamed ‘President Barack H. Obama Avenue.’ Any addresses on that stretch of Fifth Avenue should be changed accordingly.” That block happens to include Trump Tower.
The petition presents the following background, which includes the claim that Obama’s administration was “completely scandal-free” and touts the killing of radical Islamic terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden during his tenure:
The City of Los Angeles recently honored former President Barack Obama by renaming a stretch of the 134 Freeway near Downtown L.A. in his honor. 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.
In comments to CBS News, the creator of the petition, Los Angeles resident Elizabeth Rowin, made clear to any who might’ve missed it why she started the petition: to “troll” Trump.
Having seen a comedian joke online in December about renaming the street after Obama to stick it to Trump, Rowin said she thought that was a “great idea” and promptly posted the petition. “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.
While the petition got some news coverage in January, it lost momentum. But after a viral tweet from a man in Scotland this week, said Rowin, the petition started to blow up. “I really didn’t think there was a chance that it could happen,” she told CBS on Wednesday.
“I think it would be fabulous. I think people feel kind of helpless right now, and it’s a way to troll him,” she added. “If he does hear about it, maybe it would slow him down and distract him.”
Rowin hopes the liberal leadership of New York City will follow Los Angeles’ lead in renaming a stretch of a street after the former president, but as CBS notes, the city prohibits re-naming streets after people who are still alive. Rowin dismissed the rule as “arbitrary,” and maintained that if L.A. could do it, why not New York.
CBS cites City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who said he’s “not positive” that Rowin’s idea is “the best way” to honor Obama. “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,” he said. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio’s office cheered “New Yorkers” finding “creative outlets for resistance,” but says the mayor is leaving the decision to the council.