One of Williamsburg’s most successful sons was honored Monday night when the corner of Manhattan Avenue and McKibben Street was co-named “Pomus Place,” in honor of Jerome Felder, better known as Doc Pomus.
Paralyzed with polio as a child, Felder, who grew up at 75 Manhattan Avenue, went on to become one of the most influential songwriters of the early rock ‘n’ roll era, writing and co-writing standards such as “Save The Last Dance For Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “Teenager in Love” and “Viva Las Vegas.” His songs became hits for top recording artists including Ray Charles, The Drifters and Elvis Presley.
Beyond songwriting, Felder was a fierce advocate for the downtrodden and helped other musicians kick addictions. Although his songs were meant to be danced to, lyrically they represented the pain he suffered from his inability to dance. His musical legacy remains an example to youth of how dreams, despite challenges, are achievable.
The “Pomus Place” street sign was unveiled in a ceremony Monday night, hosted by Councilmember Diana Reyna. Felder’s brother, noted attorney Raoul Felder and daughter Sharyn joined Reyna, the Southside Community Mission, El Puente, UnionDocs and residents for the event which featured a performance of the El Puente Dance Ensemble (to Doc Pomus’ music, of course) and a screening of the trailer for “AKA Doc Pomus,” the documentary about his life, co-produced by Sharyn, and starring a who’s who of musical stars.
Jerome Felder a.k.a. Doc Pomus died on March 14, 1991. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Blues Hall of Fame in 2012.