HomePlainsThe “André Leon Talley Day” takes place officially
The “André Leon Talley Day” takes place officially
September 21, 2022
Nine months after the death of André Leon Talley, the pioneering journalist will on Wednesday name the street in Westchester County, New York, where he lived in his honor.
The City of Greenburgh, New York will honor Talley with a dedication ceremony and proclamation, and will declare Wednesday André Leon Talley Day. The former Vogue creative director died in January at the age of 73.
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The unveiling of the road signs is scheduled for 10am in the hamlet of Greenburgh on the corner of Worthington Road and Saw Mill Road (also known as Route 9A). An hour later, a reception is held at Talley’s favorite restaurant, City Limits Diner in White Plains, where turkey chili and some of his other favorite dishes are served. Diane von Furstenberg, Bethann Hardison, Marc Jacobs, B. Michael, actress and producer Toni Belafonte and musician Valerie Simpson are among the expected guests. News from the André Leon Talley Day will be shown on the jumbotron in front of the Westchester County Center.
Interestingly, while Talley’s name will live on in a street sign, his $1 million home was once a point of great consternation for him. In 2021, he became embroiled in a legal battle with longtime friend George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis, who Talley claimed bought the 11-room home in White Plains on his behalf. The couple, in turn, claimed that Talley was “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in arrears on his rent payments, and Talley was potentially at risk of eviction.
Following Talley’s death earlier this year, both his former attorney and Yurgaitis confirmed the litigation had been settled before his death.
Talley’s 50-year-old friend von Furstenberg said on Tuesday: “This is such a win. The idea that he was afraid of being evicted and now in less than a year the street bears his name. How amazing is that? Of course I had nothing to do with it, but nothing could make me happier. Nothing. It was such a revenge.”
What von Furstenberg had to do, though she graciously (and firmly) preferred not to spell it, was make sure Talley stayed at his house. “Because of my dead body, he should be expelled. That is everything I know. I’ve known him since 1973 or 1974. He was a very close friend of mine. I love him. I met him when he was working for Interview magazine, so I’ve known him since he was a very young man and we’ve become very good friends. We were close friends. And let me tell you, he has many friends.”
Contrary to reports that Talley had retired somewhat before his death, von Furstenberg presented a different perspective. She said she was glad he “had dignity” before he died. He got work. He was happy. And then he got COVID-19 and sadly died. But he did not die miserably.”
The designer said about her participation. “I just didn’t want him thrown out. Period. How I did it is really nobody’s business. But I definitely made sure he wasn’t evicted and could stay in his house forever,” she said. “The idea that now [the street will be named for him] fills my heart.”
Now his name will live on through the soon to be updated Worthington Road street sign. Talley’s former attorney, Erik Weinick, said: “This is a recognition that André’s influence was not just global. It was local too. It’s nice that his local community recognizes him in this way. It will be a memory of his life for a long time.”
While some of Talley’s personal effects are still in the Westchester County home where he resided, the property is unoccupied. It was not immediately known when the property would be sold.
How the tribute came about was purely coincidental and Talley’s personality. Azline Suber was reached at the Greenburgh city clerk’s office on Tuesday morning and said she flew to New York from Biloxi, Mississippi to attend a service and then went to the City Limits Diner in White Plains. “I was wearing this beautiful dress and I heard someone say, ‘Fabulous. Fabulous.’ I looked around and said to my then-fiancé, ‘Who is that?’ He said, ‘This is André Leon Talley.’ I turned around and he said, ‘Come on, come on.’ I went to talk to him. He said, ‘Let’s take a picture,'” Suber recalled.
Upon hearing that Talley had died in late January, Suber said she had become “very emotional” despite only meeting him at the diner that once and “talking to the Lord.” He told me what to do.”
So Suber had a plaque engraved for Talley and placed it at the city limits. It was also there that she met town clerk Judy Beville, and invited her to the diner’s bar area for the dedication ceremony on March 23. After this reception, Suber suggested making a memorial street sign.
Beville said Suber explained to city officials how Talley became an icon in the fashion industry and worked his way up to become Vogue’s first African-American editor, despite having a rough upbringing at times.