Bailey Street near Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. Photo by Amtomio Mejías-Rentas

Many of the rancheras popularized by Vicente Fernández are performed regularly by the mariachi musicians who seek work at Mariachi Plaza. Soon, a street near that Boyle Heights landmark may be named after the legendary Mexican singer, who died in December at age 81.

On Tuesday, Councilmember Kevin de León said he was proposing that the city rename a portion of Bailey Street, between Philadelphia Ave. and 1st Street, Vicente Fernández Street. The councilman adjourned Tuesday’s City Council meeting in memory of Fernández.

“Unfortunately, with the council in recess in December, we didn’t have an opportunity to recognize this cultural icon, whose music and talent impacted generations of Latinos, not only in his native homeland of Mexico, but across the globe,” De León said.

The street to be renamed is about half a block east of Mariachi Plaza. An earlier icon of Mexican ranchera music, Lucha Reyes, is already memorialized with a statue at the plaza. In fact, the street to be named Vicente Fernández was already renamed after Reyes in 2013.

Sign showing honorary name of Avenida Lucha Reyes on Bailey Street.

A De León spokesperson told The Eastsider that the Reyes renaming, promoted by former councilmember José Huízar, was merely ceremonial in nature. He said the new city decision will involve changing the street’s permanent street sign.

Should the proposal progress, it would be Los Angeles first public honor of the singer since his passing. Fernández, whose decades-long, storied career included such hits as “Volver, volver,” Por tu maldito amor” and “Amor de los dos,” has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

The city of Pico Rivera is considering changing a road leading to its Sports Arena to Avenida Vicente Fernández. The so-called king of rancheras performed several times at that San Gabriel Valley venue throughout his career.

Shortly after Fernández’s death was announced, on Dec. 12, fans and musicians gathered at Mariachi Plaza to remember the singer.  It was a particularly busy day for local mariachis, who are traditionally occupied singing the “Mañanitas” to the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose feast day was on that date.

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Antonio Mejías-Rentas

Antonio Mejías-Rentas is a Senior Editor at Boyle Heights Beat, where he mentors teenage journalists, manages the organization’s website and covers local issues. A veteran bilingual journalist, he's...

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