Christopher Reeve is missing.
Not the actor — who has been dead for nearly four years — but a street sign, placed on the wall of a building on a side alley renamed in Reeve’s honor. The alley leads from Witherspoon street to the famous Princeton Record Exchange, where I’ve spent a great deal of my salary since I got here.
A few months ago, I looked up from the sidewalk and noticed the street sign, a lonely green rectangle on an expanse of brick wall. I took a photo of it to remind myself to look into how this parking lot/alley came to be known as “Christopher REEVE Walk.”
I didn’t learn much. But I did learn that the actor grew up here. His father was a Princeton University grad, and as a youngster, Reeve acted at the McCarter Theater on the Princeton campus.
After the tragic equestrian accident that left him paralyzed in 1995, the erstwhile Superman became an advocate for research into spinal cord injuries. He was determined to walk again but never did.
So it was curious to see a street named Christopher REEVE Walk. Was it meant to be ironic? Was it meant to be encouragement? Or did no one in the city think about the word when they named the alley in his honor?
A few days ago, I noticed the sign was missing.
I asked the guys who work in Community Liquor, the building on whose brick wall the sign once hung, if they knew where it went.
“That alley was named after that guy?” one remarked, “I didn’t know.”
“There was a sign there?” said the other.
There are still dried drips of glue in the place where the sign was once affixed.
Perhaps it came unglued.
But, more likely, the sign was taken by a prankster — maybe a graduating senior — who took sardonic delight in the irony of a “walk” named for someone who could not.