Sesame Street Day
annually on November 10th (since 2009)
On November 9, 2009, a dedication ceremony was held in Lincoln Square in New York City, at the corner of West 64th Street and Broadway, temporarily renaming the spot as 123 Sesame Street, in honor of the children's television program Sesame Street. The following day marked the fortieth anniversary of the program's debut, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation designating it as Sesame Street Day. The official Sesame Street website, sesamestreet.org, also held a "Sesame Street Day" on the week of November 10–17, 2009. Sesame Street Day began being celebrated elsewhere on November 10th as well.
A decade later, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio designated May 1, 2019, as Sesame Street Day in New York City in honor of the show's 50th anniversary. A permanent sign for Sesame Street was unveiled at the intersection of West 63rd Street and Broadway on that day. Despite this May observance, Sesame Street Day has continued to be celebrated on November 10th each year.
Sesame Street first aired on November 10, 1969, and for generations has helped young children learn. It is the longest-running and most widely viewed children's program in the world. Children in more than 150 countries watch it, over 30 international versions of it are produced, and it has won more Emmy Awards than any other television show. It incorporates lessons appropriate for children, not only about the ABCs and 123s, but about positive socialization, empathy, healthy habits, friendship, self-regulation, self-expression, love, kindness, and grief. Episodes have focused on what it's like to have a family member in prison, and on harrowing topics like addiction and death. Hundreds of studies show that it "reaches children in every demographic group, that those who watch do significantly better than those who don't across a range of measurements, and that the benefits last long after preschool."
Sesame Street was conceptualized by Joan Ganz Cooney, a public television documentary producer who wanted to create a program that was both educational and entertaining for preschoolers. When creating it, she had underprivileged children in mind in particular, wanting to help prepare them for kindergarten. She formed the Children's Television Workshop (now called the Sesame Workshop) with Lloyd Morrisett and used it to produce the program. Set in a fictionalized New York City neighborhood, Sesame Street is known for its short and funny segments, skits, and songs.
Cooney hired Jim Henson to create Sesame Street's puppet characters using his Muppets. Big Bird, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Bert, Ernie, Grover, the Count, Oscar the Grouch, and Cookie Monster endeared themselves to millions of children. Elmo joined the cast in the 1980s, and Abby Cadabby did in the 2000s. Humans live on Sesame Street too, and from the start, the cast was ethnically diverse. Gordon, Susan, Bob, and Mr. Hooper were the first humans on Sesame Street and were followed a few years later by Maria, Luis, and David. Many of these characters were on the show for decades, and new ones have since joined the cast. There have been many famous guest stars as well, including politicians, musicians, actors, and journalists.
Sesame Street started off with 130 episodes a season, but by the early twenty-first century, it was down to 30 or 35. Besides the television program, there have been Sesame Street feature films, television specials, and videos. Sesame Street has been instrumental in educating and entertaining young children since 1969, and it is honored and celebrated today with Sesame Street Day on the anniversary of its debut!
How to Observe Sesame Street Day
Some ways to take part in the day include:
- Explore and have fun with activities on the Sesame Street website.
- Listen to and sing along with the Sesame Street theme song.
- Watch full episodes of Sesame Street. You could watch the first episode, the episode that discusses Mr. Hooper's death, or the episode when Mr. Snuffleupagus makes his debut—when he is acknowledged to be real. Watching the show with children is even better!
- Explore the full list of Sesame Street episodes.
- Watch a Sesame Street movie, television special, or video.
- Watch Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street.
- Read Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street.