On the 40th anniversary, to the day, of the Sesame Street program, New York City declared November 10 "Sesame Street Day" with a temporary street naming near Lincoln Center.
The world's largest informal children's educator, Sesame Street can be seen in over 140 countries. "Sesame Street reaches children around the world, but without a doubt, New York City is its home," added Ms. Cooney. "It's wonderful for the city to recognize where it all began." Although the show has changed over the decades, it has remained true to it's New York City setting, having broken ground in 1969 for choosing an urban environment for a children's program. "The vibrancy of NYC served as inspiration for the creation and content of Sesame Street, it is only fitting to celebrate the program's 40th anniversary with a street-naming tribute" said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Co.
A variety of changes have taken place in the program over the years as it has modernized to remain current and practical. In addition to the computer generated imagery which can be seen in "Elmo's World," Cookie Monster now sings a song entitled "Cookie is a Sometimes Food" and Sesame street itself has been cleaned of it's original graffitti and peeling paint, more representative of New York then than it is now. There are differences internationally as well, South Africa's version has an HIV Positive character while Israel's cast has specific Arab-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli puppets learning lessons on sharing. The particulars of the show and contemporary messages are due to an emphasis on research, which has been a key to the show's relevancy and success since its inception.
A constant which has remained throughout the years and different versions of the show has been the promotion of diversity. Guests of Sesame Street have ranged from famous musicians, actors and political figures, most often involved in situations where Jim Henson's muppets and humans interact naturally. The show's anniversary episode on November 10th will star Michelle Obama.