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An extraordinary East Villager

On Monday evening, GVSHP presented a program at the Sixth Street Community Center with our own Karen Loew, Director of East Village and Special Projects, and Liza Zapol, an artist and oral historian. The program, “Oral Histories of Extraordinary East Villagers,” was about the concept of oral histories, and new additions to GVSHP’s archive of oral histories from the East Village. You can see photos and video of the program online.

Veselka on 2nd Avenue and East 9th Street [photo source: evgrieve.com]
Veselka on Second Avenue and East 9th Street
[photo source: evgrieve.com]

Both Karen and Liza have been working on the GVSHP Oral Histories Project, and on Monday night they presented excerpts from some of the ones that have been recently produced. There are many, many interesting people in the East Village – people who have been active in the community, making our neighborhoods so special. On this night Marilyn Appleberg, Phil Hartman, Albert Fabozzi, Frances Goldin, and Jonas Mekas were featured. These are now available on our website.

Tom Birchard, owner of Veselka
Tom Birchard, owner of Veselka

One of my favorite people in the East Village is Tom Birchard. Tom is a trustee here at GVSHP and the owner of Veselka, the Ukrainian restaurant on the corner of Second Avenue and East 9th Street. Borscht and pierogis — need we say more?

As a GVSHP trustee, Tom has worked tirelessly as co-chair of our Awards Committee for the past few years. The job of the Awards Committee is to review the nominations for our annual Village Awards, conduct interviews and do research, and ultimately decide the winners – no easy task! He also recently joined our Development /Membership Committee and we look forward to the expertise of a successful business owner being added to our fundraising efforts.

Tom is generous in his support of other East Village non-profits and community groups as well. He recently helped our neighbors, the Neighborhood Preservation Center, to celebrate their birthday at Webster Hall.

Tom and Veselka support the East Village Community Coalition (EVCC), the Ninth Precinct Community Council, the East Village Parks Conservancy, LaMaMa, Theater for the New City, and have twice been awarded The Local Hero Award by ART New York for continuing support of local theater.

Last year, as Veselka celebrated its 60th anniversary, the line of customers wrapped around the block.

[photo source: evgrieve.com]
[photo source: evgrieve.com]

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