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Celebrating Jane Jacobs — 100th Birthday, and lots of programs, approaching

Jane Jacobs photo credit nypl.org

Jane Jacobs, who once lived on Hudson Street in the West Village, wrote the book, “Death and Life of Great American Cities.” Her activism is legendary. Many organizations throughout the city will be honoring her in 2016, the centennial of her birth.

GVSHP is planning several programs. A panel discussion will take place on Wednesday, May 4th – what would be her 100th birthday – to look at her legacy and how she informed the landscape we see today.

Later in the summer we are planning a Jane Jacobs Trivia Night, co-sponsored by Neighborhood Preservation Center and Village Alliance. This will be a fun evening, but the competition may be fierce, so you should start studying now!


proposed highway through Washington Square Park Photo source: nypl.org

We are also planning a program with the creative team behind the new opera “A Marvelous Order.” Composer Judd Greenstein and Director Joshua Frankel both grew up in Greenwich Village and are inspired by Jane Jacobs. In April of 2014 they presented a program for GVSHP, moderated by urbanist Karrie Jacobs, to outline their plan for an opera – their first – that would tell the story of Jane Jacobs’s struggles against Robert Moses’s plans. After two years of work, the opera premiered last weekend – to a sold-out house – at Williams College in Williamstown MA, and we hope there will be performances here in New York soon.

Those of us who live in or work in or just care about Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo owe Jane Jacobs a huge debt of gratitude. Imagine giant highways cutting through our beautiful parks, or slicing through from river to river, topped with overbearing towers erected over them. It was Jane Jacobs who stopped that from happening. We are happy to honor her all this year, and we hope we never see those kinds of threats in the future.

map of proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX) photo source: nycroads.com

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