March is Women’s History Month. With the recent “Day Without Women” activities and our upcoming walking tour on Radical, Notorious Women of Washington Square, we thought we would take this time to highlight some of the radical and notorious women who helped shape our neighborhoods.
Rose Pascale was the Manhattan Borough President’s community liaison to Community Board 2 from 1969-1986. LuLu LoLo is an artist, activist, and stalwart for NYC history and culture. These two seemingly disparate figures are united by the fact that they are mother and daughter.
In 1969, Rose was appointed by Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton as community liaison to the Greenwich Village community board. She was very active in her role and very dedicated to the village. Rita Lee, an aide to Councilmember Alan Gerson, recalled, “she was a lovely lady, always with a smile and she never got upset…Rose would bring armloads of correspondence and records to the board meetings and committee meetings wherever they were held.” When Rose was first appointed as Sutton’s emissary to the Village, community boards had no budgets, no typewriters and no offices.
Her daughter LuLu further elaborated on how much of an impact Rose had on Village residents and her connection to well-known neighborhood figures:
“She worked for years with the Greenwich Village community board and when [the Borough President’s Office] transferred Rose to a Midtown board, all of Greenwich Village was furious and in an uproar; so Rose was assigned back to the Village and had to tend two boards…Rose had such good friends in the Village, like Doris Diether, Rita Lee, Maggi Peyton and Tony Dapolito.”
In addition to the Village, Rose was a lifelong resident of East Harlem and very active in her community there as well. Through her work in the Village, Rose developed a connection with the associate pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, Father Robert Lott, who co-founded The Caring Community senior-services organization in 1973. In 1987, when Lott was transferred to a church in East Harlem, Rose joined his new organization developing affordable housing for seniors and low-income families. In 1998, she was honored by then-Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields for six decades of community service. In 1999, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani honored her for her service to the people of East Harlem. Rose died on August 14, 2009 at the age of 92.
Her daughter LuLu (real name Lois Evans) wears many hats: playwright/actor, performance artist, historian, and community activist, with almost all of it “developed out of her passion for historical research and social justice, especially as pertaining to the dramatic struggle of women in New York City’s past…” She serves as a board member of the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition and The City Reliquary Museum. She even created a one woman play about Kitty Genovese titled, “38 Witnessed Her Death, I Witnessed Her Love: The Lonely Secret of Mary Ann Zielonko (Kitty Genovese Story).”
An active participant in the Art in Odd Places (AiOP) festival, which takes place every year on 14th St., LuLu created different works where she inhabits personas that relate to the festival’s theme and the street itself. During the 2015 fesitval, LuLu became the “Joan of Arc of 14th St.,” (having stepped off her pedestal on the Jeanne d’Arc apartments) walking the blocks in full armor while positing to onlookers the question, “where are the women?” She then invited these onlookers to pose with a placard proclaiming their choice of a woman who deserves a monument in NYC. In NYC, about 150 monuments exist honoring men, yet there are only 5 honoring women.
LuLu’s campaign is one of many efforts in recent years to honor the hard work and impacts women have on their neighborhoods, cities, and the world at large. Yesterday’s “A Day Without a Woman” protest happening all over the country-with a large presence here in the Village in Washington Square Park- can be looked at in this same vein. We here at Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation owe much of our success and the preservation of the Village to the foresight and efforts of not only the “radical and notorious” women, but also the time, energy, insight, and resources of our numerous supporters and members.
On the weekend of March 25-26, Joyce Gold will be leading two walking tours on the “Radical, Notorious Women of Washington Square.” While the tour on the 25th has already reached capacity, the 26th tour still has spaces. If you are not a member and wish to attend the Sunday tour, feel free to follow the instructions and sign up through our website here.