Press "Enter" to skip to content

Ann Arlen, 89, former C.B. 2 Environmental chairperson

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Ann Arlen, a longtime Greenwich Village resident and former Community Board 2 member, died on Oct. 2, at the age of 89.

According to her daughter Jennifer Arlen, a law professor at New York University School of Law, her mother died at Bellevue Hospital from complications after hitting her head during a fall in her Sullivan Street apartment. She was conscious at first, but slipped into a coma after a few days from which she did not revive.

“It was all so sudden that we’re just trying to catch our breath,” she said.

Her mother had been in great health — “a force of nature,” as her daughter put it — until undergoing minor hernia surgery four years ago, which led to a hip infection and to her being confined to a wheelchair.

Ann Warner grew up in Chicago, the oldest of three siblings. Her father was a professor of social anthropology at the University of Chicago, and her mother was a real estate agent.

She attended the prestigious Radcliffe College, the former sister school of the then-all-male Harvard, and was the second woman to work on the Harvard Crimson newspaper.

After graduating, she immediately got an internship at Life magazine, where she met her husband, writer Michael J. Arlen — the son of novelist Michael Arlen — who went on to write for The New Yorker. They had four daughters together before divorcing after about 10 years of marriage.

Following the divorce, Ann took her daughters to live for a period in a commune in Upstate New York, according to Annie Shaver Crandell, a friend.

According to Jennifer Arlen, her mother’s abiding passions were environmental issues and preservation.

“She was very devoted to her issues,” she said.

Arlen was the chairperson of the C.B. 2 Environmental Committee — on which she was involved in 9/11 health concerns — and was also a member of the activist nonprofit Village Preservation. She was also passionate about photography, mostly shooting flowers as her favorite subjects. She would photograph them “from the inside,” according to Jennifer.

“They were almost like abstract paintings,” she said. “They were very structured and sculptural, like art photos.”

Arlen loved Greenwich Village, Jennifer said.

“I think, like many Village denizens, she was very integrated into the Village,” she said. “So, she would know the store owners, know their histories, know people’s names.”

Arlen loved Pepe Rosso, her favorite local Italian restaurant, especially their tiramisu, as well as Pino’s butcher right next door to her building, she said.

Ann Arlen was cremated. She is survived by her four daughters, Jennifer Arlen, Caroline Arlen, Elizabeth Arlen and Sally Arlen, and three grandchildren, Michael Arlen Hotz, Robert Arlen Hotz and Atalanta Archangel.


  1. Katherine Keenan Katherine Keenan Post author | December 5, 2022

    Here are some thoughts about Ann. Maybe not in the best order but as they came to me.
    I was a friend of Ann’s for 40 years and a neighbor at 147 Sullivan for 25. I was on the 3rd floor and Ann was on the first. When I came home from work she was often in the hall talking to someone, or her door was ajar. She loved to talk to her neighbors and and was very welcoming. I would knock on her door and she would say “hi partner”. I loved it when she said that. Ann was very welcoming and a great listener. We talked about all kinds of things, and she was wise. She was very helpful to me when my parents died. But she could be too busy to talk , especially when she was writing Community Board minutes for the Environmental Committee.. She took that very seriously.

    Ann had 4 daughters, Her youngest, Sally, had a brain aneurism and Ann was completely devoted to her care. Ann regularly went to the gym so she could push Sally’s wheel chair around.
    Sally’s care took up most of Ann’s later life before she herself was unable to get around.

    Her apartment was full of pictures she had taken. She was a fine photographer. She had many other talents. She created a beautiful garden in her back yard. She was a great cook. I was lucky to share many meals with her. She was a fine baker. She made decorative cookies for Bloomingdales! She watched over our building and was fierce about repairs and environmental concerns.
    She supported out neighborhood. We would go to local restaurants and she would always strike up a conversation with the owner or wait staff and be very encouraging. She loved movies. We we lucky to have the Film Forum nearby. She loved cats. She always had one and gave them unusual names that had special meaning and seemed to elevate them. I remember T-grey.
    Ann was very cool. She was full of style. She lived a big, engaged life. She was smart. She was a great conversationalist, she listened, she was never superficial.

    I miss her.

    Katherine Keenan

  2. Lora Tenenbaum Lora Tenenbaum December 3, 2022

    I was just thinking about Ann a few days ago and reflecting on how vital her role was as Chair of CB2’s Environment Committee. She is absolute proof that community boards make a difference. I haven’t seen her in years, but still think of her. My deepest condolences to her family.

  3. jennaorkin jennaorkin December 2, 2022

    Ann was a fierce fighter to get the truth out about the contamination in Lower Manhattan and beyond following 9/11.

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.