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David Dinkins and some monumental moments

Longtime West Villager Jonathan Kuhn shared these photos and remembrances of former Mayor David Dinkins with The Village Sun. Kuhn is the director of Art and Antiquities for the New York City Parks Department, which oversees all the artwork and monuments in the city’s public parks.

Should you be running anything on the recent death of Mayor Dinkins, perhaps you’d find these “monumental” photos I took of him of interest in using.

David Dinkins, with Leslie Cohen and Beth Suskin, at the unveiling of the “Gay Liberation” monument in Greenwich Village in 1992. (Photo by Jonathan Kuhn)

One is a picture of him at the unveiling of George Segal’s “Gay Liberation” monument in Christopher Park on June 23, 1992. The monument, now a pilgrimage site and turned into a national monument, was controversial at the time, and its installation came amidst the height of the AIDS epidemic and before gay marriage was legalized.

At the event the mayor temporarily lost his characteristic composure when he was harangued by activists seeking stronger domestic partnership laws.

In the photo I took, Mayor Dinkins joins the two women who posed for the seated figures in the monument, Leslie Cohen and Beth Suskin. (Cohen and Suskin later married after federal law legalized gay marriage.)

Former Mayor David Dinkins surrounded by schoolchildren at the Frederick Douglass Memorial in 2018. (Photo by Jonathan Kuhn)

The other two pictures I took of the late mayor are from an event held at the Frederick Douglass Memorial [at Central Park West and 110th St.] on Feb. 14, 2018, to commemorate the bicentennial of Douglass’s birth.

Seated on a folding chair, Dinkins spoke compellingly to schoolchildren of the struggle for social progress, and the promise of the next generation. I caught him in a reflective moment at the ceremony.

One Comment

  1. JackDog JackDog November 28, 2020

    All respect and RIP to Mayor Dinkins. However during the Dinkins administration the EV was an open-air drug market. A sense of trepidation prevailed. On “Democracy Now,” when Juan Gonzalez was offering a tribute, he said that the NYPD wouldn’t work for Mayor Dinkins. Was this a backlash against something similar we are experiencing these days? Cash bail ought to be on a case-by-case basis. Rikers could more economically be rebuilt and reorganized — see the analysis by Nicole Malliotakis: Sound familiar to what the city has cooked up with the East River Coastal Resiliency plan?
    In both cases the Real Estate lobby is keen to make money at the public’s expense.

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