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‘Job well done, Doris’: Editor remembers one of Greenwich Village board’s ‘Titans’

BY REED IDE | They were three Community Board 2 Titans — people with no compensation — who were our watchdogs.

Ruth Wittenberg (1899-1990) kept watch over Greenwich Village landmarks, singlehandedly securing the designation of the Village as a New York City historic district.

Tony Dapolito (1921-2003), of the famous Vesuvio Bakery, fought long and hard each year for the needs of our parks and the summer lunch needs of our children.

And Doris Diether (1929-2021), friend and foot soldier for Jane Jacobs, was for 56 years, our bulwark against developers and “seers” who wished to play footloose with the zoning laws that protected all of us. Now Doris, the last of these, has died, no longer a dedicated champion.

Other folks come to mind, of course. Bill Bowser fought William Zeckendorf and others over development plans that would have forever ruined the streetscape of the West Village.

Pamela Berdan was fierce in her defense of public-space garden oases.

And Dorothy Ryan fought endlessly for better public education in New York City schools.

There are many more, unpaid nonpolitician residents who wished nothing more than to preserve the ethos of Greenwich Village.

May Doris Diether, and all other folks in the fight, enjoy rest after a job so well done.

Ide was editor of The Villager newspaper in 1973 and 1974. He now enjoys a lakeside retirement in Massachusetts where he continues to write travel articles, and is a substitute teacher in local schools.

One Comment

  1. Gabi Coatsworth Gabi Coatsworth September 20, 2021

    It’s so encouraging to see that people can actually make a difference.

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