Doris Diether, activist, inspiration.

Photo: Tequila Minsky

I got very close to meeting Doris on our recent trip. An artist friend Joe Mangrum, who is a very good friend of Doris and works a lot in Washington Park, tried to organise a meeting but sadly she had ended up in hospital with Pneumonia. Wishing you a swift recovery Doris.

This woman is awesome, a woman to aspire to. She has been fighting to stop the destruction of the West Village in New York for most of her adult life.

At a time when our own village, Newtown, is under threat from a toll way called WestCONnex and an unthinking Gladys, I found Doris’s tenacity something we all need to take to heart and then cling to. Huge holes may appear and trees disappear but the fight is not over until it is truly over…..hear that Gladys!

Here is a little about Doris and several links

“Doris’ life has largely been devoted to preserving the special character of her Village, the architecture, the streets, the parks, the people, animals and birds. One of the treasures of this Village, of course, is Washington Square Park, so full of music, entertainers, tourists, neighbors, squirrels and pigeons. Meandering through the park with Doris, people of all ages call out or come up to greet Doris; squirrels scamper up to receive from her fingers the peanuts she carries in her walker.

This idyllic setting was not always destined to remain without alert neighbors. Back in 1959, Doris lobbied against Robert Moses’ plan to end free Shakespeare in the Park performances. She had previously joined Jane Jacobs, Ruth Wittenberg and Shirley Hayes to fight Moses’ efforts to run Fifth Avenue through the park. Recently, Doris heard about a proposal that would ban live music and entertainment from her beloved park! She went right to work to rally friends, put out notices, attend hearings, and get the votes to squash this rotten idea. And she is ready to do it again!”


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