Volume 77 / Number 48 - April 30 - May 6, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Celebrating 75 years:
Lucille was a ball; You had to love her
By Reed Ide
Greenwich Village in the early 1970s was a forgiving place when it came to eccentrics and characters. Those of us who lived there rather enjoyed the unpredictability these folks could bring to community life.
Consider one Lucille Chasin. Lucille lived on Horatio St. She was her building’s superintendent, and not only knew the comings and goings of all the tenants, but managed to extend her knowledge base to include the entire street. People up in that corner of the Village dubbed her “The Mayor of Horatio Street.”
She was an imposing figure, overweight, clad in her signature handmade dresses that were little more than swirling tents covering her frame.
Lucille added undeniable spice to the civic life of the Village. She could be counted on to attend every meeting of Community Board 2, and would arrive having read up on every issue to be discussed, and armed with an opinion on each, always contrary to that of the majority of board members.
Lucille was an educated woman. She argued her points cogently, which only irritated board members more. She wasn’t afraid to shout, to whine or even to shed a crocodile tear. She had little patience for those she perceived as dull-witted, obfuscatory or just plain dumb. She was known for always singing the Miss America song whenever Councilwoman Carol Greitzer entered the room.
When not poring over dry and dusty meeting minutes, she delighted in finding private parties and gallery openings and other receptions. Armed with a phony letter and phony press credentials she would show up to crash these events and enjoy the free food and drink. Her persistence most often won the day and she was allowed in.
You had to love Lucille.
Health problems took their toll. By the early 1990s, Lucille was no longer roaming the Village as its self-appointed civic conscience. She was confined to her Horatio St. apartment, barely able to walk. And there she died. Horribly. Murdered. Her throat sliced. The man suspected of the crime seemingly had robbery on his mind. He died before charges could be brought against him.
The name Lucille Chasin means nothing to most people living in Greenwich Village today. But she was a colorful piece of the community fabric. No one could ever dismiss Lucille.