Volume 80, Number 51 | May 19 - 25, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

At the reform Democratic reunion, from left, Carol Greitzer, Sarah Kovner, and former Mayor Koch and John LoCicero.

Reform Dems mark 50 years since toppling Tammany

About 110 political activists, including two former mayors and numerous former elected officials, gathered at the Century Club on April 28 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1961 reform Democratic victory in New York City. On that occasion, 15 Manhattan political clubs triumphed over the Tammany machine, and there were scattered victories in the other boroughs, as well.

Former Councilmember Carol Greitzer, who had been on the leadership team that defeated powerful District Leader Carmine DeSapio here in Greenwich Village, was one of the organizers of the event, along with former state Senator Franz Leichter, former Deputy Mayor Barbara Fife and Charles Kinsolving, a former Murray Hill Democratic district leader.

Attendees, some of whom arrived in wheelchairs and with the aid of walkers, also included the following “formers”: Mayors Koch and Dinkins, state Senators Fred Ohrenstein and Jerome Wilson, Assemblymembers Bentley Kassal and Jerome Kretchmer, Councilmember Ronnie Eldridge, state Attorney General Robert Abrams, Don Elliott, former City Planning Commission chairperson, and several former judges and party officials.

Current office holders at the event included Assemblymember Denny Farrell and Councilmember Oliver Koppell. Also attending was Henry Stern, the former Parks Department commissioner and councilmember. Although not a Democrat, but a Liberal Party member, Stern “was someone who was there in 1961,” Greitzer noted.

“We spent several weeks compiling lists and digging up current addresses of the people who were active campaigners in the ’60s,” Greitzer said. “As befits the occasion, we decorated the room with about two dozen old campaign posters, highlighted by a large one of Adlai Stevenson — sort of the patron saint of the folks who got involved in reform politics back then.”

Current and former Villagers and Chelsea residents present included Miriam Bockman, Stanley Geller, Richard Kuh, Sarah Kovner, Robert Trentlyon, Ross Graham, Micki Wolter, John and Jo LoCicero, Stanley and Margot Sklar, Jean Lerman, Mitch Rein, Arthur Stoliar, Murray Gelman, Barbara Steinberg and writers Susan Brownmiller and Lucy Komisar. Everyone agreed it was a great reunion, bringing together many people who hadn’t seen each other for 30 or 40 years.

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