Jane Jacobs: A Public Celebration in Washington Square Park
June 28, 2006
Whereas: Jane Jacobs chose to live in Greenwich Village, attracted to its vibrant streetlife, diverse population and mixed-use buildings. It was here that she observed the fundamental qualities of the street, the neighborhood and the larger city that she wrote about so profoundly.
Whereas: In 1934, Jacobs moved from Scranton, Pennsylvania to Brooklyn Heights to live with her sister and find a job. Every morning, she hopped on the subway to explore the city and arbitrarily chose a stop to get off at and look for work. She fell in love with the Village as soon as she emerged from the Christopher Street station, and it was there that she found a job, an apartment, and a new way life.
Whereas: Jane Jacobs wasn’t the first or last person to draw inspiration from Greenwich Village, but no other writer had a more tangible impact on the neighborhood. The publication of The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961 ultimately resulted in a dramatic and necessary realignment of priorities among both city planners as well as everyday citizens. Her vision of dynamic, dense, and diverse urban spaces forever altered the world’s perspective of cities. But Jacobs was not only one of our brightest intellectuals, she was also a committed activist who inspired Americans to get involved in their communities. It is thanks to her leadership in the resistance to destructive development that SoHo became a model of urban rebirth, the West Village survives intact and we can gather today in beautiful Washington Square Park, which Jane Jacobs helped save.
Whereas: From Banana Kelly and the coalition of community groups along the Bronx River to Greg O'Connell's regenerated piers in Red Hook, the ideas of Jane Jacobs have been wholly incorporated into our vibrant residential and commercial neighborhoods. I am proud to join the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and the Center for the Living City at Purchase College in celebrating the legacy of a remarkable New Yorker, whose fundamental principles remain the bedrock of authentic urbanism.
Now therefore, I, Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York, in celebration of her contribution to New York City and all cities, do hereby proclaim Wednesday, June 28, 2006 in the City of New York as
“Jane Jacobs Day”