The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation held its 25th annual meeting last week at the Village Community School. New board member nominees were Florent Morellet, who has served as an adviser to the society since 2004 and is co-chair of the Save Gansevoort Market Task Force; and Leslie Mason, who is active in the Charlton Street Block Association.
At the meeting, architect James Stewart Polshek, in a dark jacket and yellow tie, stood out against a beige curtain in presenting the 15th annual Village Awards. Among this year's recipients was Visiting Neighbors, an organization that matches volunteers who help senior citizens. Mr. Polshek drew laughter from the preservation set when he said of Visiting Neighbors, "It has special meaning for me, as I'm getting on in years." Cynthia Maurer, the executive director of Visiting Neighbors, placed her hand on the architect's shoulder and said, "I would visit you anytime!" Mr. Polshek riposted, "Where do I sign up?" to further merriment.
Mr. Polshek announced that the most bittersweet award of the evening's tributes was being made posthumously to Keith Crandell, a Village resident who had been active in community service and social justice issues for decades. Mr. Polshek said Crandell died after the society decided to honor him. Accepting were his widow, Annie Shaver-Crandell, and a daughter, Louise Crandell.
During the business session of the meeting, voting members were instructed by the chair of the nominating committee, Jo Hamilton, to hold up small placards on popsicle sticks during voting, quipping, "I know we are more used to holding much larger signs on sticks at outdoor protests."
Following other awards, a reception was held accompanied by music of the Brian Woodruff Trio. At the table of society pamphlets, cards, and informational booklets, intern Kristy Menas, who hails from Minneapolis and will embark on a master's degree in historical preservation studies at the Art Institute of Chicago this fall, said, "I'm a Villager for the summer."
Society executive director Andrew Berman said it had been a good year for the group; its membership grew 40% for the second year in a row and its Benefit House Tour was the most successful ever. He spoke of challenges such as the continued loss of "modest, down-to-earth" structures along the waterfront in exchange for new towers in the sky. He also spoke of hopeful trends such as the designation in 2004 as landmarks of three Federal houses on MacDougal Street, followed by a fourth on St. Mark's Place. A fifth on Greenwich Street, he said, is currently under consideration.
ALL THE LIVELONG DAY Devotees of photojournalism convened last week at the Howard Greenberg Gallery on 57th Street to celebrate the work of lensman Arthur Leipzig, whose photographs are part of a show called "Portraits of Labor: Photographs of Work from the 1930s-1950s." A portion of the proceeds go to Laborarts.org, a joint project of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University, and Bread and Roses, the cultural arm of SEIU Local 1199.
Over cocktails, guests studied Mr. Leipzig's work, which focuses on the beauty embedded in quotidian experiences of ordinary people at work and play. Mr. Leipzig was born in Brooklyn in 1918. He became a staff photographer for PM in 1942, and in 1955 his work was included in Edward Steichen's landmark exhibition at MoMA, "The Family of Man." In April, a show of Mr. Leipzig's work inaugurated the newly constructed Humanities Building Gallery at Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus. He is a professor emeritus there.
Photographer Ida Wyman said of Mr. Leipzig, "Arthur's a fine person and a wonderful photographer." Ms. Wyman sold her first photograph to Look magazine in 1945. During remarks made to the crowded gallery, co-curator and Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation executive director Evelyn Jones Rich, wearing a summer straw hat, said, "We had such fun and difficulty selecting from Arthur's lovely photographs."
Ms. Rich, who earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University, told the Knickerbocker she had been involved in the Congress of Racial Equality in the late 1950s and 1960s, raising funds for the Freedom Rides during the civil rights movement. "I'm an academic, but I'm also an activist," she said.
Philanthropist Donald Rubin said his parents were trade-union leaders. He said when he was a young man, he worked with Henry Foner, a former president of the Fur and Leather Workers Union, at organizing around labor issues. Mr. Rubin told the Knickerbocker he has just returned from Cambodia, where he visited children's hospitals.
PRESIDENTIAL POWER "How did Jack become JFK?" is the question author John Barnes set out to answer in "John F. Kennedy on Leadership: The Lessons and Legacy of a President" (Amacom). At a reception in Midtown last week, the author said Kennedy learned charisma from a love of Churchill - and Gary Cooper! When Kennedy met Cooper in Hollywood, he was heard to ask how such an ordinary man got to be such a star, and "Can I do that?"
Kennedy, Mr. Barnes said, became the first president to borrow Hollywood's star-making strategies for politics - learning how to speak slowly with presence and audience command, a skill he was not born with.
Mr. Barnes himself knows something about communication. Apart from his writing, he is senior manager of corporate communications for Pfizer, Incorporated The Knickerbocker asked Mr. Barnes to parse Kennedy's leadership during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Mr. Barnes answered, "He kept his cool."