FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 01, 2019
NYC PARKS ANNOUNCES THE RENAMING OF HUDSON YARDS PARK IN HONOR OF ACTIVIST, CONGRESSWOMAN BELLA ABZUG
To kick off Women’s History Month, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today announced the renaming of Hudson Yards Park in honor of the late Bella Abzug. A native New Yorker, Abzug dedicated her life to service as a women’s movement leader, civil rights lawyer and former U.S. Representative for New York. This change has been made with the support of United States Congress Member Jerrold Nadler, New York State Senator Brad Holyman, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
Across the City, the de Blasio Administration has been taking steps to diversify the people and histories honored on public property. The renaming of this 2.15 acre greenspace in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen aligns itself with that goal. Framed by trees and plants, the park has tables and chairs to relax in and fountains to gaze at, providing a calm respite from the city.
“Battling Bella was - and remains - a personal inspiration who helped me chart my own course in public service,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “On this first day of Women’s History Month, I’m proud to name this park after Congresswoman Abzug. I hope a whole new generation of New Yorkers recognizes the importance and contribution of this incredible woman and New Yorker.”
“Inspired by her personal gender-restrictive experiences, Bella Abzug fought tirelessly as an activist and lawmaker to ensure that women for generations to come would have equal rights,” said Commissioner Silver. “Increasing inclusivity in how we name our parks is a huge step towards etching the memory of influential women into our public identity.”
“As any observer of New York politics would tell you, Bella Abzug was a potent force for the West Side and, in fact, the entire country,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “She was a friend and mentor, and naming this new park for her will, in however small a way, educate and inform future generations about this one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life New Yorker.”
“The Abzug family is truly honored that this park is being named in tribute to our mother and her work as a community and civil rights lawyer, feminist leader, environmental and transportation advocate, and Congresswoman. She was a quintessential New Yorker. We are deeply grateful and extend a warm thank you to Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Speaker Corey Johnson, Congressman Jerry Nadler, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and Commissioner Silver for making this a reality,” said Liz Abzug, daughter and Founder/Director of the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute.
“As we approach the Bella Abzug centennial year of 2020—also the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage—it is a perfect moment to remember and honor this history-making leader right in the district where she earned the title, ‘Battling Bella,’” said Harold Holzer, her onetime press Secretary who now served as Director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. “She is best known for her leadership on issues of peace and women’s rights, but if it had not been for Bella’s legislative acumen, the area where she will now be honored would have been overshadowed by a Westway superhighway that she bravely fought—successfully trading in the federal money for mass transit aid. All of us who worked for Bella are grateful to Gale Brewer for helping to celebrate her,” said Harold Holzer, former Press Secretary to Congresswoman Abzug.
Raised in the Bronx by Russian immigrants, Abzug was a force for the people of New York and this country as a civil rights lawyer and activist, and Politian. A maverick, she fought tirelessly for women’s rights, she organized the Women Strike for Peace; co-founded the National Women’s Caucus with Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Shirley Chisholm; and established the Women’s Environmental Development Organization. As a Congresswoman, in addition to her advocacy for women’s rights, she worked to bring home U.S. troops from Vietnam and fought for gay rights—putting forth the first gay rights bill before Congress during her tenure.
Abzug joins the ranks of other civic leaders, musicians, and entertainers, to name a few, who we have been honored in this way.