By Nancy Aravecz
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, The Jefferson Market Library has served as a center for creativity, intellectualism, and civic engagement for the past 50 years. The Community Conference, on Sunday, October 15th, seeks to celebrate that history by connecting a diverse array of Villagers in conversation about their experiences in the neighborhood. Structured like an academic conference, The Village Past, Present, and Future seeks to encourage conversation and learning about local topics and experiences.
Here’s how it will work: A Village expert will provide a 10-minute conversation starter on an important historical, political, cultural, or personal topic, and then engage in a moderated discussion on that topic with all participants in the room. This Conference will facilitate a space in which everyone’s voice can be heard! Some possible outcomes? Showcasing exciting events in our neighborhood, inspiring new collaborations and initiatives, collectively remembering and honoring our history, and having healing discussions about growing pains in an ever-changing section of New York City.
Schedule of Events
Willa Cather Community Room
1:30 p.m.—Tom Eubanks, author of Ghosts of St. Vincent’s, will speak about St. Vincent’s Triangle Park, a tiny stretch of land in Greenwich Village with an outsized portion of history attached to it.
2:45 p.m.—Vicki Sando, a Greenwich Village parent and activist, will discuss how she successfully advocated for more green spaces in the City, culminating in the Green Roof Environmental Literacy Laboratory atop P.S. 41.
4:00 p.m.—Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, will discuss two prominent buildings that were saved by the community and reborn with new purposes: Jefferson Market Library (formerly a courthouse), and The Library at The Public (formerly the Astor Library). Both institutions celebrate their 50th anniversaries this fall.
Mae West Community Room
2:00 p.m.—Robert Kaufelt, former proprietor of Murray’s Cheese and a third generation food retailer, will discuss his 25 years of leadership at the helm of an iconic Village retailer, from purchase to eventual sale, and the issues facing small businesses today.
3:30 p.m.—Sheryl Woodruff, a public historian and Community Development Director at The Washington Square Conservancy, will speak about the many changes and controversies that Washington Square Park has undergone in its long history. She will also explore the park’s most recent redesign in comparison to the landscape’s evolution over time.