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Ruth Wittenberg

Longtime preservation advocate in Greenwich Village, Ruth Wittenberg speaks about the efforts to save the Jefferson Market Courthouse.

Interviewed by Anthony C. Wood
April 10, 1984
People: Kent Barwick, Doris Diether, Harmon Goldstone, Robert Moses, Lewis Mumford, Geoffrey Platt, Frank Sanchis, Margaret Tuft
Organizations: The Greenwich Village Study, Manhattan Community Board 2, Municipal Art Society, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
Places: Greenwich Village Historic District, Jefferson Market Courthouse, Jefferson Market Garden, New York Women’s House of Detention, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Washington Square
Above: Standing: Henry Hope Reed & Carol Greitzer. Seated (L-R) James Van Derpool, Ruth Wittenberg, Giorgio Cavaglieri; Courtesy of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Ruth Wittenberg’s involvement in preservation predates the New York City Landmarks Law. In this 1984 interview, she shares her thoughts on the implementation of the Landmarks Law, particularly with the difficulty of enforcing it, how attitudes towards preservation have changed, and the effects of the law in Greenwich Village. She was involved with the efforts to save Jefferson Market Courthouse, to close the New York Women’s House of Detention and plant the Jefferson Market Garden, and to designate the Greenwich Village Historic District. The Greenwich Village Historic District was one of the first historic districts designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and the process of outlining the district stretched over years, with the commission debating between creating one large, or several small districts.

To request a copy of this oral history, please contact info@nypap.org.