For Women’s History Month, Stephen DeVillo created a write up for "Jane’s River Sisters":
The once neglected and maligned Bronx River has experienced an astonishing revitalization into a community environmental and educational resource, thanks to the vision of several women who followed in the footsteps of Jane Jacobs.
Appalled by the condition of the Bronx River at West Farms, in 1974 Ruth Anderberg began organizing community cleanups of the river, which grew into the Bronx River Restoration. Ruth, together with Nancy Wallace, kept the Restoration going for 25 years, until in 1999 their efforts gained the support of the NYC Parks Department, which organized, under the direction of Jenny Hoffner, the Bronx River Working Group, which in 2001 became the Bronx River Alliance. Led by Linda Cox until 2016, the Alliance is today directed by Maggie Greenfield.
Meanwhile, in 1987 Gail Nathan organized the Bronx River Art Center. Located in the Bronx River Restoration’s original headquarters by the banks of the river on East Tremont Avenue, the Bronx River Arts Center today is a magnet for a flourishing renaissance of Bronx artists.
Downstream, Alexei Torres-Fleming, director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ), was instrumental in bringing about the transformation of an abandoned riverside industrial space into today’s acclaimed Concrete Plant Park. Further downstream, Majora Carter organized the community efforts that became the award-winning Hunts Point Riverside Park. Also in Hunts Point, Nilka Martell initiated efforts to transform another abandoned industrial waste into a riverside Garrison Park. Upstream by the Westchester border, Josie Burke convened the volunteer “Muskrateers” that restored the all-but-abandoned Muskrat Cove into a beautiful northern link of the Bronx River Greenway.
These are just a few of the women activists who have brought about the revitalization of the Bronx River, and many more “Jane’s River Sisters” are continuing the work today, bringing Jane Jacobs’ inspirational vision of livable cities to the banks of the Bronx River.
Join Stephen DeVillo on May 4th for a "Jane Jacobs Walk". We’ll honor the work of these women as we take a look at the river as it flows through West Farms, The Bronx’s oldest existing community, and examine some of its past, ongoing, and future revitalization initiatives.