Greenwich Village, NY – Speaker Corey Johnson joined the friends, relatives and former neighbors of the late former Congresswoman Bella S. Abzug, for a street co-naming in her honor at the southeast corner of Bank Street and Greenwich Avenue in Manhattan, the intersection closest to her longtime home.
That intersection is now permanently “Congresswoman Bella S. Abzug Way.” Abzug was a fixture in the neighborhood, often helping her constituents from her home at 37 Bank Street when she wasn’t in Washington D.C. serving the district.
“She was a strong voice with a thick New York accent for those who needed her most, namely the poor and marginalized,” said Speaker Johnson. “Bella was truly ahead of her time, championing issues like gay and civil rights well before many of her peers. Those issues are still very much relevant today, and I am delighted that her legacy will live on forever at the corner she called home with her family, friends and constituents. I am so proud we are doing this today. It is an honor well deserved for a true New York icon.”
“My sister and I are thrilled that our great mom is finally getting the recognition in her beloved Village and on the street where our family joyfully lived and which was part of the district she represented as a Congresswoman in the 1970’s, said her daughters Eve and Liz Abzug, said in a joint statement.
“Bella Abzug was a role model for so many women who were blocked from entry into the corridors of power,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “She was a tireless, tough-as-nails trailblazer, who embodied the very best of New York. As a leader and advocate for peace, for labor, for civil rights and gender equality, she never hesitated to speak out. It’s only fitting that ‘Bella S. Abzug Way’ change the city’s landscape, as Bella once did through her work. Her legacy resounds around the world and serves as a symbol at this street corner for young boys and girls to look up to. I could not be happier to see her memory shared in this way with all New Yorkers.”
Abzug, a leading liberal activist and politician throughout the 1960s and 1970s, represented Greenwich Village in the U.S House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977. During her tenure, she avidly championed the many progressive causes that her constituents supported, from women’s rights to labor rights to gay rights. She made history when she introduced the first gay rights bill in Congress. She frequently spoke out against poverty, racism and violence. She was co-chair of the National Advisory Committee for Women. She helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus, and wrote legislation making it illegal to discriminate against women trying to get credit, credit cards, loans and mortgages.
A native of New York City, Abzug opened her first law office in 1947 and began a civil rights and labor law practice.
Her ties to Greenwich Village run deep. When she first ran for Congress in 1970, Abzug opened an office at the Duplex on Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village. Abzug later moved to 37 Bank Street where she lived and worked for over 20 years. Her work was informed by frequent chats with her Bank Street neighbors and others from this community. She was often seen just outside her building speaking to people and getting input from constituents on the issues of the day or with her family. She was a regular at many West Village establishments, including the Waverly Inn and Casa Di Pre.