Marilyn Appleberg: 2012 Village Award Winner

Community activist Marilyn Appleberg worked to clean up Abe Lebewohl Park

Community activist Marilyn Appleberg helped establish, name, and revitatlize Abe Lebewohl Park

It is hard to imagine East 10th and Stuyvesant Streets today without thinking about neighborhood resident and activist Marilyn Appleberg. Marilyn has worked tirelessly as an advocate for the blocks since she moved to the neighborhood in 1969. In recognition of her service, Marilyn will be presented with a 2012 Village Award, which will be presented at GVSHP’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 7th.

Marilyn Appleberg (far right), celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the St. Mark's Historic District with Andrew Berman, Felicia Mayro, and Simeon Bankoff.

Marilyn Appleberg (far right), celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the St. Mark's Historic District with (left to right) GVSHP's Andrew Berman, Neighborhood Preservation Center's Felicia Mayro, and Historic Districts Council's Simeon Bankoff.

Marilyn helped form the East 10th and Stuyvesant Street block association, and has led the organization as President for many years.  She has fought against inappropriate and out-of-scale development projects along Third and Second Avenues, developed a merchant’s association for the neighborhood, and organizes a yearly block party to raise funds for block beautification projects.

The community gathers for Music in Abe Lebewohl Park in 2011.

Gathering for Music in Abe Lebewohl Park in 2011.

Marilyn is perhaps best known for revitalizing what is now Abe Lebewohl Park, the open area facing St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery on Second Avenue, Stuyvesant Street, and East 10th Street. She convinced her neighbors to volunteer for regular trash removal duties, convinced the local liquor store to stop selling pint-sized bottles of liquor, and prompted the Third Street Music School Settlement to organize a regular summer music series in the park. This summer will mark the 31st year of concerts in the park.  Along with her neighbors and local business owners, (Abe Lebewohl of the Second Avenue Deli taking a leading role), she pressured the City to maintain the park, even securing a much needed renovation. When Abe Lebewohl was tragically killed in 1996, Marilyn successfully petitioned a renaming of the park for Lebewohl. Not one to stop there, she even pressed for the passage of a law to ensure the name of the park would remain permanent.

For over 40 years of tireless devotion to the 10th and Stuyvesant Street blocks, a Village Award will be presented to Marilyn Appleberg. We hope to see you at GVSHP’s 2012 Annual Meeting as we honor Marilyn and 7 other awardees who are being honored for their contributions to the Village.  Stay-tuned to Off the Grid for upcoming posts on our other 2012 Village awardees.

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Sheryl Sheryl Woodruff was GVSHP's Senior Director of Operations until December 2014.