A Victory for Washington Square, Ed Koch, and the Voice


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

September 5, 1963, Vol. VIII, No. 46

11-Year Fight Ends: No More Buses in Washington Square

Mayor Robert F. Wagner entered the local political fray Monday when he hailed Edward I. Koch and Carol Greitzer, Village Independent Democratic Candidates for district leader, for their role in getting the buses out of Washington Square Park. The crowd, gathered for a brief celebration ceremony near the Arch, could barely hear the Mayor’s endorsement due to vociferous heckling by adherents of Carmine DeSapio.

In a statement read by Raymond S. Rubinow, chairman of the old Joint Emergency Committee to Close Washington Square Park to Traffic, the Mayor said he had “urged the action on the Transit Authority. But it must be emphasized that the leaders in this fight were Carol Greitzer and Edward I. Koch. They worked hard to achieve this worthwhile objective. The result is a deserved tribute to their dedication.”

The hastily arranged ceremony at Washington Arch got off to a noisy start when someone exploded a cherry-bomb as the VID entourage entered the park. While the police chased the malcreants, DeSapio grinned into the face of a TV camera. The VIDers set up a symbolic carpet of fake green turf and posted signs reading “Goodbye Buses, Hello People” and “VID Will Stay on the Job Until the Buses roll to the South Village.”

The buses have been re-routed, as of now, east on 8th Street, north on University Place, west on 9th Street and back up Fifth Avenue. The streets ringing the park have been made all one-way, with traffic going counter-clockwise.

…Shirley Hayes, the first anti-trafficker, recited the history of the decade-old struggle against the buses. She recalled the two fierce battles against attempts by Robert Moses to bulldoze a four-lane highway through the park. She cited a list of co-workers in the struggle that ended up with “Carol Greitzer, who picked up the torch when I retired.”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]