At left are photos of Catherine Susan "Kitty" Genovese (July 7, 1935 – March 13, 1964) and flowers left at the site in Kew Gardens, Queens, where she was murdered 50 years ago today. Genovese died following two attacks around 3:15 a.m. by a man who stalked, stabbed and raped her. She lived in Kew Gardens with her partner, Mary Ann Zielonko, and managed a sports bar, also in Queens. The Genovese family originally lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn. After her mother witnessed a murder in 1954, the family left the city for Connecticut, but Kitty decided to stay. Her murder became famous following reports in The New York Times that 38 people witnessed the commotion outdoors from their apartments and did nothing. The murder symbolized urban apathy and gave rise to national soul searching and the concept of the "bystander effect," in which one's chances for intervening when someone is in distress lessens if many witnesses are around.
A recent New Yorker article, "A Call For Help: What the Kitty Genovese story really means," by Nicholas Lemann, cites two new books on the murder and the fact that the original story was not entirely accurate. Regardless, no one came to Kitty Genovese's immediate aid. This independent spirit who loved New York should have been a senior citizen today.