Thursday, March 13, 2014

Remembering Kitty Genovese, July 7, 1935–March 13, 1964

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.


Michael J. Mand said...

Even though the anniversay did not fall on the exact date of my show, I could not let acknowledgement of that horrible event pass without recognition. I gave a small but heartfelt commemoration of Kitty's murder on St. James Infirmary this past Friday (second half).

Few people know the fate of the man convicted of Kitty's murder. This from Wikipedia:

"Genovese's killer, Winston Moseley, was found guilty and sentenced to death on June 15, 1964. That sentence was later reduced to lifetime imprisonment on the grounds that he had not been allowed to argue during the trial that he was "medically insane". Moseley committed another series of crimes when he escaped from custody on March 18, 1968, and then fled to a nearby vacant home, where he held the owners hostage. On March 22, he broke into another home and took a woman and her daughter hostage before surrendering to police. Moseley, who was denied parole for a seventeenth time in December 2013, remains in prison.[9] He is currently one of the longest serving inmates in New York State."

I just thought your readers might want to know.

Jeff Tone said...

From comments he has made, Moseley seems beyond remorse. Perhaps he is a psychopath. His decision to look for a woman to kill, which resulted in the murder of Kitty Genovese, is inexplicable and horrendous.