Over the weekend, makeshift memorials of candles, signs, flowers and even an action figure went up outside a two-story house in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn and at a high school about a mile away.
They were left to honor the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and a pioneering champion of women’s rights, after she died on Friday. Decades before becoming a much younger generation’s unlikely cultural icon, she grew up on East Ninth Street in Midwood and attended James Madison High School.
“She’s part of the folklore of the community,” Joseph Dorinson — who lives in the neighborhood and has taught at the high school where Justice Ginsburg graduated in 1950 — told my colleague John Leland. “My neighbor’s brother dated her.”
Her roots in Brooklyn
Ruth Bader, the daughter of Jewish immigrants, was a graduate of P.S. 238 and James Madison. She was a member of the East Midwood Jewish Center, a Conservative synagogue.
And she lived on the first floor of the two-story house in Midwood while often nourishing her mind at the neighborhood public library branch, upstairs from a Chinese restaurant and a beauty parlor.
Later, she would attend Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where she studied government and met Martin D. Ginsburg, whom she married shortly after graduation. He died in 2010.
Her old synagogue
At Friday night’s Rosh Hashana service at her old synagogue, which was conducted on Zoom, news of her death reached the group just as the congregants were about to log off. “I was choked up,” Rabbi Cantor Sam Levine told Mr. Leland. “People were crying.”
The following day in his sermon, the rabbi read from an essay Ms. Ginsburg had written as a student at the synagogue’s Hebrew school in 1946, at age 13, arguing against complacency after World War II ended. He called her the Hebrew school’s “most famous alumna” and said the congregation was still trying to process the loss.
Hundreds gathered Saturday night outside the courthouse in Foley Square in Manhattan, holding candles and singing. Handwritten signs in different parts of Brooklyn urged neighbors to honor her legacy by voting. In Midtown, an enterprising artist altered a subway mosaic at 50th Street to read “RUth St.’”
At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the display board posted her imprecation: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
Her legacy in the state
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state would form a commission to select an artist to create a statue of Justice Ginsburg to be erected in Brooklyn.
Across the state, landmarks were lit up in blue, her favorite color, on Saturday.
“While the family of New York mourns Justice Ginsburg’s death, we remember proudly that she started her incredible journey right here in Brooklyn,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “Her legacy will live on in the progress she created for our society, and this statue will serve as a physical reminder of her many contributions to the America we know today.”
And finally: A climate center on Governors Island?
The Times’s architecture critic, Michael Kimmelman, writes:
In recent years, Governors Island has become one of New York City’s quiet marvels.
And last week, the nonprofit Trust for Governors Island released a proposal to rezone disused parts of the island, long set aside for economic redevelopment.
It’s an aspirational plan, more than anything. The goal, which has been circulating for a while, is to incubate a new climate research center. Similar ideas for Governors Island have been advanced for decades. There was once talk about a global health center. In 2002, City University of New York was rumored to be contemplating a campus. The governor and mayor talked about renaming the place CUNY Island.
This time, there’s not even a specific tenant in mind, just a desire to attract one. Still, change starts somewhere. The current rezoning proposal begins a city land-use review process starting next month.
I’ve seen renderings by WXY, the New York architecture firm. They’re rosy advertisements for hypothetical construction. But they give a sense of the scale and potential of the concept, which in this case could entail as much as four or five million square feet of new development.
According to Clare Newman, the president and chief executive officer of the trust, the prospective climate center would offer public programs, offices for green tech companies and architecture and engineering firms, and be anchored by a university or research institute that would build and pay for its part of the campus.
It’s Monday — envision the future.
Metropolitan Diary: Lost and found
I went to the Museum of Modern Art and stopped at the gift shop before doing the galleries.
I was at a counter checking out some pens when I noticed a woman a few feet away examining a display of artsy earrings. She was wearing a striking jacket of many colors, and I watched as she walked off.
Walking over to the jewelry, I admired a pair of tiny earrings that looked like zipper pulls. I spotted a cellphone, and I took it to the cashier and explained where I had found it.
As I turned around, I saw the woman in the colorful jacket. I remembered that she had just been at the jewelry counter. I told her I had found a phone.
She got a panicked look as she felt through her pockets. When I told her to check with the cashier, she hurried off. In a minute, she turned back toward me with a big grin.
“It is mine,” she called across the room. “Thank you, thank you. What can I do for you?”
“Nothing,” I said. “‘Thanks’ will do.”
“Well thank you,” she said. “But I must do more. Here, do you like these?”
She held up a small card holding something blue.
It was a pair of tiny earrings that looked like zipper pulls.
— Judith Hoy
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