As part of the NYC Challenge hosted at Fizzy Thoughts, we have been asked to feature a post that focuses on "women, New York, and history". I ran that meta-data through my brain and it somehow gave back Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. As I thought it through, however, it actually made a lot of sense - Jackie O is a NY woman with an indelible place in U.S. history. Although she lived in many places throughout her life - Newport, RI; McLean, VA; Washington, DC; France, and Greece, she was born and raised in NY and spent significant portions of her adult life in the city.
The intensely private Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sought refuge in NY following the assassination of her husband, JFK in 1963. I thought this quote from the New York Times offered an interesting perspective on her choice of NYC:
Although she fought for her privacy even in NY and was briefly driven out of the city by fears for her children's safety, Jackie returned to NYC and lived in her apartment at 1040 Fifth Avenue
New Yorkers might be considered the most private of all Americans; urban apartment-dwelling grants anonymity to those who seek it. And so she moved to New York in 1964 to an apartment at 1040 Fifth Avenue.
until her death in 1994. Jackie built a life for herself and her children in the city - in addition to working at Doubleday as an editor, she became a patron of many charities.
She dedicated her efforts, in particular, to two of her most loved NYC landmarks - Central Park and Grand Central Station. In recognition of her work with Central Park Conservancy, the Central Park Reservoir was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Overlooked by her 5th Avenue apartment, the reservoir was a frequent jogging destination for Jackie. The reservoir is literally an oasis in the middle of the Park and a favorite spot of mine for a relaxing walk or even an easy jog.
Grand Central Station (or its lesser known, albeit official name - Grand Central Terminal) is a NYC landmark and a destination in and of itself as opposed to merely a terminal that you pass through as you catch a train out of the city. In the late 70's, there were plans to erect a 55 story tower over GCT which would require the demolition of some of the terminal. Along with other city leaders, Jackie fought to preserve the landmark by legally blocking the right to erect the tower. The effort was ultimately successful and Grand Central was beautifully restored in 1994.
By dedicating herself to causes tied so inextricably to NYC, Jackie demonstrated her love for the city and was able to give back to the city that provided refuge for her and her family. Her life in NYC came full circle upon her death when her funeral was held at St. Ignatius Loyola Church - the same church in which she was baptized in 1929.
For further reading on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, check out America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.