Spurned by CB8 and Garodnick, Marx Brothers Place Goes to the Dogs


When it comes to the long-running campaign to designate a stretch of East 93rd Street of Manhattan “Marx Brothers Place” — not to mention extending the critical Carnegie Hill Historic District by one block in order to preserve the fundamental integrity of the neighborhood — the levers of local government have proven highly disappointing.

We keep reading again and again about this anti-government rage infecting the nation like a virus, what with the prevaricating and perverse, radical Republicans stoking the fires of xenophobia and racism in every citizens with single- or double-digit IQs. But if we think that we New Yorkers are inured to such fury, they’re wrong, especially when our elected and appointed officials do such masterful jobs ignoring the popular will.

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From Manhattan’s weirdly secretive and conspiratorial Community Board 8 comporting itself like the blank-minded rubber-stamp parliament of a third-world nation to the actions of one New York City Council member, Dan Garodnick, raising charges of curare-tipped political deception, this much is clear: there is an organized, moronic hostility toward the creation of Marx Brothers Place and toward extending the Carnegie Hill Historic District and it’s stupid. Just plain stupid. Even Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer seems to believe that Community Board 8, if it didn’t exactly commit a legal crime when it voted against Marx Brothers Place, certainly committed a grave sin against the will of the people — against American democracy. That’s not hyperbole, by the way. Tyranny is tyranny. Shame on them.

Meantime, with all of the aforementioned as a backdrop, the supporters of Marx Brothers Place, led by 93rd Street Beautification Association co-chair (and Preservation Diaries columnist) Susan Kathryn Hefti, are continuing their crusade and putting clever pedal to the metal. On Thurs., Sept. 16, a new film called The Dignified Denizens of Marx Brothers Place — starring a Boston terrier named Jackie and a Russian wolfhound named Victor — will have its world premiere. If this film doesn’t convince you that publicly desginating Marx Brothers Place is important right now, then nothing will.

Also known as The Doggy Movie, The Dignified Denizens of Marx Brothers Place refers to the pooches who have lived on that stretch of East 93rd Street for more generations than the people of the street. And who is voicing the doggies? For Victor, it’s none other than Kurt Fuller, who appears in Woody Allen’s not-yet-released new film Midnight in Paris and also has a leading role on ABC’s new fall comedy Better With You; the similarly talented Judith Hendra voices the “doggie sexpot” Jackie.
The screening will take place at the New York Public Library branch at 112 E. 96th St., 6-7pm. For more information or to RSVP, email 93rdst.beautification@gmail.com.
And remember, the bite of historic preservationists is usually worse than their bark.