Volume 20, Number 36 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 19 - 25, 2011
BY Janel Bladow
The pages of the New Year book begin with memories of the past…
A Star is Gone…
Sparkling, smiling Wendy Stewart left us on Wednesday, Dec. 15, surrounded by loved ones including her sister holding one hand while her husband Joel Greenberg held the other. She was showered with “I love yous” and kisses and continued to touch people even after she was gone.
Wendy, 58, who worked side-by-side with her Joel as an excellent family and wedding videographer-photographer team, became ill last January, when her liver began to fail. As she grew sicker, Joel says, she kept a smile on her face, and during the last five and a half weeks in NYU Hospital, she thanked the staff and hugged the nurses.
Friends and family gathered for a memorial service at Brotherhood Synagogue in Gramercy Park on Sunday, Jan. 9 where many shared loving, touching memories of Wendy’s lively spirit. The next two nights more people dropped by their home on Water Street to sit Shiva with Joel, his sister Janet and her husband Marty Kaplan and celebrate Wendy’s life. The evening was the kind Wendy would appreciate: people gathered around platters of delicious food from Russ and Daughters and Zabar’s, sharing stories and enjoying her prized collection of 1950s straw handbags, many by the famous Midas of Miami.
It was wonderful to share memories and see photos of the lovely young Wendy in Rome and the beaming couple on their wedding day.
What was particularly saddening is that Wendy’s life might have been saved. November 2010, when Wendy went into the hospital for the last time, was the worst month in 15 years to need a liver transplant – none were available. Yet Wendy in death continued her giving as she did in life. She donated her eyes so that someone else could see.
Joel shared in an email: “Her most precious joy in life was in the act of giving and her generosity in life is now extended in death. I was so lucky to be the recipient of all that love and all that giving. I had my own personal Santa Claus, full time.”
Two more memorial services are planned: one in her childhood hometown of Tiverton, Rhode Island at Amicable Church this weekend, and another in her adopted summer home, Vinalhaven, Maine in August.
Over the summer, Wendy said she wanted to be buried in the places that made her happy, with people she cherished. Her ashes will be split between the Greenberg family plot in New York, the Stewart family one in Rhode Island and in Maine.
“She had a full, loving life,” Joel told Seaport Report. “I’m lucky to be surrounded by great friends and love.”
Another creature of regal bearing of Water Street who also brought smiles and joy to everyone he met passed away five days earlier. Omar, the beloved Basenji boy of Marckle Myers and David Richter died of cirrhosis of the liver on Dec. 10, 15 days before the Christmas boy’s seventh birthday. Anyone who lived in or frequented the Seaport would recognize that imperial curlicue tail with its snowy white tip, especially between Water Street where he lived, Meade’s where he enjoyed a refreshing moment or two, Salty Paw where he relished tormenting the pooches behind the window in doggie daycare and Fetch Club spa and nightclub on South Street where he discovered the most delicious free snacks. The little dog with a lot of personality even has his own Facebook page where tributes are still coming in.
On a festive note, however, another long-time Water Street resident, the noble Harold Reed, opened his lovely home to friends, family neighbors and colleagues for his annual celebration. The between the holidays party was a lively gathering with illustrious guests such as Marion Javits and Councilwoman Margaret Chin. While Lincoln Palsgrove who moves on from the Seaport shared the excitement of his new position at General Growth Properties, the parents of actor Barrett Foa who plays computer nerd Eric Beale on NCIS: Los Angeles talked about their son’s success on the other coast and the graciousness of the show’s leads: LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell. Between sips of champagne, guests nibbled on delectable bites of steak, crab cakes and more from Table Tales caterers across the street.
Red Carpet Worthy…
And Seaport’s own Katrina Szish is now featured contributor to CBS’s the Early Show. Earlier this week her smile lit up our morning TV as she gave her Golden Globes red carpet wrap-up with stylist Robert Verdi.