Gloria Sukenick

Gloria SukenickGloria Sukenick didn’t come to a life of activism until rather late in life. Born in Brooklyn in 1925 she lived a life that was undirected but almost always interesting and often colorful. She returned to New York from the Yale School of Fine Arts, where she studied painting, and took up residence in the unusual places she called home—cold water flats, lofts (usually on the 6th floor) tub in kitchen, bathroom in hall—but all affordable and providing experience to draw on in her later life as a housing organizer. Deeply involved in the ’50s and ‘60s bohemian scene, she supported herself with a variety of occupations—waitressing , modeling, dance teacher - even switchboard operator at MOMA for a while, and ultimately, as a copywriter During that time, she became an active voice in the second wave women’s movement. She took part in organizing the first Older Women’s Liberation conference, worked with New York Radical Feminists, Redstockings, The Feminists, and organized consciousness-raising groups for NOW.

Close to retirement, she joined forces with the Chelsea Coalition on Housing and worked with the legendary Jane Wood to fight Barney’s attempt to evict a large number of long term tenants on 17th Street from their affordable apartments to install a high priced boutique in their place. She was also part of a long term struggle to prevent eviction of tenants living at Leo House, a church-run home for single women. Sukenick joined the Metropolitan Council on Housing where she worked with Jane Benedict—one of the three renowned Janes of that period, the third being Jane Jacobs.

Sukenick conducted the weekly tenant drop-in center for many years, answered tenant hot-line phone calls at Met Council, organized events and demonstrations and became a frequent visitor to Albany. Sukenick’s life after retirement was active and according to her, some of the most gratifying years of her life.




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