Annabelle Greenberg, 93; Dad ran 5th Ave. hotels

Annabelle Greenberg in 2011 at age 88.

Annabelle Greenberg in 2011 at age 88.

BY RICK HILL | Annabelle Greenberg, 93, of 24 Fifth Ave. in Greenwich Village, died March 28 at South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside, Long Island. She had fallen at her daughter Carrie’s home where she had been staying in home hospice status after declining health from longtime unpublicized kidney disease and more recent vision loss and terminal breast cancer diagnosis.

Born November 1922 in Greenwich Village, she lived in her fourth-floor studio at 24 Fifth Ave. after her husband’s death in January 1998.

After getting her bachelor’s and master’s of arts from Hunter College, she taught school for 27 years, mostly first grade, much of it in a lower-income Brooklyn neighborhood where her students sometimes had bare pantries she discovered in home visits.

After college, she married Howard Greenberg in 1949, a fellow teacher 10 years her senior with an N.Y.U. Ph.D. in sociology, whose dissertation was on teacher retirement systems.

They lived in Long Beach where he was teaching and raised their two daughters, Carrie and Nancy.

Her father was John Spaulding, Catholic and Irish/English, and her mother, Eleanor Witt (shortened from Wittetsky), Jewish of French-Canadian ancestry.

Annabelle always favored her Jewish side.

She was active early in the women’s liberation movement and a talented dancer through college. She loved art, painting, museums and theater and traveled widely with her two sisters.

Her daughter Carrie recalls her as “gracious” and “someone who would do anything for anybody” and “the most giving person I ever knew.”

Annabelle’s father was the manager of 1 Fifth Ave. and later 24 Fifth Ave., when the family lived in an apartment at 21 E. 10th St. because of a policy forbidding staff from living on the premises.

In her sunset years she was active at the Center on the Square senior center at 20 Washington Square North and she enjoyed eating and shopping at Agata & Valentina at 64 University Place, both on her home turf from childhood.

She leaves two daughters, Nancy Schaffer and Carrie Stein, both of Long Beach, three grandchildren and a great-grandson, along with extended family.

Her friend of five years Joan Williamson, a Harvard Ph.D. in medieval studies who lives in Washington Square Village, recalled Annabelle “as a very loving and positive person who never spoke ill of anyone.

“She was fun-loving and loved life and was full of kindness,” said Williamson. “She was a delightful companion and very loving friend. I felt honored to be her friend and am richer for the many hours spent with her in one another’s apartments or in the park and at restaurants and events.”

Another friend, Ilsa Gilbert of the Westbeth artist collective on West St. between Bank and Bethune Sts., knew Annabelle for 18 years.

“I miss her every day,” she said.

Gilbert is a well-known poet, playwright, librettist and director of the PEN Women’s Literary Workshop in New York City, which she founded 23 years ago.

Annabelle was also close to Elizabeth of Virginia, the late photographer Jane Cullen of Cincinnati, the late Florence, who lived uptown, her personal trainer Linda Smith of Arizona, and Marie and Joe Sabilla.

Everyone spoke of Annabelle’s incredible empathy and how she saw with an understanding heart and was an excellent judge of character while overlooking flaws. They spoke of her mirth and sense of humor.

“Our mother had a green thumb,” added her daughter Carrie. “She could make anything grow — house plants, yard plants. I still have a 65-year-old English ivy she nurtured and gave me.”

One of her most important relationships was with her home healthcare aide of the last year or two in the Village, Adelfa Collado, who became her close friend as well and visited often in Long Beach after her recent relocation there.

Adelfa recalled Annabelle as “really, really very sweet.”

One close friend said Annabelle confessed to succumbing to stopping at an ice cream shop on her daily drive home from Brooklyn to Long Beach. Sundaes were her undoing, she said, causing a dramatic weight gain, until she got her addiction under control and lost the pounds.

Annabelle joked, “Despite the weight, I kept my proportions.”

A memorial is planned for the spring.

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