Elaine Young, 75, a fighter for her community

Elaine Young.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Elaine Young, a member of Community Board 2 and a leader in the fight to preserve the Gansevoort Historic District, died on Sun., May 27. She was 75.

The cause of death was cancer.

Young was a longtime resident of 61 Jane St., where she served as president and a board member.

When the Meatpacking District morphed from a working meat market into one of the city’s hottest entertainment zones in the 2000s, Young was among the most vocal local residents protesting that traffic and noise spilling over from the new nightlife zone was impacting the surrounding area.

She also advocated for residents to be included on the board of the new Meatpacking District Business Improvement District, when it was forming around five years ago.

Three years ago, she initially expressed concern about the new Whitney Museum of American Art, on Gansevoort St., specifically its outdoor terraces, fearing they would be used for loud entertainment and events. But she was eventually reassured that the museum would be a good neighbor, and that the number and type of outdoor events there would acceptable and not overly intrusive to local residents.

More recently, she was a co-leader with fellow activist Zack Winestine of Save Gansevoort, an ad-hoc group dedicated to defeating the “Gansevoort Row” project that will demolish and build up parts of a rustic low-scale block of Gansevoort St. in the landmarked historic district. The group sued in court to stop the project, and was able to temporarily block it from proceeding. However, the New York State Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court — recently refused to hear Save Gansevoort’s lawsuit, so the project is now going forward, and 70-74 Gansevoort St., the building at the block’s western end, has already been demolished, and is now set to be replaced with a new multistory building.

Young was a member of C.B. 2 for the past 12 years.

Terri Cude, the community board’s current chairperson, said, “Elaine Young was a valued colleague and friend. It is both painful and difficult to say goodbye to her. She was a strong, steadfast voice for her neighborhood and for the needs of the entire community. Since being appointed in 2006, Elaine filled many roles on C.B. 2: She served as an officer, a committee chairperson and member on five different committees over her years on the board. We are all saddened by her passing and send our sincere sympathies to her wife, Ginny, her family and the many friends she made throughout her years on the board and as a passionate advocate for her area. She is already missed.”

Mary Johnson, a former C.B. 2 member, praised Young for her independence.

“She was a great asset to C.B. 2 and the district community,” Johnson said. “She was respected and admired for her practicality. Elaine reviewed every important issue thoughtfully and independently before stating her commonsense opinions. She was a refreshing, independent voice on important community matters and a fierce advocate for our neighborhoods. I was privileged to work with her on the board and call her friend.”

Elaine Young was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 3, 1942, to the late Irving Adler and the late Helen Heda. She graduated from the University of Chicago, majoring in history.

Young began her career as an educator and taught in the New York City public schools in Harlem and the South Bronx. She later moved into real estate and became a broker and partner in Patton Young Properties in New York City.

A world traveler, she was not just a tourist but immersed herself in the culture of places she visited. Her passions included politics, classical music, art, gardening and cooking.

Young’s memorial, at 632 Hudson St., was attended by 120 people, and was led by Rabbi Gloria Milner. A friend who spoke summed up Young’s dedication and commitment to the community by saying, “Elaine was the last real soldier for our cause.”

She is survived by her beloved spouse of 30 years, Virginia “Ginny” Syron; her brother Jack Adler, his wife Judith Adler, her nephew Matthew Adler, and her nieces Sharon Adler, Anna Adler and Danielle Witchel. 

Young spent holidays and weekends with Ginny’s family and will be deeply missed by Judy and Kees Schuddeboom, Greg Khost, Jackie O’Brien, Peter Khost, Aida Izadpanah, Alex Khost and Amanda Wilder.

Elaine Young’s family has asked that donations in her memory be made to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, www.gvshp.org/elaineyoung.

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