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Marian Sulzberger Heiskell, Civic Leader, Dies at 100 Marian Sulzberger Heiskell, Civic Leader in New York City, Dies at 100
(32 minutes later)
Marian Sulzberger Heiskell, a New York civic leader and philanthropist who led campaigns to create the Gateway National Recreation Area and restore the grandeur of theaters on 42nd Street, and who was a member of the family that controls The New York Times, died Thursday night at her home in Manhattan. She was 100.Marian Sulzberger Heiskell, a New York civic leader and philanthropist who led campaigns to create the Gateway National Recreation Area and restore the grandeur of theaters on 42nd Street, and who was a member of the family that controls The New York Times, died Thursday night at her home in Manhattan. She was 100.
Her death was announced by her daughter Susan Dryfoos.Her death was announced by her daughter Susan Dryfoos.
As the granddaughter, daughter, wife, sister, aunt and great-aunt of six successive publishers of The Times, and as the wife of Andrew Heiskell, the chairman of Time Inc., Mrs. Heiskell moved in the circles that dominated New York’s philanthropic and social world. And that might have led to a whirling life of cotillions and charity balls.As the granddaughter, daughter, wife, sister, aunt and great-aunt of six successive publishers of The Times, and as the wife of Andrew Heiskell, the chairman of Time Inc., Mrs. Heiskell moved in the circles that dominated New York’s philanthropic and social world. And that might have led to a whirling life of cotillions and charity balls.
But she discovered as a young woman — “much to my horror,” as she put it — that she was good at fund-raising and getting things done, and she soon found herself in demand on the civic circuit. Mayor Robert F. Wagner named her to a “Keep New York City Clean” campaign, and before long her first husband, Orvil E. Dryfoos, the publisher of The Times, was picking up scraps of paper on his morning walks.But she discovered as a young woman — “much to my horror,” as she put it — that she was good at fund-raising and getting things done, and she soon found herself in demand on the civic circuit. Mayor Robert F. Wagner named her to a “Keep New York City Clean” campaign, and before long her first husband, Orvil E. Dryfoos, the publisher of The Times, was picking up scraps of paper on his morning walks.
Her work caught the eye of the Kennedy administration, and she was named to its Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission — a natural fit because she loved fishing, canoeing and hiking. That led Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall to name her to a seat on the National Park System Advisory Board.Her work caught the eye of the Kennedy administration, and she was named to its Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission — a natural fit because she loved fishing, canoeing and hiking. That led Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall to name her to a seat on the National Park System Advisory Board.
From 1970 to 1992, she held a series of mayoral appointments as the chairwoman or co-chairwoman of the Council on the Environment of New York City, a privately funded group that she founded with Mayor John V. Lindsay. It created scores of community-run parks, playgrounds and gardens, as well as the city’s first modern-era farmers’ markets. It also organized environmental education programs in schools and was an early advocate of paper recycling.From 1970 to 1992, she held a series of mayoral appointments as the chairwoman or co-chairwoman of the Council on the Environment of New York City, a privately funded group that she founded with Mayor John V. Lindsay. It created scores of community-run parks, playgrounds and gardens, as well as the city’s first modern-era farmers’ markets. It also organized environmental education programs in schools and was an early advocate of paper recycling.
Mrs. Heiskell became a leader in the campaign that prompted Congress in 1972 to create the Gateway National Recreation Area, a 26,000-acre park of beaches and wildlife refuges on scattered sites around the entrance to the New York-New Jersey harbor. The Interior Department, honoring her in 1980, said she was “responsible for the acceptance of the urban recreation concept within the National Park Service.” At her death she was the chairwoman of the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy.Mrs. Heiskell became a leader in the campaign that prompted Congress in 1972 to create the Gateway National Recreation Area, a 26,000-acre park of beaches and wildlife refuges on scattered sites around the entrance to the New York-New Jersey harbor. The Interior Department, honoring her in 1980, said she was “responsible for the acceptance of the urban recreation concept within the National Park Service.” At her death she was the chairwoman of the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy.
But her most striking contribution to the cityscape was her work on the restoration of the theaters along 42nd Street just west of Times Square, which dated from the early 20th century. These once-grand theaters, where Flo Ziegfeld and George M. Cohan had dazzled the top-hatted limousine trade, had degenerated into a seedy lineup of triple-X and martial-arts movie houses, a shadow of Broadway’s fabled Great White Way.But her most striking contribution to the cityscape was her work on the restoration of the theaters along 42nd Street just west of Times Square, which dated from the early 20th century. These once-grand theaters, where Flo Ziegfeld and George M. Cohan had dazzled the top-hatted limousine trade, had degenerated into a seedy lineup of triple-X and martial-arts movie houses, a shadow of Broadway’s fabled Great White Way.
As chairwoman of New 42nd Street Inc., a nonprofit organization created by the city and the state, Mrs. Heiskell began in 1990 with a mandate to revive the grandeur of the New Amsterdam, the Victory and other theaters with millions of dollars provided by the developers of office towers in Times Square, pledges made in exchange for big tax breaks. As the projects went on, they began to generate income — rents, ticket sales, fund-raisers, grants from the city and private foundations — that drove additional projects to fruition.As chairwoman of New 42nd Street Inc., a nonprofit organization created by the city and the state, Mrs. Heiskell began in 1990 with a mandate to revive the grandeur of the New Amsterdam, the Victory and other theaters with millions of dollars provided by the developers of office towers in Times Square, pledges made in exchange for big tax breaks. As the projects went on, they began to generate income — rents, ticket sales, fund-raisers, grants from the city and private foundations — that drove additional projects to fruition.
A decade after it began, the work was substantially done, including a new theater for children at the renamed New Victory and a 10-story building housing rehearsal studios and offices for nonprofit cultural organizations. Mrs. Heiskell and Cora Cahan, the president of New 42nd Street, said in a letter to The Times that visionary public officials and preservationists deserved the credit.A decade after it began, the work was substantially done, including a new theater for children at the renamed New Victory and a 10-story building housing rehearsal studios and offices for nonprofit cultural organizations. Mrs. Heiskell and Cora Cahan, the president of New 42nd Street, said in a letter to The Times that visionary public officials and preservationists deserved the credit.
“Although it was anticipated that the planned office buildings at the four crossroads sites would spur the redevelopment of 42nd Street, it turned out that the abandoned theaters led the parade,” they wrote. “The lineup of legitimate theaters, built at the turn of the century, made 42nd Street the most famous block in the world. Once again the theaters light the way.”“Although it was anticipated that the planned office buildings at the four crossroads sites would spur the redevelopment of 42nd Street, it turned out that the abandoned theaters led the parade,” they wrote. “The lineup of legitimate theaters, built at the turn of the century, made 42nd Street the most famous block in the world. Once again the theaters light the way.”
Marian Effie Sulzberger was born on Dec. 31, 1918, in Manhattan, the first of four children of Arthur Hays and Iphigene (Ochs) Sulzberger. Her maternal grandfather was Adolph S. Ochs, who bought The Times in 1896 and was its publisher until his death in 1935, when his son-in-law, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, succeeded him. He died in 1968, and Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger died in 1990.Marian Effie Sulzberger was born on Dec. 31, 1918, in Manhattan, the first of four children of Arthur Hays and Iphigene (Ochs) Sulzberger. Her maternal grandfather was Adolph S. Ochs, who bought The Times in 1896 and was its publisher until his death in 1935, when his son-in-law, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, succeeded him. He died in 1968, and Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger died in 1990.
Marian was the last surviving member of her generation of the Sulzberger family. Her siblings were Ruth Sulzberger Holmberg, who was the publisher of The Chattanooga Times for 28 years, and who died in 2017; Judith P. Sulzberger, a physician, who died in 2011; and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who died in 2012. He was publisher of The New York Times from 1963 to 1992 and chairman and chief executive of the company from 1973 to 1997, when he became chairman emeritus.Marian was the last surviving member of her generation of the Sulzberger family. Her siblings were Ruth Sulzberger Holmberg, who was the publisher of The Chattanooga Times for 28 years, and who died in 2017; Judith P. Sulzberger, a physician, who died in 2011; and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who died in 2012. He was publisher of The New York Times from 1963 to 1992 and chairman and chief executive of the company from 1973 to 1997, when he became chairman emeritus.
In addition to her daughter Susan Warms Dryfoos, Mrs. Heiskell is survived by two other children from her marriage to Mr. Dryfoos: a daughter, Jacqueline Hays Dryfoos, and a son, Robert Ochs Dryfoos, as well as two stepchildren from her marriage to Mr. Heiskell, Peter Chapin and Diane Schetky; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and three step-great-grandchildren.In addition to her daughter Susan Warms Dryfoos, Mrs. Heiskell is survived by two other children from her marriage to Mr. Dryfoos: a daughter, Jacqueline Hays Dryfoos, and a son, Robert Ochs Dryfoos, as well as two stepchildren from her marriage to Mr. Heiskell, Peter Chapin and Diane Schetky; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and three step-great-grandchildren.
Marian attended the experimental Lincoln School, affiliated with Teachers College at Columbia University, but did not fare well in its unstructured classes, and could barely read or write by the seventh grade. As was discovered later, she had dyslexia, a learning disability that was not then recognized and that had also affected her mother.Marian attended the experimental Lincoln School, affiliated with Teachers College at Columbia University, but did not fare well in its unstructured classes, and could barely read or write by the seventh grade. As was discovered later, she had dyslexia, a learning disability that was not then recognized and that had also affected her mother.
After a year of tutoring, Marian was admitted to Rosemary Hall, a boarding school in Greenwich, Conn. Always athletic, she played tennis and jumped horses, but the school concluded she was not meeting its academic standards. She toured Europe for a summer with a tutor and was admitted to Lenox, a prep school in Manhattan. She disliked her studies, tested poorly and was barely able to graduate.After a year of tutoring, Marian was admitted to Rosemary Hall, a boarding school in Greenwich, Conn. Always athletic, she played tennis and jumped horses, but the school concluded she was not meeting its academic standards. She toured Europe for a summer with a tutor and was admitted to Lenox, a prep school in Manhattan. She disliked her studies, tested poorly and was barely able to graduate.
A psychologist finally diagnosed her dyslexia, and after more tutoring she was enrolled at the Froebel League, a three-year training school for prospective kindergarten teachers. She graduated in 1941 but did not pursue a teaching career.A psychologist finally diagnosed her dyslexia, and after more tutoring she was enrolled at the Froebel League, a three-year training school for prospective kindergarten teachers. She graduated in 1941 but did not pursue a teaching career.
At a dance given by her parents she met Mr. Dryfoos, a Dartmouth College graduate and Wall Street investor who held a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. They were married in 1941.At a dance given by her parents she met Mr. Dryfoos, a Dartmouth College graduate and Wall Street investor who held a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. They were married in 1941.
Mr. Dryfoos soon joined The Times and began a long apprenticeship that included a year as a reporter and many years as an assistant to his father-in-law, the publisher. In 1957 he became president, and in 1961, when Arthur Hays Sulzberger retired, Mr. Dryfoos became publisher. Two years later, after the strain of a 114-day newspaper strike, he died of a heart ailment related to the rheumatic fever he had as a child.Mr. Dryfoos soon joined The Times and began a long apprenticeship that included a year as a reporter and many years as an assistant to his father-in-law, the publisher. In 1957 he became president, and in 1961, when Arthur Hays Sulzberger retired, Mr. Dryfoos became publisher. Two years later, after the strain of a 114-day newspaper strike, he died of a heart ailment related to the rheumatic fever he had as a child.
Soon after her husband’s death in 1963, Marian Dryfoos was elected a director of The Times, a position she held for 34 years. (Her sisters also served for many years as directors of the company.) She worked for the newspaper’s promotion department, focusing on educational projects, such as distributing copies of The Times to schools and colleges.Soon after her husband’s death in 1963, Marian Dryfoos was elected a director of The Times, a position she held for 34 years. (Her sisters also served for many years as directors of the company.) She worked for the newspaper’s promotion department, focusing on educational projects, such as distributing copies of The Times to schools and colleges.
Mrs. Heiskell also served on the boards of the Ford Motor Company and Merck & Company and was a trustee of the Consolidated Edison Company of New York.Mrs. Heiskell also served on the boards of the Ford Motor Company and Merck & Company and was a trustee of the Consolidated Edison Company of New York.
In 1965 she married Mr. Heiskell, the chairman of Time Inc., whose divorce from the actress Madeleine Carroll had been granted a week earlier. With her new husband, Mrs. Heiskell, who had been active for years in community and environmental projects, expanded her involvement in urban affairs and philanthropic causes. They gave money, lent their names and appeared at affairs to promote education, urban renewal and other causes.In 1965 she married Mr. Heiskell, the chairman of Time Inc., whose divorce from the actress Madeleine Carroll had been granted a week earlier. With her new husband, Mrs. Heiskell, who had been active for years in community and environmental projects, expanded her involvement in urban affairs and philanthropic causes. They gave money, lent their names and appeared at affairs to promote education, urban renewal and other causes.
In 1970, she and Mayor Lindsay formed the Council on the Environment, which joined city agencies in trying to improve the local environment. Over more than two decades, with Mrs. Heiskell at the helm, the organization reclaimed trash-strewn lots and created 40 community-run parks, playgrounds and gardens. The Marian S. Heiskell Garden, on West 48th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, was opened in 1997. The council also organized 33 farmers’ markets, began environmental education programs in 15 schools and promoted early wastepaper recycling programs.In 1970, she and Mayor Lindsay formed the Council on the Environment, which joined city agencies in trying to improve the local environment. Over more than two decades, with Mrs. Heiskell at the helm, the organization reclaimed trash-strewn lots and created 40 community-run parks, playgrounds and gardens. The Marian S. Heiskell Garden, on West 48th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, was opened in 1997. The council also organized 33 farmers’ markets, began environmental education programs in 15 schools and promoted early wastepaper recycling programs.
The recipient of many awards for her environmental work, Mrs. Heiskell was a director of the National Audubon Society, the National Park Foundation, the New York Botanical Garden, the New York City Partnership and the Community Service Society of New York.The recipient of many awards for her environmental work, Mrs. Heiskell was a director of the National Audubon Society, the National Park Foundation, the New York Botanical Garden, the New York City Partnership and the Community Service Society of New York.
Mr. Heiskell retired from Time in 1980 and died in 2003. In a memoir, “Outsider, Insider: An Unlikely Success Story,” privately published in 1998, he wrote that Marian, his third wife, had given him a sense of family and security that he had craved since childhood.Mr. Heiskell retired from Time in 1980 and died in 2003. In a memoir, “Outsider, Insider: An Unlikely Success Story,” privately published in 1998, he wrote that Marian, his third wife, had given him a sense of family and security that he had craved since childhood.
While Mrs. Heiskell stepped down as a director of The Times in 1997, she remained a principal owner of the company under a trust that passed to the four children of Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger upon her death in 1990. The trust, set up in 1986 under an agreement intended to preserve family control of the company, holds 92 percent of the Class B stock, which is not publicly traded and elects 70 percent of the board members. Class A stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange and widely held, elects 30 percent of the directors, whose numbers fluctuate slightly.While Mrs. Heiskell stepped down as a director of The Times in 1997, she remained a principal owner of the company under a trust that passed to the four children of Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger upon her death in 1990. The trust, set up in 1986 under an agreement intended to preserve family control of the company, holds 92 percent of the Class B stock, which is not publicly traded and elects 70 percent of the board members. Class A stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange and widely held, elects 30 percent of the directors, whose numbers fluctuate slightly.
In succeeding years, Mrs. Heiskell maintained an office at The Times, dining in the cafeteria with staff members and conferring with her brother, the chairman emeritus, known all his life as Punch, and her nephew, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., who succeeded his father as publisher and chairman, and at the end of 2017 was succeeded as publisher by his son, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, known as A. G. Sulzberger. Mrs. Heiskell’s daughter Jacqueline Dryfoos served on the board of The Times from 2000 to 2005.In succeeding years, Mrs. Heiskell maintained an office at The Times, dining in the cafeteria with staff members and conferring with her brother, the chairman emeritus, known all his life as Punch, and her nephew, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., who succeeded his father as publisher and chairman, and at the end of 2017 was succeeded as publisher by his son, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, known as A. G. Sulzberger. Mrs. Heiskell’s daughter Jacqueline Dryfoos served on the board of The Times from 2000 to 2005.
Mrs. Heiskell also supported journalism education. In 2005, she and her sisters contributed $4 million to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism for advanced management training for news executives, and another $4 million to the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, which opened in 2006, for internships and scholarships. Both gifts were made in honor of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger.Mrs. Heiskell also supported journalism education. In 2005, she and her sisters contributed $4 million to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism for advanced management training for news executives, and another $4 million to the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, which opened in 2006, for internships and scholarships. Both gifts were made in honor of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger.