Alice Childress painting by Alice Neal

A legendary Roosevelt Island literary pioneer at the Met

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Frustrated by long lines waiting to get in, I was thrilled at getting this photo of Alice Neal’s Alice Childress portrait. Neal’s show is a blockbuster at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Note: Photo of Alice Childress painting courtesy of a friend who prefers to remain anonymous.

Childress was more than a literary giant at mid-century. Locally, from her apartment in a spanking new Wesview, among other things, Childress helped start the first Roosevelt Island Public Library.

And the circle goes around…

Alice Childress mentored actor Michael Rogers from Westview, and he settled here.

A few years back, I helped RiOC community relations director Erica Spencer-EL rescue a commemorative plaque abused by PS/IS 217. With a big assist from then president/CEO Susan Rosenthal, the plaque found a new home near the Meditation Steps.

Alice Childress plaque.

When it was unveiled, Rogers shared stories of his friendship with Childress with the audience.

And a few months later, RIOC staged a Childress play in the Nancy and Worth Howe Theatre. Rogers directed.

I don’t know when or where Neal made this painting, but I prefer thinking of her gazing across the East River from her apartment in Westview.

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