Downtown Post NYC
IN MEMORY OF TOM GOODKIND
Tom Goodkind at a Community Board 1 meeting. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Long-time Battery Park City resident Tom Goodkind usually celebrated his birthday (Dec. 7, 1953) with a party. His wife, Jill Goodkind, orchestrated the festivities. The guest list was always long, the food, ample. But for Tom's 65th birthday, there was no party. Lots of people wondered why. On Jan. 27, 2019, Tom sent out an email to explain.
"Folks," he wrote. "While in New York Presbyterian in the middle of four serious operations, I missed my annual opportunity for a great gathering of old friends in early December and I'm sorry - but so happy to still be around and recovering."
He went on to say, "I miss you all and wish you a great 2019."
I had heard that Tom was ill and sent him an email immediately to say that I was very glad to hear from him and hoped he would be "up and about before long." In that email, I asked him about his pal, Abbie Hoffman.
Tom wrote back to me on Jan. 31. "Yeah - he was a good friend," Tom wrote. "What a fast wit, which I loved." He said that he and Abbie had written a song together. "Abbie was thrilled at the idea of being a rocker," Tom commented, "which was nothing but cute."
He sent me a photo of himself performing at the Palladium for Abbie's memorial service and ended his email with the line, "Recovering slowly with lots of love to you and our wonderful community."
That was the last time I heard from Tom. He didn't recover. He died on Feb. 28, 2019.
I can't write those words without tearing up again.
Tom, who was a passionate musician and the irrepressible conductor of Battery Park City's house band, the TriBattery Pops, was also an accountant by profession and had held senior positions in large financial services and real estate organizations. For years, he served on Community Board 1, hammering away at the need for affordable housing in the neighborhood so that young people could afford to live where they had grown up and the elderly wouldn't be driven out of the neighborhood by apartments whose rents had skyrocketed.
In fact, from his hospital bed, he sent a resolution to the Community Board about the need to renew and strengthen New York State's rent stabilization laws, which will expire on June 15, 2019. The Community Board passed Tom's resolution at its full board meeting on Feb. 26.
But as serious as Tom was about what the Community Board could and should do, he was usually also droll in his outlook. After his death, I looked back over the many emails that he and I had exchanged over the years and found some of them to be so funny that I laughed out loud.
In one from March 16, 2009, he replied to a question from me about what had happened at Sen. Dan Squadron's annual community convention, which I had been unable to attend.
Tom's account was worthy of Monty Python. Tom wrote it with a musician's sense of timing. I've placed it below in its entirety.
I think Tom would want us to remember him with laughter rather than tears. He had fun. He wanted us to have fun, too.
He was a fine man - both good and kind. He is missed.
— Terese Loeb Kreuzer
TOM'S ACCOUNT OF A COMMUNITY CONVENTION
Hi Terese -
As promised, here's a summary of our one-hour discussion group covering:
Jobs, Workers' Rights & Economic Development
1. After the introduction speeches in the auditorium, we waited as told for 20 minutes in the auditorium, when a moderator walked in and moved us to the cafeteria.
2. There were more than a dozen of us, and the moderator assigned a secretary, had us all sign in, and briefly introduce ourselves. Then the moderator asked for discussion.
3. XXXX began discussing local stores and other items for about ten minutes.
4. The moderator then decided to limit individual comment to 90 seconds, and one person was assigned timing.
5. When the person assigned timing began interrupting to tell the person commenting how much of the 90 seconds remained, it was decided that he would, instead, hold up fingers.
6. Four more people came to the table, unaware of the new rules, and introduced themselves for quite some time.
7. People with large cameras and microphone came to the table to film us - we weren't sure why...
The discussions centered on small local stores, musicians, and film. That appeared to be most people's self interest. People discussing local retail stores wanted lower rents and less tax. One musician wanted more night clubs. The film people - two of them - wanted less tax.
There was one older dock worker who came late, sounded like Humphrey Bogart, still had some remaining teeth, and argued for quite a while pushing for the immediate re-creation of Manhattan's old docks.
There was a Lower East Side protester who told us that since the 1960s, she had been, along with her special group of friends, developing special mathematical formulas to show how the City improperly favors land owners through tax. Then she slowly gave all the formulas, which no one else at the table could really follow.
When things diverted to the overall economy - an increase in the highest New York State unemployment rate was suggested along with an extension of unemployment. Also suggested was giving those out of work health care benefits, and possible rental assistance. Job creation was also a topic.
Although some at the table were clearly angry with the idea of assisting out-of-work financial workers, some wished them well and suggested that Daniel might create jobs for them policing Wall Street so that the same problems we have now do not recur.