Zoning specialist and Village icon Doris Deither had a tumble a couple weeks ago, which resulted in a broken hip. Her stay at Village Care Rehabilitation on Houston Street didn’t stop the large circle of friends she enjoys from celebrating her birthday on Jan. 10.
COVID precautions restrict visitation inside the Houston Street facility so adaptation is the order of the day.
Friends from Judson Church where Doris is a Sunday front-row regular —while services were held indoors—wanted to celebrate as did colleagues from Community Board 2, whereas an original member from its inception in 1964, Doris has served for 54 years. She is one of the longest-serving community board members in the city.
So her Washington Square Park friends— during pre-pandemic days, she takes daily constitutionals— organized a way to mark her 92nd birthday.
Sitting in the window in Village Care’s ground floor physical therapy room, Doris looked out on Downing Street. Her masked friends scattered on the sidewalk and in the street held balloons and festive posters. One-by-one each from the multi-generational group visited with her through the window, words exchanged by speakerphone. A couple of times during the afternoon the crowd broke into a lively rendition of “Happy Birthday to Doris.”
Doris was thoroughly enjoying the afternoon. “It was interesting,” she later remarked. “Many I haven’t seen in such a while. I didn’t know who they were until they took off their mask.”
“The gathering of about 25 was a great way for the community to show up for Doris. We just wanted to celebrate her!” said Erin Rogers, one of the “outdoor party” organizers, who has known Doris for 15 years. Rogers reminisces how she, her husband and Doris would go to 55 Bar together and how Doris favors champagne and Chardonnay or whiskey.
Two years ago, the Village community came out en masse including all the local politicians and the Washington Square Park musicians to help Doris ring in her 90th year. That party of the year was held in the main gathering room at Judson Church.
Erin noted how a lot of people haven’t been coming out in these last months and it was heart-warming how folks came to safely celebrate Doris’ 92nd year.