V.I.D. honors Herman Gerson, patriarch of ‘Gerson dynasty’


One of New York City’s most storied political clubs, the Village Independent Democrats last week honored an early leader, Herman Gerson, with their Community Service Award at their annual benefit dinner at Manhattan Penthouse last Thursday.

“We hear about the Kennedy dynasty,” said Le Enken, the dinner’s organizer, in her introductory remarks. “Well, the Gersons have their own dynasty.”

Gerson, 93, is a former Greenwich Village Democratic district leader, Democratic state committeemember and V.I.D. vice president. He is father of Alan, city councilmember for the First District, which covers Lower Manhattan, part of the Village and the Lower East Side and Soho, Noho and Little Italy; and husband of Sophie, a former school board leader and community board member. They all live at 505 LaGuardia Pl., where Herman Gerson was president of the board of directors and edits 505 News, the building’s quarterly newspaper, which he started three years ago. He also tutors in math at Washington Irving High School.

At the forefront of the Reform Democratic movement, V.I.D. toppled Tammany Hall boss Carmine De Sapio in a series of legendary district leader elections and launched the political careers of former Mayor Ed Koch and former Councilmember Carol Greitzer.

“Our club has an exciting political history — and I hope that one day Ed Gold will write a book on the subject,” Herman Gerson said, referring to the former V.I.D. president. “I want to thank the V.I.D. for making the Village such a good place for me and my family to live.”

In Herman Gerson’s honor, making her first night out in a year since injuring herself in a fall was another nonagenarian V.I.D. member, former Councilmember Miriam Friedlander, 91.

The club’s dinner was a hot ticket. Among others attending were mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer — who the club has already endorsed— Assemblymember Keith Wright, a candidate for borough president; State Senator Tom Duane; Assemblymember Deborah Glick; former State Senator Catherine Abate; Councilmember Gerson, of course; Keen Berger, Greenwich Village district leader; Rosie Mendez, East Village Democratic District Leader, and Christopher Papajohn, two candidates for City Council in the Second District; former Village District Leader Aubrey Lees; and Ray Cline, president of Village Reform Democratic Club.