On March 13th, 1964, one of one of the most infamous crimes in American history occurred in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York. At around 3 AM, 28-year-old Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was attacked, sexually assaulted, and murdered as she walked from her parked car. The assault lasted thirty-five minutes and occurred outside of an apartment building where a reported 38 witnesses either heard or saw the attack and did nothing to stop it. A front-page article in the New York Times sparked an avalanche of press and weeks of national soul searching. The case has lived on in plays, musicals, TV dramas — it even spawned a whole new branch of psychology.
Today the name Kitty Genovese remains synonymous with public apathy, although almost nothing is known of who she actually was. It was not reported in 1964 that Kitty Genovese was a lesbian and that she shared her home in Kew Gardens with her girlfriend, Mary Ann Zielonko. In this piece, the first broadcast interview she has ever granted, Mary Ann remembers Kitty and the time they shared.
Recorded in West Rutland, Vermont. Premiered March 13, 2004, on Weekend Edition Saturday.
This documentary comes from Sound Portraits Productions, a mission-driven independent production company that was created by Dave Isay in 1994. Sound Portraits was the predecessor to StoryCorps and was dedicated to telling stories that brought neglected American voices to a national audience.