Tish and Guido Ciancotta

Tish and Guido CiancottaTish and Guido are married partners in life as well as in advocacy. Lifetime Brooklyn residents, they were members of the National Congress of Neighborhood Women and Greenpoint Renaissance Enterprise Corporation (GREC). In 1978 they formed the Concerned Citizens of Withers Street and Area Block Association. One year later, Tish graduated from the Neighborhood Women College Program with an Associate’s degree. When the empty buildings of the Greenpoint Hospital were converted by the city into a homeless shelter in 1983, they protested the city’s intrusion for not consulting with neighborhood residents, Community Board 1, and elected officials, bypassing plans for a positive reuse already submitted for a nursing home, a medical center, and senior, low and moderate income housing. The homeless shelter had begun with 40 homeless men and soon escalated to 1200 in all of the 8 buildings. For 140 nights the Withers Street Block Association and allies picketed the hospital for the release of the main building. They followed up by going to City Hall and the courts to reverse the decision. They accomplished the release of four buildings for housing the GREC plan and the reduction of the homeless shelter to 200 men. The reduction was a victory for the communities’ fair share. The homeless men had better conditions and the release of the Greenpoint Renaissance Building at 2 Kingsland Ave went to St. Nicks Alliance and became home care, office space and the Arts at Renaissance program. Guido and Tish are a dynamic force. They were also leaders in crime prevention, traffic lights for Withers St. and Woodpoint Road, rezoning, affordable housing and Christmas lights for Graham Ave. They were instrumental in the clean up of a transfer station and its transformation into the community GREC garden. Guido has been a spokesperson on many issues for the betterment of the community; he never gives up, which has made a difference for a better Williamsburg-Greenpoint community. He is a WWII veteran and has worked as a union delegate of local 831 Sanitation Workers Union led by president John Delury Tish has worked as community leader liaison to assemblyman Jospeh R. Lentol 50th Assembly District and has been a member of Community Board 1 for over three decades.

The building at 273-284 Jackson St, Neighborhood Women Houses, is named after activists Theresa ‘Tish’ and Guido Cianciotta for their tireless commitment to the welfare of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint Community and their key role in the transformation of the buildings from the closed Greenpoint Hospital into a positive reuse for the neighborhood.

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