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One More Chance To Hear Annie

Gloria WassermanCourtesy Felton Davis An audio recording made by an East Village resident in July offers listeners another chance to hear the voice of the beloved neighborhood fixture Gloria Wasserman, who was widely known as Annie.

The East Village lost one of its great characters in September, when Gloria Wasserman, a neighborhood fixture known and beloved as “Annie,” died at her daughter’s Los Angeles home at age 85. But thanks to one East Village resident, we’re still able to hear Ms. Wasserman’s voice and recall her energy and good humor.

An audio clip of Ms. Wasserman comes from Zara Burdett, an East Fourth Street resident who often saw Ms. Wasserman holding court at one of her favorite spots – perched on the stoop of the KGB Bar. Stream the clip, an exchange from July, here. In 58 seconds, the audio exemplifies Ms. Wasserman’s catchphrase “Leave ‘em laughing,” and provides a sample of her banter with neighborhood residents.

“Annie made a personal mark on my life in recent months,” Ms. Burdett wrote in an e-mail message to The Times, noting that she enjoyed listening to Ms. Wasserman’s “hilarious jokes and provocations” on the street.

According to Ms. Burdett, the exchange took place on a sweltering day. Ms. Wasserman was excitedly yelling out to strangers, determined to learn who uttered the famous words “I came, I saw, I conquered.” She repeatedly asked, “Who said that?” One gentleman incorrectly assured her it was Alexander the Great.

“She deserved to get the facts straight!” Ms. Burdett wrote. She approached Ms. Wasserman several minutes later. “It was Julius Caesar,” Ms. Burdett said. Ms. Wasserman recognized the name, and let out a blissful roar of excitement. “I came, I saw, I conquered,” she repeated over and over.

“I use it for comic material,” Ms. Wasserman said. “I don’t perform, but I think about it.” She took out a pen from somewhere deep in her familiar red, wire-frame shopping cart, and attempted to scribble the name onto a scrap of plastic.

Ms. Wasserman was best known for her work at the Fulton Fish Market, where she spent 35 years selling newspapers and cigarettes and earning the nickname “South Street Annie.” She suffered a stroke in August and was taken to Bellevue, where she stayed for a month before ending up with her family in Los Angeles. An extended tribute to Ms. Wasserman was published in The Times on Oct. 15 and is available here.

The Day | Telling Annie’s Story

EV st mark's churchGloria Chung

Good morning, East Village.

During the weekend, a reader, Micki Goldberg, commented about our story on the death of the neighborhood icon known as Annie, who for years worked as a vendor at the Fulton Fish Market. Although Annie was a friend to many, few knew her real name – Gloria Wasserman – or the details of her life before she came to the market.

“The story of South St. Annie is so fasinating it wants to make you know more about her,not the life in the East Village only but her life as Gloria Wasserman,” Ms. Goldberg wrote.” She chose to become another personality in life, what drove her to this ?”

On Sunday, The Times offered a rich appraisal of Annie’s life that is well worth reading. Be sure to check it out.

In other neighborhood news, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York captures an unusual newspaper box at First and First and EV Grieve has more on Friday’s bike lane demonstration (in case you missed it, here’s our video report on the protest).

Saying Goodbye to Annie

Photo of Annie's flyerJenn Pelly Notices about the death of Ms. Wasserman, also known as Annie, were posted this weekend along East Fourth Street.

Annie is gone.

Gloria Wasserman, who sold newspapers at the Fulton Fish Market for decades and became a fixture in the East Village known and beloved as “Annie,” died last Wednesday morning at her daughter’s home in Los Angeles, friends and neighbors said. She was 85.

Notices about Ms. Wasserman’s death were posted on East Fourth Street over the weekend by the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association. It was on East Fourth Street, especially outside the Eastville Comedy Club, near Second Avenue, where Ms. Wasserman could usually be found holding court in recent years, uttering what became known as her catchphrase — “Leave ‘em laughing.”

Ms. Wasserman was best known for her work at the Fulton Fish Market where she spent 35 years selling newspapers and cigarettes and earning the nickname “South Street Annie.”
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