In the early hours of March 13, 1964, in New York’s Queens borough, a young woman was killed in a crime that continues to reverberate to this day.
Catherine Susan Genovese, known as Kitty to her family and friends, was 28 years old that March day in 1964. She was the eldest of five children born into an Italian American family living in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope. When she was a teen, her mother Rachel witnessed a murder and the family, minus Kitty, moved to the presumably safer New Canaan, Connecticut. Kitty was engaged to be married and remained in New York with her grandparents. She was known to be very self-assured and possessing a sunny disposition. She married in 1954 but the marriage was a brief one; the couple had separated and annulled the marriage by the end of the same year.
Kitty moved into her own apartment and paid her way with a variety of clerical jobs, which she disliked. By the end of the decade, she was working as a bar manager at Ev’s Eleventh Hour on Jamaica Avenue in Queens. In 1963, she met Mary Ann Zielonko who officially became her roommate; unofficially Mary Ann was her girlfriend.
At 2:30 a.m. on March 13, 1964, Kitty left her job at Ev’s to drive home in her red Fiat. While she was stopped at a traffic light on Hoover Avenue, she did not realize she was being watched by a man called Winston Moseley, who followed her to her Kew Gardens neighborhood. She parked her car roughly 100 feet from her apartment building and began to walk toward her home. Moseley too had parked his car and approached Kitty, armed with a hunting knife. Terrified, she ran from him to the front of her building, hoping to make it to the corner of Austin and Lefferts, a major intersection. She did not succeed. Moseley caught her and stabbed her twice in the back. Kitty screamed, “Oh my God! He stabbed me! Help me!” One of her neighbors, Robert Mozer, heard her cry and yelled at Moseley from his window to leave the girl alone. Moseley ran off, leaving Kitty to stagger toward the rear entrance of her apartment building, taking her out of view of potential witnesses.