The Burden Of Eden

Stuyvesant Town's Struggle to Maintain Its Traditions

A New Documentary By William Kelly

Marie Beirne 1946 - 2018

Marie Beirne died in November 2019 from complications related to hip replacement surgery.

Despite the fact that Marie’s physical condition went from one alarming state to the next, her death still came as a shock to me. For over a year we postponed work on the film which included among other things, interviews, writing blogs for the website and launching a crowd-funding campaign. Marie had such a positive attitude—no matter how dire the latest development in her physical condition—she had me convinced she’d fully recover. She never failed to laugh in our meetings. It was an infectious laughter. And so I agreed to postpone the work until she got back on her feet. Quite frankly, I couldn’t imagine doing the work alone. We both started the work out of a shared passion for housing and the three pillars that support housing preservation— historical, aesthetic and social importance. Her tireless pursuit of preservation initiatives inspired me. I’ve now resumed work on the film which includes interviews, researching period materials, updating the web site and preparing for the crowd funding campaign to finish the film. As I’ve gone about this work I’ve gotten the feeling Marie is still working: the last time we met we compiled a list of subjects we wanted to interview, many of whom we were having trouble tracking down. Strangely enough, after notice of her death went out in the local paper, the very people we wanted to interview (or their descendants), whom we were having trouble finding, began contacting me! I hear Marie laughing.

-- William Kelly