Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Kitty Genovese Murder


Catherine as a child (courtesy Vincent Genovese)
Catherine as a child
(courtesy Vincent

During the 1940s and into the 1950s, the Genovese family lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York. In the 1940s Catherine's father, Vincent A. Genovese started his own business of supplying coats and aprons to local businesses. It was called the Bay Ridge Coat and Apron Supply Company. He became moderately successful, and in 1954 he and his wife Rachel decided to move to New Canaan, Connecticut. The decision came shortly after Rachel had witnessed a shooting near their home. By that time, they had five children, the oldest being Catherine, who was 19. But she chose to remain behind in New York and stick it out while the rest of the family moved to the suburbs.

Catherine was an attractive, outgoing woman who liked Latin American music and loved to dance. A graduate of Brooklyn's Prospect Heights High School in 1954, she was also interested in history and politics and could debate on many issues. "I remember that she loved to talk politics and knew a great deal about what was going on," said her younger brother, Bill Genovese, recently. "She was a Renaissance woman, interested in a lot of different subjects," he said.

By 1963, she had moved to Queens. She rented an apartment located on the second floor of a commercial building on Austin Street in the Kew Gardens section of Queens, a quiet, mostly residential area. She shared her space with a girlfriend, Mary Ann Zielonko. Catherine later got a job as a bar manager in Ev's Eleventh Hour Club, a small neighborhood tavern on Jamaica Avenue and 193rd Street in the Hollis section of the borough. The bar was about five miles from her apartment, and she drove her red Fiat to the restaurant nearly every night. She worked late, sometimes into the early morning hours. It made her nervous to return to her apartment in the dark, but it was something that could not be avoided and being a city girl her whole life, Catherine had the typical resiliency and determination of a native New Yorker.

Catherine's apartment on the 2nd floor of a row of stores on Austin Street, Queens. (photo by author)
Catherine's apartment on the 2nd
floor of a row of stores on Austin
Street, Queens.
(photo by author)

 "On weekends, she would come to visit the family in New Canaan," said Vince, "but it was never enough. Of course, now after what happened, I wish it was more." Catherine was always busy with her career and running back and forth to Connecticut and New York City. She wanted to visit Italy and dreamed of one day opening an Italian restaurant with her father in New Canaan. Her parents worried about her living in Queens, but accepted it as part of city life and as what she wanted. But her heart was never far from her family. "I believe she found an inner peace when she spent weekends with us in Connecticut," said Vince, "She was full of life. The city was one part of her, New Canaan was another."

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