Carvel H. Moore, Who Found a Career in Bettering a City, Dies at 90

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This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Many remember the blight of 1970s New York, when the city, financially strapped, had its share of subway graffiti, trash-strewed streets and seemingly rampant crime. That era faded for a variety of reasons, including the contributions of residents, business owners and urban renewal advocates who refused to abandon their neighborhoods and devised ways to lift them up.

Carvel H. Moore made a career out of that mission by developing some of the city’s first business improvement districts — public-private partnerships to help maintain community space.

She died of complications of the coronavirus on April 25 at a nursing home in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., , her son Jack Moore said. She was 90.

Ms. Moore, living in Manhattan near Union Square in the 1970s, found her first endeavor there: the 14th Street‐Union Square Area Project, which included an effort to clean up Union Square Park and establisha green market there.

She joined with many in the area, including police officers and merchants, to curb crime, her son said. The New York Times at the time described Ms. Moore clipping hedges in the park herself.

The effort led to the Union Square Partnership, which continues to operate.

Ms. Moore also co-founded the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association, became chairwoman of Community Board 6 in mid-Manhattan and served as a consultant to other business improvement districts, including those covering Times Square, Madison Square Park and Hudson Square.

“She was very old-school, and she had a tenacity, but she wasn’t that quintessential outspoken New Yorker,” Mr. Moore said. “She was soft-spoken and super-organized. That’s how she won people over — not by bluster.”

Carvel Hidlay was born on Feb. 11, 1930, in Bloomsburg, Pa., a Susquehanna River town in the east-central part of the state. Her father, William Clair Hidlay, owned a home-heating oil delivery business; her mother, Eugenia (Terwilliger) Hidlay, was a homemaker. Carvel Hidlay graduated from Vassar College in 1951 and moved to New York City shortly after. She married James Moore, a lawyer and property manager, in 1954, had two sons and bought a home in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan.

As a neighborhood improvement consultant, she lobbied prominent city property owners.

“I think it gave her a bit of a thrill to mix with the mighty,” Mr. Moore said. “She was self-taught but could still run in all these circles.”

No matter the size or nature of her efforts, they were always in the interest of bettering each community, according to her son, who survives her along with his brother, James I. Moore Jr.

“Everything she did was always in the context of doing the right thing,” Jack Moore said. “Her career was a challenge, and she swam with the sharks, but she was not of that world.”


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