top of page

This is Clare

Clare also shared one other social issue that she took up a few years ago:  the topless woman in Times Square who seek tips for being photographed with tourists and passersby.  Did you know that it is legal for a woman to be topless in New York?  At 69 years of age, Clare sat topless at one of the outdoor malls in Times Square to support the women.

As we walked through Verdi Park on the Upper West Side of NYC, Clare said to me:  " I bet you thought that I was a homeless person?"  I said yes I did.  As we walked, Clare would stop our conversation when we passed someone who appeared homeless.  She would ask them if they had a warm place to sleep tonight and when they said yes she would reach into her walker and give them a sealed package of prepared food and then continue walking and talking with me.


This is Clare.  The first time I saw her, she was standing with her walker next to a trash basket, examining pages of a magazine carefully and then tearing pages out one by one and throwing them in the trash.  Her walker was piled high with soda cans, both empty and unopened and packages of prepared food still wrapped and sealed in the supermarket packaging.  I asked why she was tearing out pages of the magazine and throwing them away and she replied that if she had already read the article there was no reason to keep it and to make room in her overcrowded walker.

Clare Hogenauer is 71 and a retired lawyer.  She told me that she was an attorney on the case that overturned the death penalty in New York State.  I googled this woman who appeared to be more like a homeless person than an attorney who would have argued against the death penalty.  What I found was wonderful.  A statement in the Albany archives that stated "Clare Hogenauer is a retired New York City attorney who has been a death penalty opponent for decades.  She has attended death penalty trials, lobbied government, spoken to school groups about capital punishment, and testified before legislative bodies during state death penalty hearings, including ones in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey."  Additionally, it stated "The Clare Hogenauer papers document her activism and efforts to try to abolish capital punishment.  The majority of the collection consists of VHS tapes recording death penalty abolitionist events and speakers, especially those from Journey of Hope .  There also are videos recording news of executions and a small number of paper records, including Hogenauer's testimony in New Jersey against the death penalty."

I asked her why she had retired and she said simply it was time to retire.  We continued to talk and walk until we reached her apartment house, a doorman building with a beautifully decorated lobby, worthy of any upscale Manhattan building.  She is indeed not homeless.  She lives by herself and not only does she get out every day, she has made and continues to make a difference.  Another amazing older New Yorker.

bottom of page