Summer has risen over New York City gently, gliding on the wings of a delicate springtime. Temps have been mercifully mild. Blue skies for days on end. Flowers seem more prolific than ever -- masses of white and pink everywhere you look, working overtime to put on a knockout show.
And a million shades of vivid green have come alive, highlighting the trees and lawns in the parks and the plantings up on rooftop patios and along avenues and riversides like never before. Green is the color of life, growth, harmony, and rebirth. It also represents a faith that things will improve after a period of difficulty, be it winter or pandemic. So, it makes sense that this summer’s greenery is extra abundant.
Among the brightest, verdant forces of nature in town is the Green Lady of Brooklyn, AKA Elizabeth Eaton “Sweetheart” Rosenthal. She is a living legend in town and an inimitable spark of happiness to everyone she knows and anyone else who happens to catch a glimpse of her for the first time, running errands or puttering in the yard in her Carroll Gardens neighborhood. You see, she only wears green: from her lime-green tinted hair to her green dyed overalls, scarves and socks, to her hand painted green shoes.
Her attraction to the color began about 25 years ago when she decided to paint her nails green. “And then it just spread all over me,” she once told a reporter, to every shade from evergreen to kelly green to chartreuse, and every shade in between. And not just her wardrobe, but also her front door, dishes, towels and sheets, picture frames, drapery, and smartphone – you name it.
Born in Nova Scotia, Elizabeth honed her natural skills as an artist and fabric designer. She hitchhiked to NYC in 1963, where she has worked as an artist ever since, running her own design company and creating hand painted fabric designs for haute clothiers such as Michael Kors, Liz Claiborne, Calvin Klein, American Eagle Outfitters, and Ralph Lauren.
Elizabeth believes that green is the most positive color in the world. “It makes me feel happy,” she told Patch.com in 2011. “You can wake up really miserable in the morning and then you get dressed and turn green and it’s quite wonderful.”
She is married to artist Robert Rosenthal, who’s cool with the green theme. Their son Sam is a mentalist.
Watch the Green Lady video!
Photo: Greenladyofbrooklyn.co; video, Great Big Story.