1929 - 2020
Harold James Blake, Dedicated New Yorker, Right-Hand Man to Robert Moses, Who Never Stopped His Service to His Community and His City.
April 5, 1929 - May 10, 2020. Harold died from COVID 19 at NYU Hospital.
Born in Greenwich Village, growing up in a cold water flat, Harold resided in the west village within a ten-block radius his entire life, except for his years of service in the Army, during the Korean War.
Harold 's career at the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority began in 1952, starting at the bottom of civil service ranks, rising to become Personnel Director. As executive assistant to Robert Moses, he was Moses' "right hand man," and is quoted and cited as an interview source in Robert Caro's "The Power Broker."
Harold's life encapsulates 20th Century first-generation Irish experience. From Longford County Ireland, his mother Mary (neé Lennon) arrived alone in NYC at 10 years old, to work as a chambermaid in her aunt's boarding house. Harold's father Patrick, a civil servant with the Department of Sanitation, later opened Blake's Candy Store at 10th & Hudson Street; thus began Harold's lifelong sweet tooth.
After serving in the Army during the Korean War, Harold was first in his family to graduate college, night school at NYU on the G.I. Bill. Harold began his career as a clerk at Triborough. Level-headed, pragmatic, smart and trustworthy, Harold started moving up until he worked directly for Robert Moses. Harold described Moses as brilliant and "the nicest man he could have hoped to work for." Moses appointed Harold his Executive Assistant at the 1964 World's Fair, and afterward Harold returned to Triborough, promoted to Personnel Director.
Harold Blake never stopped giving back to his community and his faith. A lifelong parishioner of St. Veronica's Church on Christopher Street, he served as church organist and lay administrator for decades, and board member for the Church's housing for the needy and grammar schools. In retirement Harold expanded his volunteer work in the local community and throughout the city, serving on community boards and participating in his neighborhood block association. A devout friend to the sisters of Charity, Mother Teresa's "Gift of Love" AIDS Hospice, and the AIDS memorial in the Village, Harold was blessed by Saint Teresa and personally gifted with her rosary beads. Harold's life is a full success story: generous, loving, devoted to his family as he was kind to everyone who knew him. He was a shining light and a role model to his proud nieces and nephews, who always looked up to him.
In 1988 and 2017 Harold gave detailed interviews about his life:
He is predeceased by brothers Patrick (Gloria) and Vincent, sister Catherine Navarro (John) and friend Larry Broglie. Harold's nieces and nephews, Patty Mayer, Keith Blake, James Blake, MaryLynn Navarro, Michael Navarro, and Kathleen Navarro fondly remember him, as well as his many friends, and his dear friend Youbraj "Padhay" Deonarine.
Family burial at Calvary Cemetery,Woodside , Memorial Mass to be announced at a later date