Jane Walentas, Who Planted a Carousel in Dumbo, Dies at 76


Jane Leslie Zimmerman was born on May 6, 1944, in Teaneck, N.J. Her father, Sam, was a dentist; her mother, Shirley (Bloom) Zimmerman, was a homemaker.

She graduated from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia in 1966. In 1984, she earned a master’s in printmaking from New York University.

Her husband and her son are her only immediate survivors. A brother, Richard, died in 1998.

In 1968, Ms. Walentas was a 24-year-old freelance art director looking for an apartment. Mr. Walentas was a 30-year-old fledgling landlord with a couple of buildings, working hard and lonely.

Enter Ms. Walentas, who came to see an $80-a-month studio in his building on West 57th Street in Manhattan. “Is your father home?” she asked him, not quite believing that the scruffy-haired guy with bare feet and Bermuda shorts would be her landlord.

They had dinner that evening, and she knew right away that she would marry him, she once told a reporter, even though he had been wounded by a brief early marriage and had said he would never marry again.

Still, he had to make all sorts of grand gestures to keep her, like painting her name on the side of his building in enormous Cubist letters, 50 feet high, from a design by his friend Lowell Nesbitt. “I even bought her a refrigerator,” he said.

He finally relented, and they married in 1973.

“Best deal I ever made,” he said.

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