New York, NY
United States
Washington Heights 157 St & Broadway Ilka Tanya Payán Park since 1 March 2002
one name
Renaming a Park in Memory of Ilka Tanya Payan: Soap Opera Star, Immigration Lawyer, and AIDS Activist

In a bustling section of Washington Heights, newly-appointed Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joins Community Board 12 District Manager Gregoria Feliciano, members of Dominican Women’s Caucus, elected officials, and community members to dedicate Ilka Tanya Payan Park.
Friday, March 01, 2002; Greenstreet bounded between 156th and 157th Streets, and Broadway and Morgan Place

When Ilka Tanya Payan died of AIDS-related complications on April 6, 1996, The New York Times heralded her as “a champion for anti-AIDS causes.” During the course of her lifetime, the 53-year-old native of the Dominican Republic also starred in the popular Spanish language soap opera, “Angelica, Mi Vida,” practiced immigration law, and served as a contributing columnist for El Diaro-La Prensa in New York. To celebrate the life of this vocal community leader, Parks will celebrate with the Dominican Women’s Caucus, elected officials, Community Board members and friends of Payan and rename a neighborhood park in her honor.

Payan discovered she had contracted HIV in 1986 but hid her illness from the public until 1993. A long-time activist on immigration issues, Payan’s announcement shocked the Hispanic community. Shifting the direction of her energies, Payan spent the final three years of her life informing the public about the realities of AIDS.

Advocated by the Domican Women’s Caucus and written into legislation by former Council Members Guillermo Linares and Stanley Michels, the freshly-renamed Ilka Tanya Payan Park will serve as a blooming tribute to an accomplished and dedicated citizen.

Text © Eric Adolfsen New York City Parks

26 February 2002
Eric Adolfsen, New York City