By Tara Kyle
HELL'S KITCHEN — Community Board 4 lost one of its leading voices Wednesday night when longtime waterfront activist Bob Trentlyon walked away, flowers from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in hand.
"Bob caused a lot of great things to be done for our neighborhood," Quinn said, appearing at CB4's full board meeting with a yellow and orange bouquet for Trentlyon. "He has an ability to see a vision for what our neighborhood should be."
Over nearly five decades spent raising children and grandchildren in Chelsea, Trentlyon, a former newspaper publisher and founder of the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, has held a litany of leadership positions. He was the president of Save Chelsea, an organization devoted to preserving the neighborhood's historic character, and a member of the Hudson River Park's advisory council.
Perhaps the most important part of that legacy is Trentlyon's three-decade long battle for the development of Chelsea Waterside Park, which debuted a new great lawn, carousel and skateboarding park near 23rd Street last spring.
In commemoration of that work on Chelsea's once rough-and-tumble waterfront, the City Council awarded Trentlyon and Doris Corrigan a proclamation in July at a ceremony during which Quinn called the pair "living legends of the West side."
Other accomplishments praised by Quinn Wednesday included Trentlyon's vociferous support for the Chelsea Recreation Center, which opened in 2004 after languishing for decades behind boards, and his participation in the battle against 22nd Street slumlords Thomas Iveli and Robert Sigmund.
Last year, Trentlyon began advocating for a study examining the feasibility of constructing storm surge barriers in waterways around the city.
Before carrying out his final bits of business with the Board, Trentlyon cited George Bernard Shaw's famous statement about loving humanity but hating people.
"For me, it's the opposite — I love people, but sometimes I hate humanity," he said, before pledging to continue appearing at CB4 waterfront committee meeting's as a public member.
"You haven't gotten rid of me yet," he said.