More than a hundred local residents gathered at The Katharine Hepburn Garden on a warm spring Saturday to honor the legendary movie star with a 105th birthday party.
The fiesty actress — known for her strong leading roles, sharp wit and tongue, riveting longterm affair with onscreen counterpart Spencer Tracy, and for bringing slacks into the American woman's wardrobe — died in 2003.
But that didn't stop diehard fans and former neighbors from having a great time in her name, and honoring the imprint she left on the big screen, and in her former neighborhood of Turtle Bay.
Guests enjoyed a birthday cake, coffee and beverages, and took in a guided tour of the small and secluded, peaceful garden, which was organized by the Turtle Bay Association and Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.
The memorial garden is nestled inside the larger Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. It is located on 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues.
"Today is a celebration of Katherine Hepburn, not only for her birthday, but for her tireless work as a community activist, and for what she did as a member of this neighborhood," said Bill Curtis, president of the Turtle Bay Association.
"She was involved with the Turtle Bay Association right from the beginning," when it was formed in 1957, he said.
Alongside her silver screen credits, Hepburn was a dedicated community activist, he said, and she put a great deal of energy into beautifying her neighborhood. As a longtime supporter of the block-long park, she often helped tend to the upkeep of the garden, he added.
The groups unveiled a stone marker Saturday, laid in the actress's honor in front of Kate's Bench, an actual wooden bench from Hepburn's Connecticut home, where she is said to have sat and read the New York Times every morning.
For 60 years, she lived in a brownstone at East 49th Street and Second Avenue, calling the area home from 1931 until the 1990s, when she moved to Connecticut.
Following the tour, the garden hosted a screening of the 1949 film "Adam's Rib."
"We're passionate and dedicated about keeping Katharine's Garden a very special part of the neighborhood," said Sherril Kaazan, president of Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.
"This garden is an environmental jewel of New York City, and we aim to keep it that way."