84-Year-Old Activist Wants Mario Batali’s Babbo Closed

She's well read on zoning code.
She's well read on zoning code. Photo: Courtesy of Babbo

City Room talks to Doris Diether, a community activist who may be in her eighties but nonetheless spends hours researching the intricacies of city code in order to make cases against alleged offenders. In 1998, Diether tried to prevent Babbo from opening at the Waverly Place address of the old, historic coach house it occupies, but was unsuccessful. Seeing that a variance for the restaurant had expired in December, Diether will now simultaneously battle laryngitis and Mario Batali’s partners as Babbo tries to renew during their city-allotted grace period. She may be frail, notes City Room, but she’s still formidable. Diether did, after all, go up against Robert Moses in 1959 when one of the power broker’s plans threatened Shakespeare in the Park, and she prevailed. [City Room/NYT]