Tom Goodkind, Activist and Band Leader, Was Local 'Renaissance Man'

Tom Goodkind conducts his TriBattery Pops last year at the Taste of Battery Park City. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Feb. 28, 2019

Tom Goodkind, who died last Thursday at age 65, is being remembered for his longtime service to Lower Manhattan as a member of Community Board 1, passionate housing advocate, and spirited founder and leader of the TriBattery Pops community band.

A resident of Gateway Plaza in Battery Park City, Goodkind was a persistent voice for maintaining rent stabilized apartments in Lower Manhattan. As chair of CB1’s Housing Subcommittee last year, he oversaw the compiling of a list of more than 5,000 rent-regulated apartments below Canal Street, with the goal of making sure people knew where they were and that the rents remained regulated. Even while ill, he composed a lengthy CB1 resolution, passed on Tuesday, that called for renewing and strengthening the state’s rent stabilization laws.

But many in Lower Manhattan knew Goodkind best as the baton-wielding, feather-topped conductor of the TriBattery Pops, a band that enlivened local events like the Taste of Tribeca, opening day festivities of the Downtown Little League, and the Fourth of July celebration in Wagner Park. Since 2004, the band has produced a CD each year with a different theme, and titles such as “A Night at the Opera” and “Turn On, Tune Up and Drop Out.”

“Musicians of all levels were welcome,” trumpet player Alan Sturm said in an email. “All that was required was a love of music. Sturm said the musicians would look forward to rehearsals at the end of the work week, when sometimes the conductor and his players spent more time eating pizza and talking than rehearsing.

“I am grateful,” Sturm said, that he encouraged us to rekindle our interest in and passion for the things that make life worth living, like musical expression.

Goodkind and his band had a close relationship with the Church Street School for Music and Art, and its director, Lisa Ecklund-Flores, who called him “a long-standing and important figure in the downtown community for many years” who made a “significant impact on music and the arts.”

“He has always been a strong supporter of Church Street School and I treasured his friendship,” Ecklund-Flores said in an email. “This is an overwhelming loss.”

“Tom understood the power and joy of grassroots community events,Suellen Epstein of Children's Tumbling said in an email. Goodkind invited her stiltwalking students, including his daughter Olivia, to be part of the TriBattery Pops shows. “Tom was teaching the younger generation the value of activism without a political agenda,” Epstein said, “but for the sheer delight of being an active part of their neighborhood.

In a statement, Battery Park City Authority president and CEO B.J. Jones said Goodkind “left an enduring mark as a strong advocate and good friend to this downtown community—not to mention a great entertainer…He was a lifetime full of the love of music, friends, and good humor.

Goodkind performed with the Washington Squares, a neo-folk trio that found success in the 1980s. In January of last year, the Washington Squares reunited for a one-night performance at City Winery, joined by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary.

“He was an institution. An icon,” said CB1 Chair Anthony Notaro. “I mean, he was a rock star and a CPA. A Renaissance man. Larger than life and we’re going to miss him.”

A graduate of the Stern School of Business, Goodkind was a CPA and the chief financial officer for The Rosen Group, a real estate company.

He is survived by his wife Jill, and daughters Olivia and Nicole.

The family plans to organize a memorial concert at a future date.