"Gloria Jean D’Argenio died before she could truly live, be known, find purpose. As the 'Woman on the Bridge,' she could be flattened into two dimensions, forgotten, discarded. But did she ever have a chance, even before Meir Kahane entered her life and helped bring about her destruction?"
Estelle Evans was born Gloria Jean D’Argenio, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1942. She grew up a restless and rebellious child who, by age 14, had been sent to an orphanage by her estranged parents and later moved to New York City in hopes of being an actress/model. By that time, Evans began sharing an apartment on West 58th Street and spent her nights absorbed in Manhattan's nightlife. It was there, at an Upper East Side bar, that she met Michael King. The two began a relationship and, after several months, were engaged.
Two days before her wedding, Evans received a letter from King. He was ending their relationship and was actually married with a family, living on the Upper East Side. What King failed to tell Evans was his real name — Meir Kahane — and his real identity as an ultranationalist, pro-Israeli Orthodox rabbi who condemned intermarriage and later would go on to found the radical Jewish Defense League.
In this piece for The Cut, writer Sarah Weinman explores Kahane's personal hypocrisy, fraud, and ultimate betrayal as a fringe figure in the Jewish community. Perhaps if she had known all this about her lover, Evans would not have jumped off the Queensboro Bridge in Manhattan on July 30, 1966.