A Puppeteer and an Activist: The Unlikely Friendship That Warmed New York’s Heart

    Discover the inspiring story of Doris Diether and Ricky Syers, two New Yorkers who found friendship through the art of marionette puppetry in Washington Square Park.


    In a moment that melted hearts, 85-year-old Doris Diether, a long-standing advocate for housing rights in Greenwich Village, was photographed alongside her marionette doppelganger, feeding a squirrel in Washington Square Park. The man behind the marionette? Ricky Syers, a gifted street performer.

    Their friendship blossomed in an unexpected way. Diether, who had temporarily lost her voice due to an injury, met Syers while he was performing with his puppets in the park. The two quickly connected over their mutual love for marionettes. Diether even shared her collection of old newspaper clippings about marionettes, some dating back to 1974, with Syers.

    Touched by this gesture, Syers decided to craft a marionette that mirrored Diether, complete with her white hair, rosy cheeks, and signature floral outfit. The marionette made its debut in a short video that has since gone viral, capturing the hearts of social media users worldwide.

    Their friendship serves as a beautiful testament to the power of human connection, transcending age and adversity. In a world often divided, the story of Doris Diether and Ricky Syers reminds us that shared passions can unite us, and that acts of kindness can have a lasting impact.