Week of January 19, 2012

Redistrict Avenue D projects

 To The Editor:
The city is slashing funding to free after-school programs in the East Village. This is because the neighborhood has grown too wealthy to receive the services, which are reserved for “high need” zip codes, based upon how many children are living in poverty, are English language learners, and are in state-subsidized childcare.

But this should surprise nobody because the area’s inexorable elevation to the status of other classic New York City neighborhoods was destined to happen. This has taken place, inevitably, despite decades of local politicians who have reset public policy to attempt to concentrate their constituencies all in one area, and thus ensure their electability. But grinding wheels of gentrification have inevitably changed the face of the East Village forever, and in the process, disenfranchised its neediest citizens.

Seen in the light of City Council redistricting, the housing east of Avenue D would be much better served if these residents were a part of the 33rd City Council District across the river versus the East Village’s Second City Council District.

There is a lot of discussion regarding how New York’s changing population demographics impact the redistricting process. “Communities of interest” should be united and defined by shared interest, as well as other socioeconomic factors. Members of racial and linguistic minority groups should have fair representation, designed to provide an equal opportunity with other citizens to participate in the political process.

The far East Village, when added to the 33rd City Council District, would become a much better defined “community of interest” than it currently is. With that additional political clout, these residents would not only be able to continue to receive free after-school programs, but would enjoy a new political clout that would garner other significant gains for a needy community.

Steve Sinclair
Sinclair is president, Progress Republican Club

N.Y.U. is so aggressive

To The Editor:
Re “Villagers pack town hall, hoping to stop N.Y.U. plan” (news article, Jan. 5):

N.Y.U. expansion plans are very aggressive. The plan asks that we rezone the Village to build oversized high-rises, that the residents of Greenwich Village live within a massive construction site for 20 years and that a private university be allowed to take public lands that are now used as parks. We want N.Y.U. to be a part of the Village — we don’t want N.Y.U. to change the Village. Build farther downtown where you are welcomed.
Sara Jones

The people have spoken

To The Editor:
Re “Notes from a heckler: The Angry Buddhist returns” (talking point, by Carl Rosenstein, Jan. 12):

Councilmember Chin, there were 500 of your constituents at the Jan. 9 Community Board 2 Land Use and Business Development Committee meeting on the New York University expansion plan. Not a single one supports the plan; all were there to oppose it. Please assure your constituents that you stand with us on this issue. Be unequivocal; do not hesitate. Say no to N.Y.U.
Georgette Fleischer
Fleischer is founder, Friends of Petrosino Square

Violet was one heck of a hawk

To The Editor:
Re “Raptor that held Web watchers rapt dies; A new female swoops in” (news article, Jan. 5):

Nature does not stop even for a minute. A new female will take Violet’s place and the species will continue. Very few young make it to adulthood, so this is necessary. Out of 100 red-tailed hawks that live on Manhattan, only eight mated pairs exist, and out of that, only a few of their young survive into adulthood each year. Pretty harsh.

I guess the good news is that we will be seeing a new pair nesting on the top of N.Y.U.’s Bobst Library ledge next spring — Bobby and his new intended.

As for Violet? I will miss her a lot. She was a testament to survival and she (and Bobby) raised Pip well this last spring and summer, even with Violet beset by a painful, getting-worse leg, which was man’s fault! Somehow she was able to hunt successfully and feed her young. And she stayed on her supposedly bad eggs (the experts said none would ever hatch) until Pip emerged against all odds! Sleep well, sweet Violet!
Stephanie Trolle

My first meeting with Mead

To The Editor:
Re “My times with Taylor Mead” (Clayton, Jan. 12):

Taylor Mead is a great poet. We read together in Baltimore, of all places, one time when Herbert Huncke found the best hamburger and fries in town.

But I’d like to add my “first meet” sketch, if I may. I think it was 1962 in Venice when Taylor used to hang at Big Eric Nord’s. Taylor’s scene was minimal(ist). He secured a grocery cart for his belongings and pickings and had a transistor radio attached to it with his antenna up — all he needed to camp anywhere.
Charles Plymell 

Clayton’s keeping it real 

To The Editor:
Re “My times with Taylor Mead” (Clayton, Jan. 12):

As usual, Clayton Patterson strives to preserve and promote the real history of art in Downtown New York at a time when art is king but completely ruled by the marketplace.

Great piece, Clayton!
Penny Arcade

Preservation and escalation

To The Editor:
Re “Landmarks hearing for E. 10th St. is coming sooner” (news article, Dec. 29) and “Subway escalator is needed” (letter, by Elisabeth Yapp, Dec. 29):

I was a lifelong Villager — until recently being forced to leave due to financial reasons — and was head of the Mulry Angle/W. 11th St. Block Association for more than 25 years. I was born in St. Vincent’s, and have two grandsons living in the East Village who are fifth-generation Villagers.

I want to go on record as favoring immediate preservation of this lovely stretch of houses across from Tompkins Square Park. I pass them all the time on the M8 and they are a delight to the eye.

Anything on the park is desperately important. We have been blessed with the preservation of St. Brigid’s Church. Now let’s go further and preserve the 10th St. side of the park. Let us not succumb to big business, high-rise developers who would like to give “A room with a view” to as many ultra-rich New Yorkers as they can cram into the site.

The time has come to save what’s left — and there isn’t much.

Also, three cheers to Elisabeth Yapp for her letter “Subway escalator is needed”!  Boy, is it ever! The city is prepared to force the retrofitting of a fleet of taxis, but won’t give us escalators. Subway exits right across from a major hospital all these years and no escalator.

Now the plan is to import lots more people thanks to Rudin — and still no escalators? It defies comprehension. Speaker Quinn, come to our rescue!
Cynthia Crane Story 

On that note… 

To The Editor:
Re “Tribes’ last stand? Gallery icon told to vacate building” (news article, Jan. 12):

Hey Villager, why don’t you tell Steve Cannon to turn to Wynton Marsalis? I’m sure the famous trumpeter would return the favors he received years ago.

In the meantime, he could try Legal Aid, and if he’s older than 62 he can try for protections as a senior citizen. There are Legal Aid offices that specifically help seniors facing eviction. His councilmember would be a person to turn to as well.

I hate to see anyone face eviction.
Barbara Paolucci

Thanks for a great profile!

To The Editor:
Re “Many projects but one goal: Saving L.E.S. history” (news article, Jan. 12):

Thanks a million for this wonderful article. It is an honor to be profiled in The Villager.

For the record: My father was born on Spring St. in 1945, raised on Elizabeth St. and was a third-generation Italian-American. His mother was also born on Spring St. It was my mother’s father who came from Russia in 1917.
Eric Ferrara 

Here’s to a High Line bridge  

To The Editor:
Re “Full-length High Line park rolling toward finish” (Robert Hammond, Progress Report, Dec. 15):

Making the third segment of the High Line into part of the park, which now seems likely, will be a wonderful achievement. This part not only extends the park and expands its riches, but enhances the first two sections and the neighborhood far beyond what might seem like just a “one-third” addition. Longer continuity and more access points will surely more than double the High Line’s value in the near future and in the long run.

But it’s not too early to start building interest and momentum toward a natural next step beyond the current goal of “finishing” the park.

Once the High Line runs along 12th Ave. between 31st and 33rd Sts., it will be possible to erect a lightweight and elegant aerial pedestrian bridge over the highway, creating a natural flow of human movement between two remarkable presentations of natural beauty, unimpeded by the need to deal with streets and traffic. Of course, the two parks are quite different in character and will remain so. Bicycles and skateboards, rightly popular in Hudson River Park, do not belong on the quieter and more contemplative High Line. But walkers, wanderers, tourists and nature lovers will all benefit from a chance to continue their pleasures from one part to the other without facing six lanes of intimidating West Side Highway traffic.

Such a connection will be a groundbreaking achievement, enhancing both parks, and it will be one further step in overcoming the barriers the highway currently places between pedestrians and the natural beauty of the Hudson and its creatively landscaped linear park. Let us all hope that High Line supporters will see such a connection as a unique opportunity rather than as a threat to the elevated park’s exclusivity.
Bert Hansen

Ground Zero agendas

 To The Editor:
Re “Get moving on museum” (editorial, Jan. 12):

For years, 9/11 families called for a plaza-level museum. Instead, an elite handful, including Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, dictated that in order to bury all evidence of the attacks out of sight, the museum would go underground — thus adding wildly exorbitant costs. All to be borne by you, the taxpayer, in one fashion or other.

Had Lower Manhattan Development Corporation officials listened to the families, the museum would already be open and generating revenue. Private agendas, however, have been prioritized above common sense, what makes economic sense and our duty by 9/11.
Michael Burke

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