Week of January 26, 2012

Respect zoning agreements

 To The Editor:
Many proposed rezonings seek to overturn prior community zoning agreements. These requests are done in the name of progress but not all things termed progress are improvements. This is particularly true for the impact on people who live in our neighborhoods and communities. Whether it’s the West Chelsea Special District or New York University’s superblocks, New Yorkers should be able to count on prior agreements as binding. Our successful mixed-use neighborhood cannot continue to be discarded for commercial interest.
Deborah J. Glick
Glick is the assemblymember for the 66th District

Time to stop the Shaouls

Re “E. 10th St. block is landmarked, but rooftop addition is slipped in” (news article, Jan. 19):

Thank you Villager and Mr. Confino for caring to report on this issue.

If anyone wishes to stop the likes of a young Ben Shaoul and his management team from running amok in your neighborhood, please join together in this, your community. No need to be victims. This gutting and building atop on E. 10th St. here is one of multiple wrongs — one that’s just visible.

Historic districting is wonderful for people like this management group, now raising their property value, and all costs are just passed on to tenants. Ben may be a nice guy who is still very unaware of the personal and physical consequences his destruction entails, and which mostly will continue to go on inside any protected exteriors. He states the American way is making as much profit as possible. We posit there is still perhaps the higher calling many of us have served a life for, an additional American way, a sense of caring, a connected community. I suggest that is a word we can help him better understand. Who knows? Certainly, the great power of the East Village was, and can hopefully remain to be a bit longer, the ethnic, religious, cultural and socioeconomic diversity alive here.

As a direct result of Shaoul’s short tenure, and others like him, we’ve already coldly lost too many East Village citizens in these multiple and rapid takeovers, which specialize in turning our rent-subsidized buildings for the working class into top market-rate dwellings.

We need to follow the money and influence here. What was the Department of Buildings’ rush on this one, when it knew the Landmarks Preservation Commission was seriously considering this? Why? You well know this real estate group has a long trail of shoddy, unsafe work, unscrupulous dealings and poor or no communication with tenants.

And so this group, which needs to be checked — Magnum, Fortune East, PVE, Meadow Partners and whatever multiple local names they give themselves — has been raking it in with pushing “market rate” as far as it will go.
Anthony Donovan

Bimbo was one of a kind

To The Editor:
Re “Te amo, Bimbo: Two Boots tribute to an L.E.S. legend” (news article, Jan. 19):

I worked with Bimbo Rivas as musical director for his “El Piraguero” and “The Winos.” He took the No. 4 train to Croes Ave. where I went to meet him to put music to some of his plays’ lines and poems. As soon as he came off the train, we hugged and Bimbo looked around, took a deep breath and said, “Nothing like country air! I love the country!” Mind you, we were in the Bronx!
Jose “Quico” Segarra

N.Y.U. a threat to East Village, too

 To The Editor:
Preventing New York University from building on its own campus may be a solution for Greenwich Village but leaves the East Village N.Y.U.’s nearest option to build. Although the 2008 E.V. / L.E.S. rezoning prevents huge-scale development here, there are several large lots that may now become attractive to N.Y.U. Off the top of my head, these include the vacant former Loews theater on Avenue A, the former Charles Theater on Avenue B, Mary Help of Christians Church on Avenue A, the Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Avenue B and the old CHARAS / El Bohio, near Avenue B. And then there are the community gardens when their leases come due.

The weakness of NIMBY activism is shortsightedness. Setting a cat at every mouse hole is the least effective solution. Word has it that Community Board 1, in the Financial District, would welcome N.Y.U., but until someone brokers a deal with N.Y.U. to build in the Financial District, N.Y.U. remains a threat to the East Village. East Village leadership should focus on the long-term solution in the Financial District, unless the East Village has changed so much demographically and commercially that Community Board 3 also welcomes N.Y.U.
Rob Hollander

We’ll fight them all the way

 To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. takes heat on school and open space at hearings” (news article, Jan. 19):

N.Y.U. should be ashamed of itself. The “public elementary school,” which is now a kindergarten-to-eighth grade school, would certainly cause traffic congestion on Bleecker St., as well as endangering the children by its location on such a busy street. And the university’s obfuscation about many issues of importance to the community being presented by N.Y.U.’s team of nonresident hired help made its plan much less palpable to our close-knit Village community. N.Y.U. seeks to take over our public open spaces on Mercer St. and on Laguardia Place for the next 19 years while they construct a new city on two blocks of the Village. The N.Y.U. 2031 plan is a realtor / construction company nightmare that seeks to destroy the historic, landmarked nature of the Village. We shall fight them all the way.
Sylvia Rackow

It’s more than handbags

To The Editor:
Re “Authorities are still unable to bag army of knockoff vendors” (news article, Jan. 19):

It is common knowledge that many bootleg items are sold on city sidewalks with what seems like near impunity. This includes bootleg fine art.

That is why it is most irksome that only some merchandise, such as handbags, is being considered for enforcement action. The illegal copying and selling of fine art is an even bigger part of the illegal vending industry and it is causing serious harm to the entire ecology of art. It is as if an ongoing oil spill is polluting the public art scene in New York City, only no one is trying to stop it or clean it up.

Literally, thousands of sidewalk displays selling illegally copied artwork clog our city streets every day. What is even worse is that these illegal stands displace the very few actual fine artists who have a sanctioned First Amendment right to display their artwork in public. It is as if a pirate fleet has displaced legal U.S. fishermen by force but the authorities do nothing.

Until Ms. Chin and others in a position of authority see the entire illegal vending situation as the problem (including bootleg artwork) and finally enforce the laws on the books now, the phenomenon of illegal vending will continue to grow and the damage to artists and our neighborhoods will only get worse.
Lawrence White

Crossing times too short

To The Editor:
Re “Girl is killed crossing Delancey St. (news article, Jan. 19):

Why do we have to wait for a 12-year-old girl to get killed before anyone recognizes that the time for crossing Delancey St. allowed by traffic lights is woefully too short and dangerous?

Oh, I get it. It’s just “collateral damage.” It’s the minor price we pay in order to promote motorists, driving cars, motorized traffic.

And it’s not just that one intersection at Delancey and Clinton Sts. Many other intersections along Delancey St., Houston St., Allen St. and others are very dangerous, too.

Crossing time is only one issue. What about motorists who drive recklessly fast and seemingly act like they wouldn’t mind mowing down the vulnerable pedestrian?
Michael Gottlieb

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