Letters, week of March 1, 2012

Some serious truth, finally!

To The Editor:
Re “Phony letters sink expansion plan for Mulberry Mall” (news article, Feb. 23):

Thank you for this serious and truthful piece of reporting. Too often the blogs and small presses report frivolous claims and reflect a bias in favor of the food and alcohol businesses. I had almost given up reading all reports, but my faith has been partially restored by this article.
Minerva Durham

Getting real about animals

To The Editor:
Re “Sculptor dogged by a past act deserves forgiveness” (Clayton, Feb. 23):

I live in Rochester, N.Y., where Tom Otterness has been the focus of some controversy. The Memorial Art Gallery here in town commissioned him to create a large outdoor sculpture. Lots of animal lovers are upset about it. I have a different perspective.

I do animal rescue both as a job and as a hobby. I live with more rescued animals than I care to mention here. And I traveled to New Orleans to help save animals in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Nobody loves animals more than I do. And I’m here to say that I have no interest in Tom Otterness and the controversy that surrounds him. This is a nonissue to me. It’s true that he did a horrible act, but it happened once, 34 years ago, and he has apparently expressed remorse about it.

We have so many real, ongoing problems that it’s a shame to get distracted by nonissues. We have a huge problem with pet overpopulation, particularly with cats. Breeders and pet stores sell the products of puppy mills.

Then there’s animal agriculture: Around 9 billion animals are slaughtered each year in the U.S. These animals, while they are being raised, are generally treated horribly and they also release enormous amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute more to global warming than the transportation industry. And the manure causes environmental devastation on a more local level.

These are all big problems that deserve our attention. Tom Otterness is inconsequential to me, and we should save our moral outrage for other, more important issues. I’m not in favor of (or opposed to) forgiving him. Forgiveness isn’t ours to give. His sins should be a matter for him, his conscience, and his deity.

The single best way to help animals is to go vegan.
Alex Chernavsky

Dog will be an albatross

To The Editor:
Re “Sculptor dogged by a past act deserves forgiveness” (Clayton, Feb. 23):

This is a profound lesson for creative people. It is far better to work and wait for acceptance than it is to sell your soul for it. The burden of your own notoriety can become a life sentence and there is simply no turning back. As much as Mr. Otterness may have changed, the image of that poor miserable dog’s gruesome death will be hanging around his neck for several lifetimes. That is just the price of fame.
Lawrence White

N.Y.U. growth is relentless

To The Editor:
New York University’s raping and pillaging of Greenwich Village’s history, culture, architecture and quality of life has been treated as a series of individual events, when in reality it’s a trend. Starting with the destruction of the Poe House and the building of the Kimmel Center, to the obliteration of The Bottom Line and the (almost) ruin of the Provincetown Playhouse, N.Y.U. has waged a systematic war on this neighborhood and all those who cherish it.

This is a trend and it’s gratifying to see the large anti-N.Y.U. 2031 turnouts at the recent Community Board 2 meetings.

If N.Y.U. is allowed to change city zoning laws, a horrible precedent would be set and there’s no telling what future horrors could ensue. Perhaps the university might even try to completely demolish Washington Square Village and leave its residents homeless.

That’s why N.Y.U. needs to be stopped now, as we knew way back in late 1999 when it laid its first plans for destroying the Poe House.
Marilyn Stults

Quinn must deny Rudin

To The Editor:
This month, the City Council finally gets to approve or deny Rudin Management’s application to build luxury condos on the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site. Will Speaker Quinn stand up for her district and do the right thing for historic Greenwich Village by denying the application, or will she kowtow to Big Property?

After a long and thoughtful process involving countless public hearings, Community Board 2 spoke for the community in strongly recommending against approval. But we’ve been comprehensively ignored — first by Borough President Scott Stringer and then by the City Planning Commission.

C.B. 2’s objections are reasonable and carefully considered. The upzoning that Rudin seeks for the site is absurd. St. Vincent’s was permitted its extreme bulk because of its unique community function. Rudin’s high-rise luxury condo development serves no public purpose, and claiming the same rights as the hospital is pure chutzpah. Making an exception for Rudin to build bigger would be an unconscionable abuse of protective zoning laws that would create a citywide precedent for further depredation.

C.B. 2’s recommendations also include denying a condo parking garage on 12th St. that would make the block between Sixth and Seventh Aves. the most heavily garaged in Downtown Manhattan; insisting that the Reiss building on that same block be preserved and reused; and denying retail windows on 11th and 12th Sts. All have been ignored.

So will Christine Quinn stand up for us or cave? And how should her actions inform us when she runs for mayor?
Trevor Stewart
Stewart is chairperson, Protect the Village Historic District

A Crater in the sinkhole?

To The Editor:
Re “Under Delancey St., hoping to get low on Lower East Side” (news article, Feb. 2):

I read Bonnie Rosenstock’s wonderful article about Delancey Underground, the endeavor to convert an unused trolley terminal at Essex and Delancey Sts. into a subterranean public park. Sounds awesome!

But given its proximity to Chrystie and Delancey Sts., a block from where, 10 years ago, it was speculated that Judge Crater was buried in a sinkhole, will the project directors let me go down there and look for the judge?
Billy Sternberg

Recognize real superstars

To The Editor:
Re “Lincredible!” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Feb. 16):

Yes, Jeremy Lin is a talented basketball player. But what does he contribute to society? He throws a ball through a hoop.

What does a baseball player contribute to society? He hits a ball with a bat and catches a ball with a glove.

Why is our society so focused on professional athletes? Are our lives so empty that we have to lionize or deify athletes?

Why not glorify people who really contribute to society? A bus driver; a cashier at a supermarket; a waiter at a restaurant; a conductor or motorman on a subway train; a mom; a Con Ed worker; a therapist or counselor; a nurse or doctor; a receptionist; et al. People who serve our needs and make our lives livable.

I challenge The Villager and East Villager to spotlight  an “ordinary” person.
Michael Gottlieb

Clayton rocks the truth

To The Editor:
Re “There’s Varvatos and RIFF, but CB’s isn’t coming back” (Clayton, Feb. 9):

Well said, Mr. Patterson. I agree totally. C.B.G.B.’s cannot be re-created, nor can any other legendary club from the past. Sure, in theory it would be nice, but we’ve seen these ideas fail when anyone tried to recapture the past. Let our memories of C.B.G.B.’s stay intact and move onward.

Anyway, if C.B.G.B.’s were alive and well today, it would be full of wealthy N.Y.U. students drinking martinis saying, “I remember when the L.E.S. was really dangerous; I’ve been here since 2000!” — a conversation I’ve actually overheard a few times.

Zoe Hansen

Focus on Delancey, at last

To The Editor:
Re “D.O.T. is set to release new Delancey St. safety plan” (news article, Feb. 2):

For years, we demanded that our politicians, the Department of Transportation and our local community board address these issues. They never listened until now.
Eric Nagy

Nagy is a member, Fathers 4 Justice

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