Letters, Week of June 14, 2012

Deserves a slice of the credit

To The Editor:
Re “E. First St. plaque recalls bar that was totally rad” (news article, June 7):

Thank you to The Villager for your coverage of the unveiling and celebration of the new historic plaque on E. First St.

However, I’d like to clarify one point: Two Boots is very much a partner with the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation in this historic plaque program, and is not merely limited to financial support, as might be inferred from the article.

Two Boots and its owner, Phil Hartman, have been integral from the very inception to this effort, from imagining the concept to looking at potential sites for plaques to community outreach to planning the celebrations. More than just financial support, their involvement and generosity has extended to every aspect of this program, reflecting a deep knowledge, love and appreciation of the great history and heritage of our neighborhoods.
Andrew Berman
Berman is executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

No walls, no canopied roof

To The Editor:
Re “AIDS memorial may have vine canopy with an oculus” (news article, June 7):

Really? Roof over 1,600 square feet of our precious sky space? With a canopy? Like our desperately needed park needs a roof. It’s called “open space.” The first idea was to put up walls, now a roof. I speak for water, a fountain.

We need only to consider the use of water in the memorial for the World Trade Center to see how it heals and draws people together. Moving, constantly changing water in fountains has been a feature in public places since the beginning of time. I can think of no better way to remember the many friends I lost in the epidemic that swept our neighborhood than healing, splashing water, the stuff of life.
Cynthia Crane Story
Story is former chairperson, Mulry Angle/W. 11th St. Block Association

Stuck in a ‘hell on wheels’

To The Editor:
Re “The Angry Buddhist: Political gridlock takes a toll” (talking point, by Carl Rosenstein, June 7):

As a multi-decade resident of Broome St. and a longtime crusader in the effort to get the city to recognize its handiwork in the creation of a Downtown hell on wheels, I roundly applaud Mr. Rosenstein’s efforts to make this problem more broadly known.

If every resident of Broome St. affected by emissions, the cacophony of car horns and their inability to safely move about their neighborhood would simply get off their sedentary butts and write to their elected officials and to The Villager, the city would be forced to
find another way.
Otto Barz

Angry Buddhist is also blind

To The Editor:
Re “The Angry Buddhist: Political gridlock takes a toll” (talking point, by Carl Rosenstein, June 7):

That joke about the youth who pleads for mercy as an orphan after murdering his parents applies all too well to Carl Rosenstein’s tirade against Sam Schwartz’s proposal to overhaul New York City traffic. Except
it’s not a joke.

Lower Manhattan is choking on traffic, and mass transit is starved for funds, yet Rosenstein is too blinded by his own bile to grasp that Schwartz’s  plan would solve both problems.

Rosenstein never mentioned the key elements of Schwartz’s plan: halving tolls on the Verrazano and other Robert Moses bridges while charging drivers 5 bucks each way to drive in and out of Manhattan south of 60th St. These overdue reforms would end once and for all the “toll shopping” that for decades has lured drivers away from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and funneled them into Lower Manhattan via the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

Schwartz, a Village resident (and Brooklyn native), a renowned engineer who “gets” traffic, is offering Downtowners a package that would shrink inbound traffic on those bridges by more than a third and restore a measure of sanity to our Lower Manhattan streets. I explained this to Rosenstein in e-mails and phone calls last month and emphasized it as a panelist at the Community Board 2 forum he attended.

I should have saved my breath. Evidently, Rosenstein would rather luxuriate in petulance that the political gods have ignored his (and all of our) pleas to restore the Verrazano’s original two-way toll than consider whether Schwartz’s plan could achieve the same objective.

Worst of all, Rosenstein declares his opposition to Schwartz’s plan and then, orphan-like, has the temerity to deride it for lacking support. Let Rosenstein murder the “parent” that could actually solve his traffic problem; we grownups should champion it.
Charles Komanoff 

Enlightened by Angry Buddhist

To The Editor:
Re “The Angry Buddhist: Political gridlock takes a toll” (talking point, by Carl Rosenstein, June 7):

The discount detour is unfair to us who live in Soho. This has been going on for years. Thanks to the Angry Buddhist for illuminating the root causes and politics that give rise to such an outrage. Recently, I literally sat in my car for an hour to get from N. Moore St. past Canal on Sixth Ave. because of this mess. Whoever is responsible for helping create this situation should be run out of town. If it is Nadler, then so be it.
Kenny Ross

SIRTainly worth a try

To The Editor:
Re “The Angry Buddhist: Political gridlock takes a toll” (talking point, by Carl Rosenstein, June 7):

The way to make Staten Islanders happy and improve the life of residents of the other boroughs at the same time is to restore the abandoned line of the SIRT (Staten Island Rapid Transit) along the north shore of Staten Island. The tracks are already there, and if trains ran on them, they could lure residents of the north shore to take the SIRT to the ferry. Furthermore, the line could easily be connected to existing rail lines in Bayonne and Elizabeth, New Jersey, which would enable commuters to go to Penn Station. There is even a bridge over the Arthur Kill to Elizabeth.

Nobody knows about this unused treasure.
George Jochnowitz

Chamber is biased for N.Y.U.

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. drops hotel, ‘loft blocks’ rezoning; Planning O.K.’s 2031” (news article, June 7):

The Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce should issue a disclaimer because one of its largest members is N.Y.U. So basically, N.Y.U. is endorsing its own plan. Since that is a conflict of interest, why would G.V.C.C.C. issue such a statement and why would The Villager use them as a reliable, unbiased source other than to try to provide “balance” to an issue that the community has vehemently opposed in great numbers?

Twenty years of massive construction will be destructive to our neighborhood and will set a zoning precedent that will be a nightmare for the rest of Greenwich Village and New York City. I applaud City Planning Commissioner Michelle de la Uz, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s representative, for voting against the N.Y.U. 2031 plan, saying it was too vague.
A.S. Evans

Purple growth will spread…

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. drops hotel, ‘loft blocks’ rezoning; Planning O.K.’s 2031” (news article, June 7):

Why did N.Y.U. stop listening to or talking with Community Board 1, which had some wonderful leads for providing space for the university in Lower Manhattan. These projects would take less than 20 years and be up and running for N.Y.U.’s alleged dire needs.

Fellow New Yorkers — in Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn — your neighborhoods are ripe for development. Please be aware, you could be next to be faced with a monstrous, oversized, community-destroying real estate project under the guise of an academic or nonprofit institution!

Join us. Speak out with us. Tell the mayor, the City Council and your elected officials you do not want to be “developed.”
Judith Chazen Walsh 

The stamp of failure?

To The Editor:
Re “Postal Service’s enormous deficit must be addressed” (news article, June 7):

If the postmaster general were responding to a drop in mail volume to close mail-processing plants, he would be justified. But this is a situation of which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The postmaster general has cut service over and over again, reducing mail volume and chasing customers away by every means possible. The postmaster general has helped create this crisis.

Closing the plants and delaying mail will make things much, much worse, putting the Postal Service into bankruptcy from which it will never recover.
Tom Dodge

Issues were well ‘expressed’

To The Editor:
Re “Postal Service’s enormous deficit must be addressed” (news article, June 7):

An excellent article! Yes, the Internet (e-mails and online bill payments), competition and the economic recession are contributing factors. However, Mr. Dennie is on all fours with his points and is correct. Postal Service management seems intent on running the service into the ground with nary an idea how to compete and lacking a vision for the future.

An Oregon congressman has publicly called for the postmaster general to step down.

Even as far back when the late Ted Weiss was a Manhattan congressman, Weiss considered the post office management as far from brilliant.
Alan Flacks

Poetic movement and speech

To The Editor:
Re “Steve Ben Israel, countercultural performer, dead at 74” (obituary, June 7):

Steve was a fact of life. Everything he did still is. We’d sit in the back room of his small apartment, under the loft, by his desk, Bach playing softly around us, and Steve would be preparing smoke and he’d smile and lean in and begin, “You know, man…” and then I’d be caught in the theater of his words and his gestures.

Steve’s capacity to transform his body into the conveyor of any emotions and contradictory ones, too, was limitless. He became the thing he was conveying. And funny. I became laughter listening to him, watching him, and following the development of his words. Steve was funny. And scary.

Once he performed for me in that little perfectly lighted back room one of his violent scenes in “The Brig.” I trembled in fear even as I trusted without a doubt that he would do nothing to hurt me. His control was to the finest point of movement and speech. His use of speech and of pre-speech [or post-speech?] sounds was awesome. His timing was just as sharp and full of content as his material. His delivery was itself an art.

He was a poet/craftsman of his life. And Steve was a scholar. He read books and thought about things and put things together and figured out how to broadcast them.

Steve — one more hug. You were always terrific.
Neil Heims

Israel’s vision was original

To The Editor:
Re “Steve Ben Israel, countercultural performer, dead at 74” (obituary, June 7):

Steve’s power of imagination, his creative drive and his special dynamic, rooted in the duration of the moment, has inspired so many folks all around the planet, that it will be impossible not to feel his infinite presence.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him closely for several years. I learned a lot from him.

While conventional teachers had tried to get Steve to speak the way they wanted him to speak onstage, he taught them how not to — so that the original, irreplaceable vision would not be tainted and could be acted upon with a generous faith.
Hans Echnaton Schano

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