Letters, Week of August 16, 2012

Restored our faith

To The Editor:
I am the owner of a small struggling independent bookstore on Carmine St. in Greenwich Village.

We have been on Carmine for 20 years, and now with the devastating economy we are having a hard time, like many other independent bookstores. I wanted to share with your readers a very positive New York story.

Today I was cleaning the store counter and I found on top of the pile of books, one of the store’s small bags with a note in it. The note was written “To Jim and Indiana,” and said the following. (I’ve taken the person’s name out for privacy’s sake.)

   “Hello, My name is _____, I used to steal books (in 2001-2007) from the store and wish to pay for them. This is payment, estimated, in part.

Inside the folded note, there were five $20 bills, a total of $100!

This is why I love New York: You never know what to expect.

Since I don’t know who this person is — because the note was left on top of the counter and I didn’t see who it was — I wanted to write something to him or her.

What I wanted to say is: Your gesture meant so much to us during these difficult times. Thank you so much for restoring our faith and hope in people.
 Indiana Bervis
Bervis is co-owner, Unoppressive Non Imperialist Bargain Books

Lesson of the prison barges

To The Editor:
Re “Pier 40, sinking the park, faces closure, Trust says” (news article, Aug. 9):

Paris is in the process of restricting vehicular traffic along the Seine to provide more open spaces for visitors and residents alike. Meanwhile, our politicos are proposing to reconfigure Pier 40 to accommodate apartment buildings. What they are proposing doing is building a wall of construction between the Village and the sights of Lower Manhattan and its harbor.

Remember their scheme with prison barges? The politicos had to heat the water around the barge in the wintertime to keep the barge livable, and cool the same waters to keep the prisoners cool enough in the summer. Will we ever learn?

Housing, megastores, prisons, universities, etc. have no place in our rivers. That’s what was originally agreed upon in the Hudson River Park Act — yet, more importantly, parks are not “profit centers,” nor should they ever be.
Bob Oliver

That’s what I’m sayin’…

To The Editor:
Re “Pier 40, sinking the park, faces closure, Trust says” (news article, Aug. 9):

By all means, anyone who questions whether the pier is falling apart should simply come and look at it.

Our company, biz kids ny and pierStudios, has been on Pier 40 since 2001. We have had to evacuate two-thirds of our space because the ramp was falling in on us! We have pointed out the problems with the pier’s physical plant for years.

Personally, I had hoped The Related Companies would get the bid and rebuild the pier — which is what it has needed!

Unfortunately, the majority of the people using Pier 40 only see the field and the lights. Just picture the reality — if the crumbling pier is shut down — of all those cars circling the West Village looking for a place to park!
Peggy Lewis

Addicted to Amateau

To The Editor:
Re “A lifelong newsman looks back as he approaches 80” (news article, July 19):

I have been a member of AA (a reader of Al Amateau’s articles) for decades and when out of town need a fix!

Take a rest, but don’t stay away too long.
Dianna Maeurer

Drove WBAI into ground

To The Editor:
Re “Do Pacifica’s moves signal plug could be pulled on WBAI?” (news article, Aug. 9):

Dan Siegel should crawl back under the rock he came out from. Bernard White was completely incompetent as director and his decade of driving WBAI into the ground has led to the current state of affairs.
Delphine Blue

Little of quality is left

To The Editor:
Re “Do Pacifica’s moves signal plug could be pulled on WBAI?” (news article, Aug. 9):

You forgot to mention (or did I miss an inference?) that while the power-hungry and clueless (regarding Pacifica’s original aims) squiggled to obtain their own goals, the programming standard dipped into oblivion. That kept many an unfit fossil’s show on the air, but it scared off the overwhelming majority of listeners.

WBAI resorted to unethical, outright fraudulent fundraising. Besides the dream Pacifica founder Lew Hill had in the late 1940s, there is virtually nothing left to save at WBAI. A handful of competent, worthy broadcasters will probably find another outlet, but most of the station’s on-air “personalities” will, I suspect, add to the growing number of unemployed.
Chris Albertson

Hopes to beam back

To The Editor:
Re “Local lens: Capturing folks over the years on the L.E.S.” (Clayton, July 19):

Thanks, Clayton. I read your piece about me and how we met. I’ll be returning to Puerto Rico this next Tuesday. I will stay in touch and continue to see if I can finally make that move to the L.E.S. I’ve always wanted to return to where I grew up.

The Lower East Side has many stories. I myself wrote a sci-fi bit which had to do with when I was growing up on Broome and Suffolk Sts. It got me a pretty high grade in Boricua College.

Once again, thanks, my friend, and it was really nice getting together with you and your wife again.
Edwin Natal Agosto

Here today, gone tomorrow

To The Editor:
Re “Gentrification, genocide and the shadow of Bialystok” (talking point, by Bill Weinberg, July 12):

I was interested to read Bill Weinberg’s talking point. I think Weinberg fails to acknowledge the realities of immigration as they play out in New York City.

In the East Village, Germans were replaced by Italians and Eastern Europeans, who then stepped away to make room for Puerto Ricans. Now, the children of assimilated immigrant groups are returning.

The Norwegians and Swedes are gone from Bay Ridge, replaced by Arabs. The Irish are gone from the my childhood South Bronx neighborhood, displaced by African-Americans and Puerto Ricans, who are now being replaced by Mexicans. The Greeks are gone, mostly, from Astoria, like the Italians whom they displaced.

And there used to be an African Methodist Episcopal church on Cornelia St.

The list goes on, endlessly.

Each of the to-be-displaced groups builds churches, synagogues, clubs and cultural institutions meant to last until the final trumpet. But we move on — or are moved on — and no one long remembers.

In part, we are moved by our success in this socially and physically mobile society. By the time Weinberg was born, there were more Bialystok descendants in Queens or the Five Towns than had ever stepped off a boat from the old country. They were too successful to stay: They wanted a lawn and a garage and…all the rest. They became Americans.

Here’s the two-part punch line: The current changes in the neighborhood are not, as Weinberg says, “…effected through the violence of police nightsticks.” The police, even at their worst, do not conduct crime waves. Anyone who lived through the several waves of crime in the East Village and Lower East Side can discern the difference between police behavior, even bad police behavior, and the plague of drugs and burglaries and violence — real violence — that gutted the area’s social life for decades.

On this point, Weinberg argues for a theory of moral equivalence that is unsupported by facts or moral reasoning. Knowing everything that is written above, as virtually everyone does, it is morally repugnant of Weinberg to suggest even the most distant connection between genocide and the commonplace occurrence of New York neighborhood change.

Neighborhood change, all over the city, all the time, is just how it goes.
Bernard McElhone

Ottomanelli’s a cut above

To The Editor:
Re “Peter Ottomanelli, 65, of famed family meat market on Bleecker” (obituary, Aug. 2):

Many years ago I was a cook/chef at a local Village restaurant and always personally bought meat for the restaurant at Ottomanelli’s on Bleecker St. Ottomanelli products were always first class.
Jim Guinnessey

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One Response to Letters, Week of August 16, 2012

  1. quarryhillcreativecenter/ladybellefiske

    That's a nice story, Indiana.

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