Letters, Week of August 30, 2012

Right in so many ways

To The Editor:
Re “Restaurateur reportedly giving space for 9/11 tiles” (news article, Aug. 23):

As a 9/11 family member who lives here in the Village, I applaud the initiative, creativity and perseverance of everybody, individuals and businesses alike, involved in keeping these tiles in public view. I clearly remember the night of September 11 and walking to St. Vincent’s to look for my wife.

The Village is a special part of Manhattan, as are the people who live here. This determined effort to keep this “last remaining grassroots, spontaneous 9/11 memorial” close to its original location, which is across from the location of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, is right in so many ways.

Thank you for your efforts!
Charles G. Wolf 

Save the Sphere, too

To The Editor:
Re “Restaurateur reportedly giving space for 9/11 tiles” (news article, Aug. 23):

Great job to save this irreplaceable piece of truly public art. Please see my Facebook page under “causes,” “save the sphere” and  change.org to sign the petition “save the sphere.”

The iconic Koenig Sphere, a symbol of world peace, is the only remnant and work of art from the World Trade Center to survive the attacks. For 10 years it has stood in Battery Park as a “temporary” memorial. It will soon be moved — either into a hangar out at J.F.K. or, bizarrely, to Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx.

Join thousands, including 9/11 families, survivors and Downtown residents, who are fighting to have it come home to the W.T.C. site — where it may serve again as an indomitable symbol of world peace, remembrance and healing! Thanks for any help! For more information or to help, e-mail Savethesphere@gmail.com .
Michael Burke

Turf battles, identity politics

To The Editor:
Re “Unified Village, Asian-Latino districts hot topics at hearing” (news article, Aug. 23):

The districts ought to reflect the population bases. If there isn’t a single district combining the Lower East Side, including Chinatown, the Bowery and Little Italy, over time the long-established ethnic populations of these communities will end up with no representation whatsoever. They are already being overwhelmed by the real estate developers and their preferred new demographic base (white, affluent), and the traditional communities aren’t going to have two Council seats in the end. Sooner or later, there’s going to be a turf battle.

Also, having a single “gay” district encompassing Greenwich Village and other neighborhoods on the West Side is an offensive proposition. The suggestion that there is a monolithic (liberal?) gay constituency is nonsense. Look at what’s happened on the U.S. Supreme Court with the “black” seat; it’s ended up occupied for decades by Clarence Thomas, one of the worst reactionaries in American public life. Clearly, identity politics is poisonous, and the recourse of the politically lazy, and it always backfires on the well-meaning in the end.

As a sideline, I might note that Mr. Kui obviously does not know the origins of the phrase “separate but equal,” and his use of that loaded phrase is unfortunate to say the very least.
Elliott Hurwitt

Archivist par excellence

To The Editor:
Re “Michael Nash, record-keeper of the left, dead at 66” (obituary, Aug. 23):

I was shocked to hear the news about Michael Nash. We met when I was looking for a suitable repository for both my Greenwich Village and women’s rights papers. I wanted this material to stay in the Village, and he convinced me that the Tamiment archive was the right place. His work deserves to be known by a wider audience.
Carol Greitzer

Nash’s work good as Gold

To The Editor:
Re “Michael Nash, record-keeper of the left, dead at 66” (obituary, Aug. 23):

Michael Nash was such an enthusiastic fan of West Village history. He led to the move to add Ed Gold’s papers to the N.Y.U. archive, preserving important parts of Village history. He was a wonderful fellow and will be much missed.
Diane Lebedeff

The legacy of immigrants

To The Editor:
Re “Landmarks: Bialystoker ‘eligible for consideration’” (news article, Aug. 23):

As an octogenarian with deep roots in the Lower East Side, I thank The Villager and Terese Loeb Kreuzer, author of the excellent article describing the importance of the Bialystoker Center and Home. The building definitely qualifies as a landmark for its architectural and cultural significance — its art deco design exhibiting Jewish religious ornament and its heritage as the great achievement of an immigrant group determined to provide for the needs of the infirm and elderly.

The building should be adapted for affordable housing and could incorporate other community uses. With landmark protection, the Bialystoker Center and Home will stand as a visible link to the past in a neighborhood whose character is rapidly being obliterated by development.
Marvin Berman

Suing for Sasaki’s sake

To The Editor:
Re “W.S.V. residents sue N.Y.U. to save garden, playground” (news article, Aug. 23):

Kudos to Mr. Goldberg and W.S.V. Green Neighbors, Inc. for stepping forward and initiating a much-needed suit to stop N.Y.U.’s continued disregard for historical places and green spaces. The planned destruction of the Sasaki Garden and the Key Park playground must be stopped. Ripping out the beautiful, mature-growth trees and shrubs, as well as the unique architecture of the Sasaki Garden, will drive away nature’s wonderful creatures, which jointly share this wonderful space with Washington Square Village residents and visitors. We humans must be their voice. Let’s hope the N.Y.U. Faculty Against the Sexton Play and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation will likewise file their suits before the deadline to do so.
Ralph Swain

Residents were displaced

To The Editor:
Re “Landmarks: Bialystoker ‘eligible for consideration’” (news article, Aug. 23):

It is closed now — does this mean it would reopen? How amazing.

What upsets me is that the people who lived there were displaced and some of them went to Cabrini where they were once again ousted.

How do we make it up to them?
Lynn Rosen

LaGuardia strip is special

To The Editor:
Re “W.S.V. residents sue N.Y.U. to save garden, playground” (news article, Aug. 23):

I have always felt that LaGuardia Place, which will be pretty much destroyed according to the N.Y.U. plan, was a two-block oasis of trees and beauty, of fresh air and space, of respite from the rest of the city. I spend as much time as I can in its leafy areas — the east side of LaGuardia between Bleecker and W. Third Sts. (except now for the new playground, which already messes up the space) — and on the lower block, in and around the lovely garden and the “ancient” (“Time Landscape”) space which isn’t really an ancient space but has flowers and trees there now. The green spaces on this strip make life
in that neighborhood sweet-smelling and relaxed, and I would hate to see them go.
Jane Heil

We do not want this!

To The Editor:
Re “W.S.V. residents sue N.Y.U. to save garden, playground” (news article, Aug. 23):

If there is anything of historic value and worth preserving, or a place of great beauty and value to residents, such as the Poe House, Provincetown Playhouse or The Bottom Line — and now, the Sasaki Garden in Washington Square Village or the Key Park playground or LaGuardia Corner Gardens — you can be sure that N.Y.U. will seek to destroy these necessary oases and build more of its architecturally dysfunctional (and unnecessary) abominations.

Shame on Bloomberg, Quinn, Chin and the members of the City Council for allowing this heinous plan to go through. I hope the apologists for N.Y.U. can sleep well at night.

Let it be recorded for the millionth time in the face of the perpetually deaf, greedy and callous N.Y.U. administration, that the people who actually live here do not want this plan.
Rhoma Mostel

Not trusting the Trust

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

When have threatening tactics ever worked? The issue of Pier 40 is not a new one — yet to hear it from the Trust, the pier will sink today! That hasn’t happened yet, and won’t anytime soon, but we do need to generate revenue for the park.

However, these dire warnings are misplaced. I’m sure many recall the attempts made just a few years ago by the Trust to amend the Hudson River Park Act. At that time, the Trust proposed amending the park act to allow for parkland alienation and for longer lease terms for Cirque du Soleil, which may have brought in revenue.
And they are at it again. This time the Trust is trying to alienate precious parkland so that luxury housing can be built. In a community that has very few parks and even fewer open spaces, this new idea certainly is not in the interest of the neighborhood and park users.

Instead, we need to go back to the drawing board and have a robust community discussion. Through community forums we can look at the many options to generate revenue including a Park Improvement District, building more ball fields and building community commercial space.

Personally, I would love to see a Greenwich Village Community Supported Agriculture (C.S.A.) at Pier 40 that generates revenue and fresh produce.

Now is not the time to trust the Trust. The Village and our elected officials have always stood strong for our community. Why stop now?
Sheelah A. Feinberg
Feinberg is former vice chairperson, Community Board 2

The true taste of resistance

To The Editor:
Re “New beer tries to tap squatters’ ‘defiant rawness’ ” (news article, Aug. 16):

Thank you for your recent profile of the new beer, Doss Blockos, truly the taste of defiance. Here is one of the last photos of the entrance to the squat, taken on the April morning in 1999 just before the police came and arrested us. That’s Fran in the curlers chained to the couch. It was a long night in Central Booking, but full of sentimental memories for many us who stood with squatters, community gardeners and homeless-encampment dwellers over the years.

A resident of Dos Blockos whose memory is very dear to us is Ellen Glick, who died in 2005 at the age of 64. Wherever people in the neighborhood were under attack, Ellen was there, and on the phone trees to let us know it was time to get out there and block the bulldozers again.

Except in 1995, when instead of bulldozers the city chose to bring out a refurbished military tank to clear the way to the 13th Street Squat. Another long night in Central Booking. But it’s nice to know that the beer that resulted from that (“Tank up with Tank beer!”) is doing well in foreign countries.

That’s also us on a rainy morning in 1997 in front of Chico Mendez Garden, getting dragged out from under a huge sanitation truck. A cold beer for a cold day, “Chico” is a hearty Brazilian brew.

Michael Shenker, whose death two years ago I still find hard to accept, led us in a campaign at the U.N. 10 years ago, against the upcoming war and occupation of Iraq. For Michael the struggle for the world and the struggle for the neighborhood was all one struggle. That’s us getting dragged off to jail for the million, billion, zillionth time. “Fallujah” is the beer that was inspired by the ferocious resistance of the people of Iraq to the U.S. onslaught, but it has a nasty, metallic aftertaste, probably something to do with all the chemicals that were used in the destruction of that city.

So, for years and years all we did was protest and go to jail? Wrong. The last photo is of Michael Shenker the musician, who played piano for our Catholic Worker Christmas concert of 2004, and sang as well. A special memory, a happy memory, a wonderful spirit…that has not yet become a drink, because if it did it would taste more like champagne!
Felton Davis

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