Letters, Week of Jan. 10, 2013

Mom taught the lesson of love

To The Editor:
Re “Sophie Gerson, 88, former school board president, pol Alan’s mom” (obituary, Jan. 3):

Thank you for your beautiful tribute to my mother, our beloved Sophie Gerson. Sophie would want me to add that her last community meeting, just a few short weeks ago, was that of the board of directors of Friends of LaGuardia Place, on which she served for years, helping to guide the transformation from the dusty, dirty strips to what she called the “greenway,” which she enjoyed and which she hoped would remain.

I would also like to thank the community for your outpouring of affection and esteem for Sophie and care and concern for our family. More than anything else, my mother taught me the lesson of love. The constant, unconditional love she gave to me will remain within me forever.
Alan Jay Gerson

Sophie was a force for good

To The Editor:
Re “Sophie Gerson, 88, former school board president, pol Alan’s mom” (obituary, Jan. 3):

Sophie was a force for the good in the Village. She brought together teachers and parents as a school board member and fought for rationality in local politics. She will be missed.
Liz Shollenberger

From Gersons to gay clubs

To The Editor:
Re “Sophie Gerson, 88, former school board president, pol Alan’s mom” (obituary, Jan. 3):

What a vibrant and active couple of political activists: Herman and Sophie Gerson. I attended several political “meet and greet” gatherings in their large, sunny co-op on LaGuardia Place.

The Gersons were one of the area’s original tenants who were displaced and inconvenienced for many years during the noisy construction interval. Herman and Sophie Gerson told me several anecdotes about this period of upheaval when I was one of the guests in their spacious household, one of the nicest places for a V.I.D. rally ever.

Speaking of LaGuardia Place, for decades, there was an empty lot on the southwest corner of LaGuardia Place and W. Third St., an undeveloped lot left vacant for years.

It had been Club Sahara, one of the many popular nightspots, such as Club Howdy, located along the W. Third St. corridor of N.Y.U.’s Bobst Library that catered to gay women. Since W. Third St. was once blighted real estate, with the noisy elevated train running above, this shaded street of low buildings attracted meeting places for gay people.

The nightclubs and jazz joints flourished for decades along this unwanted stretch of the South Village, not yet noticed by N.Y.U.’s developers.

The Cinderella Club at 85 W. Third St. attracted top musicians like Willie “The Lion” Smith, memorable stand-up acts like Ray (“Let Me Tell You About My Operation”) Bourbon and singer Sylvia Syms, and guests like Mae West came to listen from a ringside table.

Perhaps the city planners felt a vacant lot on “Fifth Avenue South,” as it was once called, was better than the likes of a Club Sahara.
LindaAnn Loschiavo

Book vendors outlast chain

To The Editor: 
Walking past the closed Barnes & Noble store on Sixth Ave., I realized that the vendors selling books on the sidewalk outside have achieved something heroic — they have outlived Barnes & Noble! More power to them.

What happens now? Another Duane Reade?

I say turn the empty store into an indoor book market for the local vendors and others who sell books on the street — some of them because B&N and other chains drove them out of business, or because gentrification made their store rents unaffordable. Poetic justice, literally.

Run this one by Mayor Bloomberg.
Bonnie Slotnick

Incendiary issue

To The Editor:
Re “Spectra pipeline case fuels a big day for attorneys” (news article, Dec. 28):

Thank you for publishing the article by Eileen Stukane about the lawsuit by the Sane Energy Project et al. against the Hudson Park River Trust to defeat the Spectra pipeline constructed at the Gansevoort Peninsula. She highlights all of the dangers of the pipeline and of Marcellus shale gas coming into the city. It is such an important issue — it is good that you have included it.
Kathleen A. Reynolds

‘Green Wave’ is way to go

To The Editor:
Re “‘Green wave’ bike plan has Soho leader seeing red” (news article, Jan. 3):

Houston St. is becoming more like a superhighway as each section of it finally gets paved. I ride on it with great fear because of the crazy speeds cars and trucks get away with — and then the screeching gridlock between Bowery and Broadway.

The idea of the speed of traffic being cut for motor vehicles down to 10 to 15 miles per hour on Prince St. would make me crazy if I drove a car. But it’s one of those things you get used to. I did when I drove a car and lived in San Francisco.

The biggest pain in the butt on Prince St. is actually the pedestrians who aimlessly walk into the street and the bike lane. This creates a situation where the cyclists veer into the traffic lane. If car speeds were reduced, then that maneuver would be safer.

Mr. Soho Alliance guy, do you actually see how many people walk along in the streets in that neighborhood, be it lost in conversations on their smartphones or just in a shopping haze, going from store to store, without any awareness of traffic? I would think that’s what you’d want. So why wouldn’t you want these people to be safe in their shopping journeys.
Peter Shapiro

Drivers outnumber cyclists

To The Editor:
Re “ ‘Green wave’ bike plan has Soho leader seeing red” (news article, Jan. 3):

Kowtowing to bikers has got to stop. They are rogue riders and lawbreakers and have done nothing to earn special consideration by the city’s Department of Transportation. Every curb and gutter in the five boroughs is in need of repair. How can D.O.T. Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan justify continuing to spend megabucks on “green waves,” protected bike lanes and bike paths that are unnecessary, underused and unwanted by the majority of taxpayers — i.e. drivers and pedestrians?
Noreen Shipman

Get onboard the Under_Line

To The Editor:
Re “Jazz greats, artists make a play for new L.E.S. venue” (news article, Dec. 20):

The Under_Line benefit that took place on Dec. 4 was a great event. It brought people together and raised consciousness about the importance and need for creative music to have a permanent home on the Lower East Side. This is an ideal opportunity for those who have any say in what happens in the community to do the right thing. Let’s hope it happens.
William Parker

Keeping the spirit alive

To The Editor:
Re “Jazz greats, artists make a play for new L.E.S. venue” (news article, Dec. 20):

The important thing to keep in mind is the need for Arts for Art, Inc. to be successful in this mission. When you think of the Lower East Side and jazz, you think, Wow, Charlie Parker used to live in this neighborhood — Mingus used to walk these streets — Sun Ra used to play regularly on Third St. The great contribution this neighborhood has made to jazz history — actually, American history — is in danger of extinction. Thank goodness that Arts for Art, Inc. is trying to create a situation where the praxis and spirit of one of our greatest cultural gifts is being keep alive.
Matthew Shipp

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