Letters, Week of Feb. 7, 2013

Menin is the most progressive

To The Editor:
Re “B.P. race: Lappin meets and greets; Post blasts Menin” (news article, Jan. 31):

I am supporting Julie Menin because she is the most progressive candidate in the race. Her opponents all voted for Chelsea Market and the N.Y.U. 2031 expansion plan and thus against the interests of Village and Chelsea residents. One of her opponents voted to overturn term limits. Lappin was useless on the Living Wage Bill.

I could care less about Julie’s party registration more than a decade ago. Julie is the only true progressive in this race and has a terrific record on progressive issues.
Allen Roskoff

Berman nails it again

To The Editor:
Re “Noho and Soho’s firewall against N.Y.U. is at risk” (talking point, by Andrew Berman, Jan. 31):

Andrew Berman scores again with a well-crafted, sobering opinion piece on the N.Y.U. expansion boondoggle. If the eminently capable, well-versed and articulate Mr. Berman does decide on a City Council campaign launch, he will receive a flood of support.

As for N.Y.U. President John Sexton, perhaps he should heed the wise words of folk philosopher Will Rogers: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging” — particularly in the Soho and Noho neighborhoods.
Joseph Gross

Restrict vendors? Think again

To The Editor:
Re “Board 2 asks city to review vendors jamming Broadway” (news article, Jan. 31):

Community Board 2 has a very long history of harassing and persecuting street artists and vendors. I have testified many times before C.B. 2, the First Police Precinct Community Council and the City Council, explaining that draconian new laws and new restrictions are not what is needed.

Enforcing the existing vending laws, which are 60 pages long, very detailed, and which cover all possible scenarios, is what is needed.

When C.B. 2 first started persecuting street artists it caused us to go to court and win the first in a series of rulings that greatly strengthened vending rights. I suggest before you open up this next can of worms, that you might ask former Councilmembers Kathryn Freed and Alan Gerson what to expect from trying to eliminate artists and vendors from your community.

You might also ask your community board why it approves almost 100 giant-sized street fairs in your district each year, some of which are fronts for organized crime, and each of which causes more congestion than all the vendors being complained about create in their entire lifetimes.

Ironically, C.B. 2 is falling into a trap with this entire idea, which is directly associated with the planned Soho Business Improvement District. BIDs want to take over vending for themselves. Open and unobstructed sidewalks are the very last thing they are interested in. Helping them to do it by reopening the Street Vendor Review Panel will ultimately bring you far more congestion, noise, dirt and tourists than you complain about now.

And if you want to relieve sidewalk congestion right away, why not eliminate the thousands of illegal sidewalk planters that landlords and stores have installed on Soho’s narrow sidewalks?
Robert Lederman
Lederman is president, ARTIST (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics)

Why I had to leave the L.E.S.

To The Editor:
Re “Trying to save our community on a changing L.E.S.” (Clayton, Jan. 31):

I remember living on the seventh floor of a building between Avenues A and B on First St. I was a student attending Hostos Community College in the South Bronx at the time. I had nothing except some furniture that I had purchased from my best friend’s parents and which we carried up those seven flights to my walk-up.

My sister lived two blocks away near Tompkins Square Park, and I remember eating minced eggs at Ratner’s early in the morning while we talked about politics, philosophy, religion, art and all kinds of things like that. That was 40 years ago.

My sister died of AIDS, my brother-in-law died of an overdose and I went on to get a Ph.D. I saw what was happening, and I’ve lived overseas for about 15 years. Now, I live in Japan. Here, there are mom-and-pop stores and the streets are safe.

I recall going back two years ago and seeing what had become of the Lower East Side. It is as you say. There is a lot that I don’t recognize anymore. But, after traveling much of the world, I’ve come to realize that we cannot hold onto the past forever. The only absolute law of nature is change, and that while we need to remember the past, we must embrace the present and look forward toward the future. I celebrate the past but my nostalgia is merely a memory of a romanticized past that was really never as great as I recall. It was just reality, as the present is now.
Ralph Mora

One of the last of a breed

To The Editor:
Re “Trying to save our community on a changing L.E.S.” (Clayton, Jan. 31):

This article says it all. Clayton is one of the last of a great New York City breed. He comes from a time when artists and thinkers cared about the truth and had the integrity to stand against the status quo. I miss the time when New York City artists were respected for the content of their work instead of how much money they earn for creating corporate propaganda. The Lower East Side was created by guys like Clayton and destroyed by college grads with daddy’s money. I guess it’s still the best city in the world, but that doesn’t say a lot about cities.
Stuart Braunstein

Where is our Eastbeth?

To The Editor:
Re “Creative pioneers under assault on the new L.E.S.” (Clayton, Jan. 24):

Clayton, we all owe you a continuous debt for your commitment to all of us. This nightmare news about Taylor Mead, Harry Antonopoulos and MM Serra is reaching me courtesy of Miss Moossy here in Bangkok. It is truly absurd that the hip quotient Taylor practically invented is what has been co-opted by the heartless money people, and I don’t just mean the landlords.

All those hipsters are completely unaware of what is going on around them — ageist as most of them are. Elder abuse, and that is what we are talking about here, cannot go on.

Judith Malina, whose situation is a bit different, is going into an assisted-living situation while the Living Theatre tries to regroup. Where is our Eastbeth?

All this reminds me of the high hopes we had for Howl and FEVA. We need to revive the artist housing issue. I know that it was going to be put back on the table through The Actors Fund, which became involved in the new Howl.

Frankly, as the rest of us age, it looks pretty grim. Where is the young Clayton who will be looking out for artists under siege in our future?
Penny Arcade

Bedbugs as eviction weapon

To The Editor:
Re “Creative pioneers under assault on the new L.E.S.” (Clayton, Jan. 24):

The Villager’s article and letters about artists being forced out of their apartment studios really struck a nerve with me.

I hold an older, stabilized lease in a building that also houses several other artists, many of whom also hold older leases. As we all know, that usually means the landlord has a vested interest in trying to drive us out.

In our case, we suffered a plague of bedbugs that lasted for more than three years. Some of us took our computers and work equipment, along with our clothing, etc., out of the building for that period of time while the landlord dealt ineffectively with the infestation. Frankly, it seemed like the the bedbugs were being used as a tool in an attempt to evict us, and that is why the bugs were omnipresent throughout that period of time.

Finally, after three-plus years of complaints and confrontations with the landlord,  the bedbug plague has apparently been eradicated. At least that is how it appears, though we are all holding our breath. To celebrate the possible end of the plague, the landlord is now suing some of us for eviction because we were not in the apartment during the plague. What nerve!

The tenants in our building created a Web site to document what we had been going through. It’s funny, that when New York City tenants get together it is often to swap war stories about their landlords.
Lawrence White

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3 Responses to Letters, Week of Feb. 7, 2013

  1. As an addendum to my letter above let me state that I just spoke to another tenant who is an actor and who is facing eviction proceedings while in the hospital fighting a very difficult disease. According to the legal papers the landlord wants him out because he is not living in the apartment. This sort of outrageous legal harassment will drive some out of their studio or apartments because they can not afford the legal help or are so discouraged they simply leave. However in this case the tenant will fight and will surely prevail. Even so this is another clear indication of the type of hideous treatment some tenants, particularly artists, receive at the hand of unscrupulous landlords.

  2. Robert Lederman is totally off base. The public sidewalks are not for you to set up shop. Get a store to sell your wares. You should be locked up for blocking the sidewalk.

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