Letters, Week of August 9, 2013

Chin sidesteps the issue

To The Editor:
Re “Chin is a champion of the working and middle class” (talking point, by Aixa Torres, Nancy Ortiz, Jessica Thomas and Henry Chan, Aug. 1):

It is no surprise that Councilmember Chin lacks the courage and the integrity to address directly my talking point in the previous week’s Villager (“The billionaires back Chin for City Council,” July 25) that revealed her reward of tens of thousands of dollars from a real-estate PAC. True to form, Chin relies on others to becloud the issue, attack her opponent and confuse the voters.

Chin’s people penned 1,400 words of platitudes, while sidestepping the real issue. The real issue is that the real estate industry is spending a small fortune to evade the city’s campaign finance laws in order to get Chin re-elected, yet she refuses to denounce the developers’ lobbying efforts and their $5.5 million PAC war chest. She refuses to reject their endorsement and their money.

Come to think of it, why shouldn’t Chin take the real-estate developers’ money? She worked hard for them: South St. Seaport, N.Y.U., 135 Bowery, the First American International Bank, the Soho and Chinatown BIDs, 183 East Broadway, etc. She deserves her bonus!

What does the infusion of large real-estate payouts into Chin’s re-election effort tell us about Chin’s direction, her priorities and her agenda?
Sean Sweeney

Let’s look at the record…

To The Editor:
Re “Chin is a champion of the working and middle class” (talking point, by Aixa Torres, Nancy Ortiz, Jessica Thomas and Henry Chan, Aug. 1):

Councilmember Margaret Chin’s supporters’ attempt to recast her as a “champion of the working and middle class” is not any more persuasive than Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s attempt to do so in her State of the City speech earlier this year.

I and other Petrosino Square and northern Chinatown residents met with Chin in January 2010 when she was fresh in office. We were promised she would address the over-licensing of nightlife in our area, and that there would later be a meeting with the Department of Consumer Affairs. The meeting never happened. Meanwhile, over-licensed nightlife received one sweetheart deal after another each time Chin took them down to the City Council’s Land Use Committee for sidewalk cafes, either not informing the community at all, or postponing the vote so we would be left out.

Later, I stood with Village locals, many Community Board 2 members, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Councilmember Chin on one of the green parkland strips being eyed by New York University. Chin vowed publicly that these parkland strips would not be taken from us. On July 25, 2012, she gave them away to N.Y.U., along with the Sasaki Garden. One of the strips now will be used for the new “Zipper Building” and two others will have 20-year easements, allowing N.Y.U. to run construction vehicles over them while erecting new infill buildings on the northern superblock. Is this a woman of her word?

I, along with easily 100 others, attended Chin’s town hall on the Soho Business Improvement District at St. Anthony’s Church, during which an overwhelming majority vehemently opposed this BID, and said so into a microphone as Chin silently looked on. Chin may have heard us but she listened to nothing we said.

Jenifer Rajkumar attended the City Council hearing on the N.Y.U. plan, along with the constituent opposition, and along with the rest of us she was escorted to the door of City Hall by the gendarmes Christine Quinn ordered to remove us.

On the Soho BID, Jenifer also sat on our side of the aisle. On the the takeover of our art installation space in Petrosino Square by an enormous Citi Bike station, Jenifer held up a sign alongside the rest at our protest.

I want to be represented in the City Council by someone who is already my district leader and who has stood shoulder to shoulder with me on all the important issues in my neighborhood. Council District 1 needs progressive change and needs it now.
Georgette Fleischer
Fleischer is founder, Friends of Petrosino Square

Rajkumar talking point, A.S.A.P.!

To The Editor:
Re “Chin is a champion of the working and middle class” (talking point, by Aixa Torres, Nancy Ortiz, Jessica Thomas and Henry Chan, Aug. 1):

Somebody please write a Jenifer Rajkumar talking point and submit it to The Villager A.S.A.P. for publication next week!

Chin “progressively” gave South St. Seaport and 135 Bowery to her real estate buddies.

Chin voted for N.Y.U. 2031 publicly and worked with N.Y.U. to get this horrific expansion passed. From the first moment, we smelled a rat. Chin knew her constituency was opposed to and would be destroyed by N.Y.U. 2031.

Jenifer Rajkumar is the future of a City Council that will have many newly elected members, and she can lead them in listening to and voting for what the constituents want — not what corporations and real estate developers want.

Jenifer Rajkumar knows her district by walking it and talking to its people and seeing with her own eyes what is needed and wanted.
Judith Chazen Walsh

In defense of the D’Lugoffs

To The Editor:
Re “Peeling the layers of Tania Grossinger’s cocoon” (V Lit, July 25):

My mother was Art D’Lugoff’s cousin. More importantly, the D’Lugoffs were our neighbors and close friends both in the city and in Ocean Beach on Fire Island, and I consider Art, Avital and their children my immediate family.

I take great exception to the description of Avital as “troubled” and “in a world of her own.” Avital was a loving and creative person with an artist’s temperament. She and Art had a marriage that lasted 52 years, and any marriage between complex individuals that has lasted that long is, to say the least, extraordinary. And honestly, what husband does not describe his wife as “troubled” when speaking to his mistress?

As to my cousins, the “troubled” daughters: All three are strong, loving women who have struggled with challenges and disappointment. Perhaps it is tempting to defend them by referring to the pressures of growing up in the ’60s and ’70s as the children of bohemian parents, or raise Freudian questions about fathers who have mistresses. But my love for Art, with whom I spent family holidays and who I considered my “uncle,” makes it very complicated for me to discuss those issues at any length for fear that to do so might be misconstrued as blame.

At the end of the day, the story of the D’Lugoffs is the story of a family that faced many challenges and storms and managed to stay connected and loving.
Abigail Simon

San Remo’s gay days

To The Editor:
Re “Hanging a plaque where the Beat generation hung out” (news article, Aug. 1):

The San Remo was pretty much a gay bar in the early ’60s, far more social than cruisy, although happy accidents did happen. An impressive “full-figured” woman with a 1940s hairdo (she was said to be “Betty,” the owner’s wife) prowled the tile floor, silently checking out each table with a warning look that said, “Do not abuse your welcome by behaving like faggots.”

The preppy gays went to Julius’, the artsy queers to the San Remo. Ondine and Andy and Billy Name were regulars; the first Factory was invented there, and playwrights, painters, poets and musicians who would become as famous as they were fabulous hung out at the San Remo in its final years.

Betty was generally pacified when there was a real girl or two for every five or six boys; they were fag hags then, they’re still our best friends now.

Max’s Kansas City, in lots of ways, was the San Remo redux, on a much larger scale.
Danny Fields

Everyone was a star

To The Editor:
Re “Hanging a plaque where the Beat generation hung out” (news article, Aug. 1):

I remember, as per Michael Maslansky, a beloved San Remo habitué in the great days, that when Simone Signoret dropped into the Remo one evening for a few drinks and caused a stir, someone went over to Betty to tell her exactly who Signoret was, saying that she was a very big star. To which Betty replied, “To me, youse is all big stars.”
Larry Kaplan

Couldn’t Beat the prices

To The Editor:
“Hanging a plaque where the Beat generation hung out” (news article, Aug. 1):I am sorry I forgot to come to the unveiling. I remember going to the restaurant part of the San Remo — I didn’t even know about the bar — when I was an N.Y.U. sophomore, and ordering eggplant parmigiana for 99 cents, and a glass of red wine for a quarter. That was within my budget!
Jane Heil

Crusties vs. boring Yuppies

To The Editor:
Re “Crusties not all high on traveling, but can’t leave it” (news article, Aug. 1):

If you read this interview you will see that all the Yuppie real estate development jerks’ propaganda about these kids being from rich families on Long Island is a lie. These kids are much more interesting than most of the residents of the “East Village” now, who all look, act, think and talk alike. The Beat poets have much more in common with these kids than they do with the robotic, brain-dead new residents of the ’hood.
John Penley

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One Response to Letters, Week of August 9, 2013

  1. If Sean Sweeney is correct about Margaret Chin's involvement in the illegal mess at 183 East Broadway, then lots of questions should be asked.

    The owner of 183 East Broadway engaged in criminal conduct when he had his building demolished literally overnight . No demolition permit was ever obtained. Then his contractors threatened the stability of neighboring buildings through their shoddy, unprofessional construction methods. Who knows what horror will result from this awful project? It is certain to be an eyesore on that block.

    Why would Margaret Chin approve such a failed project?

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