Letters, Week of Jan. 30, 2014

Saving the special

To The Editor:
Re “St. Luke in Fields wants to add tower on the block” (news article, Jan. 16):

I moved to New York City 27 years ago from Northampton, Mass., to teach at the Little Red Schoolhouse. I immediately fell in love with the West Village. It was an ongoing, long-distance love affair (from the Lower East Side) that finally culminated seven years ago with me becoming a Barrow St. resident.

When I tell people where I live, inevitably there is a pause, and eyes go wide as they say, “Ooh, I love the West Village.” We all do. We love the West Village for its intimate scale, its charm, its connection with a rich history.

As a resident I am sometimes bemused at the endless walking tours that can clog the sidewalks. Sometimes, though, I’ll slow down and listen; listen to the stories, the historical details, the architectural facts, and I’ll see in the eyes of the visitors to the neighborhood the delight in this jewel in which we get to live.

As I walk the streets I can feel works of literature come to life — novels and short stories by Edith Wharton, Caleb Carr, E.L. Doctorow, Jack Finney, Mark Helprin’s “A Winter’s Tale,” and on and on.

This neighborhood is special and unique, like none other in the city. And it is special because of its character, its human scale, its connection to the past. We are extremely fortunate to get to live here where the city is quieter, older, more intimate and humane.

But along with our great fortune, we carry the responsibility of preserving the unique nature of this neighborhood for future generations to experience and enjoy. Reckless development and design that does not fit in with the scale and esthetic of the West Village will little by little erode what is great about our neighborhood. It is too easy to destroy something enduring, and impossible to bring it back.
Lauren Bergman

So glad Tallmer’s back

To The Editor:
Re “Pitching horseshoes and column ideas with Billy Rose” (notebook, by Jerry Tallmer, Jan. 23):

I’m totally delighted to see Jerry Tallmer’s writing in your pages again! I’ve missed him, was worried something had happened to him. As far as I’m concerned, he can write rings around any of your other contributors, and seeing him occasionally is worth the whole subscription to me.
Katy Morgan

W.W.J.D.?

To The Editor:
Re “St. Luke in Fields wants to add tower on the block” (news article, Jan. 16):

What would Jesus develop?
Matt Apfel 

Even Gale Brewer…

To The Editor:
I was disgusted and appalled by Gale Brewer’s comment in “N.Y.U. now says it will appeal judge’s superblocks ruling” (news article, Jan. 16) in which she admitted that, even though she was not in favor of it, she voted for N.Y.U.’s 2031 project because she was “doing it for Margaret Chin.”

Will our public officials never learn that we elect them expecting they will listen to their constituents, and vote along the lines of what we want, rather than ignoring us and voting for unpopular projects simply to pander to a fellow official? That is collusion, and it is against the law.

Community boards, preservation organizations, professors, students, everyday New Yorkers — all spoke out long and loud against the plan. But our concerns and fears were not even acknowledged, simply because the development-above-all councilmember whose district this hellish expansion is in had to be pandered to.

I have given up on Rosie Mendez, but had hoped for better from Ms. Brewer. Shame on her, on the unlamented, and thankfully gone Christine Quinn and on the rest of the Sleazy Council — whoops — City Council, save for Charles Barron, the only one brave enough to vote his beliefs on N.Y.U. 2031, rather than knuckle under just to perpetuate the corrupt, unethical practice of “go along to get along.”
Lisa Ramaci

Paul taught me well

To The Editor:
Re “ ‘Mayor of Chinatown,’ Paul Lee, dies at 63, An outspoken leader” (obituary, Jan. 23):

I have been searching for a way to honor Paul Lee’s legacy and would like to thank Josh Rogers and The Villager for writing this thoughtful tribute.

I was blessed to receive Paul Lee’s mentorship during the last year of his life. He taught me to never be afraid to stand up for what is right. He gave me my Chinese name. He helped me learn the most important struggles in the community.

I will never forget when he took me to visit a family business on Mott St., and the entire family came out, from the grandfather to the grandchildren, all smiling and hopeful for a better future for their small business.

I will never forget Paul bounding down Mott St. in the afternoons, excited about making positive change in the city, and armed with jokes to enliven the day.

“You did good, kid,” he told me.

To honor his legacy, we must aspire to fight the tough fights for our community just as bravely as Paul, and with just as much energy and good humor.
Jenifer Rajkumar

Lee was there for us

To The Editor:
Re “ ‘Mayor of Chinatown,’ Paul Lee, dies at 63, An outspoken leader” (obituary, Jan. 23):

I will never forget Paul in his signature porkpie hat at our peaceful protest of the Citi Bike takeover of Petrosino Square’s art installation space this past June. In late November, he treated me to tea down on Mott St. and we talked politics, his favorite subject.

A few days before he passed away, I called him about our continued efforts to liberate our art installation space: All we want is for the Department of Transportation to relocate the Citi Bike station a few feet away into the roadbed, and to give us our park back.

Of course Paul understood our position implicitly; it reminded him of his struggles over James Madison Plaza and Park Row.

“I’ll be there for you,” he said. In spirit, I know he will.
Georgette Fleischer

Legalize it, Cuomo!

To The Editor:
C’mon Cuomo, stop all the pandering B.S. and legalize marijuana. You are the only one who can increase the tax revenue of New York State. You are the only one who can take the sale of weed out of the hands of hardened criminals and put it in the hands of the open market where it belongs. You are the only one who can lessen the burden on the prison system. And you are the only one who can prevent the tragedies, like the one that happened to Ramarley Graham.

So, I say again, stop the B.S., do the right thing, and legalize it already!
Jerry The Peddler

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2 Responses to Letters, Week of Jan. 30, 2014

  1. Telling the truth

    Lisa,
    Mendez is a useless hack . After 8 years, doesn't even chair a committee and passed no meaningful laws. She only got her job via her relationship with Margarita Lopez.

    Ever see her at the council hearings, slumping in her chair with a wool cap on – inside the chambers during hearings – looking more like someone waiting on line at a welfare office?

  2. What a terrrific collection of letters this week. All spot on! I especially want to tag on to Lauren's — historic greenwich village not just "special and unique", but for our more capitalist neighbors it is an invaluable economic engine that generates a different kind of income for the City than Times Square does. The money may come from the same wallets, but it's money that would not be spent in midtown, and thus an economic multipler for NYC.

    But if we let the real estate developers ruin this historic character, our contribution to the City coffers will be deminished. And that would open the door for those very developers to claim we're not doing our $ part and say that our low-rise buildings should be torn down. That's not right! Saving our historic buildings with landmark protections is a win-win for everyone (even those evil developers who care only about money).

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