Volume 79, Number 03 | June 24 - 30, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Takes swat at Soho ‘gadfly’

To The Editor:
Re “Trump ‘Traitors’” (Mixed Use, June 10):

Over the past few years, I’ve written regularly for The Villager, enjoying every moment of it. It is crucial to have a newspaper that is focused on the issues of the neighborhood that we all love. Now, however, I work full time at the Soho Partnership and I am writing to respond to the recent attack from “neighborhood gadfly” Sean Sweeney. 

I was the member of the development team that spoke with Trump Soho and encouraged them to become members of the Soho Partnership. And, regardless of what my personal political feelings toward Trump may be, I was happy to do so.

The money — money that Trump would be spending elsewhere otherwise — was going to a good cause. You see, the Soho Partnership is not merely a “quasi-business improvement district.” It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been in existence for more than 17 years, dedicated to fighting homelessness in New York City. The men and women who sweep the streets in Soho come to the Partnership from homeless shelters and drug-treatment centers all around the city and the incredibly hard work they put into cleaning is only one part of a comprehensive vocational rehabilitation program aimed at helping them transition into a full-time job and a new life. 

It is unfair to put such a burden of responsibility on a small nonprofit organization, especially in this financial climate. We need money to continue our services — services that have helped more than 800 recovering homeless men and women facing harsh realities that make the average Soho neighborhood complaint seem fairly trivial. The responsibility of the Soho Partnership is to the well-being of recovering homeless men and women in New York City. That is the bottom line. We do not have the luxury of sitting back, wringing our hands and criticizing anyone who presents us with an opportunity for support. 

The Soho Partnership did not build the Trump Soho building. We took no part in advocating its conception over the past few years. Yes, we sent out an e-mail publicizing their contribution to us. Their motivations for helping us are irrelevant, as are our opinions about Trump. 

If you have a problem with the presence of Trump Soho, by all means keep voicing it. And if you want to question the system we have in place rendering small nonprofits at the beck and call of their donors, go ahead. But it seems to be a waste of time and just a case of good old-fashioned ire to direct your resentment at an organization that helps hundreds of individuals every year and wants to ensure that those crucial efforts don’t fall victim to the recession. 

I am all for protecting the character of Soho, but don’t vilify one of New York City’s most valuable human-services organizations in the process.
Lucas Mann
Mann is membership manager, Soho Partnership

On the wrong track

To The Editor
Re “Off and rolling” (editorial, June 17):

At first glance, the High Line appears as innovative and green as anyone could hope for. But did you know that all the benches, decking, chaise lounges and bleacher seating throughout the park are composed of ipê, a rainforest wood ripped out of the Amazon?

The ipê tree grows throughout the Amazon at an average of one to two trees per acre. Criminal cartels, which control most logging operations there, build an extensive network of illegal roads to extract these scattered, high-demand trees; for every ipê tree that is logged, an estimated 28 other trees are destroyed.

Friends of the High Line have ordered tens of thousands of board feet of ipê for their project. Even worse, they’ve turned one of today’s most-watched public works projects into a global advertisement for tropical deforestation. Friends of the High Line have become enemies of the rainforest.

It’s not too late for them to act responsibly. If they use alternative materials — like recycled plastic lumber or sustainable domestic hardwood — for the two sections of the High Line still awaiting construction, they can send a powerful message about the need to protect rainforests and battle climate change.

The United Nations Environment Program states that an area of rainforest the size of a football field is destroyed every second — that’s an area the size of Manhattan every three hours. It’s incumbent upon those of us from the neighborhood to act responsibly — to speak out, to spread the word, to withhold funds from Friends of the High Line until they face up to the biggest challenges of our time.

For more info on New York City’s addiction to rainforest wood, visit rfny.org .
Tim Doody

Shrink is a head case

To The Editor:
Re “Gerson Rashomon” (Scoopy’s Notebook, June 17):

I just read Scoopy’s latest news about a Gerson-Horowitz incident which apparently happened two weeks ago. My own experience with Mr. Horowitz about a week ago at a St. Joseph’s Church concert is that he’s got a nasty temper and has very little respect for women of whatever age.

I have previously noted that Mr. Horowitz, perhaps because he is a psychologist, has an enormous need for attention. I shall therefore assume that Mr. Horowitz gave the story to Scoopy to boost himself for throwing a cell phone.

The whole article just indicates how silly things can get, how unruly Mr. Horowitz acted toward Sophie Gerson and how in need of publicity the Gleason campaign seems to be. So here’s a huzzah for Alan Gerson for his defense of his mother! And a Bronx cheer for the other guy.
Sylvia Rackow

Healy had sense of absurd

To The Editor:
Re “Robert Healy, 67, font of local political history” (obituary, June 10):

I read Bob Healy’s obituary in The Villager with shock and sadness. Bob knew the judicial candidates better than rotisserie players know the ball players.

But Bob had a keen sense of the absurd. He wanted it understood that he was not related to Martin Healy, the district leader who was indicted for taking a bribe from a friend of the famously vanished Joseph Force Crater.

In filming Bob after a McManus Club function for my movie on Judge Crater’s disappearance, however, I told him that he was headed to the spot where Crater was last seen. Bob said that he was waiting for the same cab.  
Billy Sternberg

Ay, ay, ay, WBAI!

To The Editor:
Re “WBAI at the turning point after political infighting” (talking point, by Paul DeRienzo, June 17):

What a mess! Hopefully, they can get their acts together and get back to providing listeners with good material. Or, they could always do a pay-per-view smackdown to raise money!
Aton Edwards 

Shocking comment

To The Editor:
Re “WBAI at the turning point after political infighting” (talking point, by Paul DeRienzo, June 17):

What WBAI needs is an electrician to wire Bob Fass’s control panel in a manner that each time he censors me he gets a progressively stronger electric shock.
A. J. Weberman 

Church hierarchy fails us

To The Editor:
Re “Dolan celebrates ‘200 years of love’ at Old St. Pat’s” (news article, June 10):

Beginning with Cardinal Egan and then the pope and now Archbishop Dolan, the faithful of the closed Our Lady of Vilniusw Church have appealed to a mute wall. Their only hope to save their house of worship rests in the secular court. 

Forget the empty talk about the devotion of spiritual shepherds to their flock. It is more about fleecing the flock for the benefit of hierarchy. Forget the distinction between good and evil and only meditate about the almighty dollar. It is high time for parishioners to stand up for their rights against the greed of the anointed prelates!
Saulius Simoliunas

The row over Park Row

To The Editor:
Re “Chinatown traffic project now appears to be stalled” (news article, June 10):

The good news is there is a delay, thanks in part to Councilman Alan Gerson. I don’t know if it is true that if Mayor Mike Bloomberg gets re-elected in November this project will start the day after, as was told to Jan Lee by a city official, but this is the first time I am considering not voting for Mayor Bloomberg.
Ora Gelberg

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.

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