Volume 74, Number 55 | May 25 - 31 , 2005

Letters to the editor


Scoopy, we thought we knew ya

To The Editor:
Re “A better letter” (Scoopy’s Notebook, May 18):

Et tu, Scoopy? The Villager using your name, your column and your reputation to challenge the veracity of my recent letter to the editor? Shame on you, Scoopy! None of my lines were blurred, as you assert. The facts stand as stated in my subject letter.

The Villager is an award-winning newspaper, and rightly so. Is Scoopy’s Notebook becoming a mouthpiece for N.Y.U.? I certainly hope not, since I always read it for the “dish,” not the “dis.” Could it be that inadvertently your true identity has been uncovered? Sorry Mike…er, Scoopy, your spin just doesn’t ring true.

Mary T. Johnson
Johnson is a member, Washington Pl. Block Association Street Noise Committee and Open Washington Sq. Park Coalition


Scoopy falls prey to N.Y.U. spin

To The Editor:
The Washington Pl. Block Association takes exception to comments in Scoopy’s column regarding Mary Johnson’s letter to the editor (“A better letter,” Scoopy’s Notebook, May 18). Had Scoopy checked with Mary, our officers or our members, there would have been verification of the facts stated in her letter.

In 2002, we had one meeting with New York University regarding a list of complaints from residents whose apartments face Greene St. We produced facts and photos. N.Y.U. appeared sympathetic, heard our proposed solutions, offered to “look into the situation” and adjourned the meeting. After six months with no improvements, we requested another meeting and were told Haberman would not meet with us again and could not help us with our problems. Mary Johnson, a member of our Street Noise Committee, worked long and hard on issues from residents on quality of life, noise causing sleepless nights, environmental problems and general frustration because of N.Y.U.’s lack of interest and action.

N.Y.U. promised that Grad Alley 2004 would be improved dramatically. Instead, Greene St. was turned into a war zone until the early morning hours. Haberman never discussed this catastrophe with us and refused to take any of our calls. We suffered this abuse for eight years before N.Y.U. moved off Greene St. this year.

Trying to discuss New York Is Book Country with Haberman resulted in a tug-of-war hallway conversation during a Community Board 2 committee meeting, where he stated — guess what? They’ll be back here again next year and you won’t stop them.

Councilmember Alan Gerson held a public meeting to discuss and resolve noise and environmental problems caused by N.Y.U., but N.Y.U. would not come to the table. In Scoopy’s swipe at Mary Johnson’s letter, an explanation was given: Haberman decided it would be “more productive” to meet instead with “a few other concerned residents privately.” When did he arrange and hold this meeting, and with whom? How does he justify ignoring Gerson’s forum and the large crowd that assembled to discuss problems with N.Y.U.?

Mary Johnson is a longtime Villager, dedicated neighborhood activist and tireless worker for our block association and the community. There could not have been “a better letter.”

Lezly Ziering
Ziering is president, Washington Pl. Block Association


Cyclists take life in their hands

To The Editor:
Re “Cyclist’s death is a reminder of the danger on the street” (news article, May 18):

I was saddened to read of the traffic death of cyclist Brandie Bailey. Unfortunately, as your article points out, track bikes, with their lack of brakes and their foot-gripping rattraps, are accidents waiting to happen. As a New York City street cyclist for over 30 years, I have seen my share of accidental injury and death. The bottom line is, when you enter into traffic on a bicycle, you are taking your life in your hands. Experienced riders translate this to mean that whatever happens to you is your fault. To ride with any other attitude is to invite disaster. Which brings us to the Critical Mass ride. Its members are participating in exactly what not to do on a bike. Instead of riding in a thin single file, they try to outmuscle traffic with huge clusters of shouting bicyclists, endangering both other bicyclists and pedestrians. They create confusion, noise pollution, violate traffic laws en masse — all on an extra-busy, end-of-the-month Friday night, with its heightened levels of driver and pedestrian intoxication. Critical Mass is critically dangerous. And its “leaders” are irresponsible in their failure to promote safe cycling, and to educate bicyclists like 21-year-old Brandie about the second-to-second danger of riding a bike in New York City streets.

David Rockwell


The last of the McGeehans

To The Editor:
After 150 years of continuous living in Greenwich Village, the McGeehans are leaving “the Village.” My great-grandfather came over to this country during the Great Famine in Ireland during the 1840s and ’50s. He settled at 24 Little W. 12th St., where my grandfather Tom was born in 1874 and my father Francis was also born in 1908. I myself was born at St. Vincent’s Hospital in 1940 when it was only a single building at W. 11th St. and Seventh Ave. In all those years, there was always a McGeehan living in the Village at one address or another. It was once a great place to live as you would see if you ever visited the neighborhood Web site at www.tcgva.org, but unfortunately the real estate developers took all that away.

When I was growing up on Washington St. and Jane St. there was no such place as the West Village. I was at a neighborhood meeting at Pompei Church the other night and one of the attendees claimed to be from the Far West Village. Where is that? Where have all the mom-and-pop shops gone? Where is the Sutter’s Bakery at W.11th and Bleecker Sts. and the Lowe’s Sheridan at Seventh and Greenwich Aves.? Where is the Women’s House of Detention that we all knew and loved? — said with tounge in cheek.

The true Villagers know what I’m talking about. The Johnnies-come-lately with their big bucks have taken over and I’m leaving. Sorry, but I can no longer afford to live here. $3.50 for a cup of Starbucks coffee did me in. So adios, neighbors. It’s been great.

Actually, I’m not going far. On May 22, I’ll be moving to Knickerbocker Village at Monroe St. down by the Manhattan Bridge. I’m going from one Village to another. I don’t think I’ll be leaving New York City any time soon. Someone once said, “When you leave New York, you’re going nowhere” or words to that effect, and it’s true. In any event, I’ll still be a New Yorker.

Tom McGeehan


Park needs proper stage

To The Editor:
Re “A kingdom for a stage: Park needs performance space” (talking point, by Peggy Friedman May 4):

Having read the article in your paper by Peggy Friedman of the Washington Sq. Music Festival, I am very concerned that, in the future, there may not be a proper stage for their wonderful free public concerts and other presentations. I agree with Ms. Friedman that a permanent, raised platform is a must.

I often walk down to the Village with friends on summer evenings for the music festival’s concerts. If changes are to be made, let’s have an even better, more formal performance space as part of any renovation.

Gladys Washburn


She smells a rat, actually, many

To The Editor:
A recent New York Times Public Lives profile piece about George Vellonakis, Washington Sq. Park designer for the Parks Department, mentions the “rat condominiums” nestled in the mounds and what he refers to as “the hardscape.” What he has not addressed is where those rats will go once the construction begins.

To Judson Church? I hope not, I worship there. Will they go to the Law School? Surely, rats are illegal there! Or perhaps they would take refuge in the prestigious 2 Fifth Ave., whose condo owners were hoping to increase their real estate values by having a fence around the park. And won’t it be sad when they realize that even a fence and a doorman can’t keep the unwanted visitors away! Parents of N.Y.U. students will be unhappy to hear that their kids will be subject to diseases from rats scurrying out of the mounds and other nests throughout the park looking for shelter in their dormitories.

A May 15 article in the Times’ Metro section states, “At 3 a.m., the rats took over, fearlessly crisscrossing the concrete and diving into trash heaps.” Wouldn’t you think that a full environmental impact statement, including scoping, would be necessary to determine public health effects of the construction impact resulting in sudden rat infestation on our community when the jackhammers hit the pavement?

Yes, there are many kinds of rats determined to take over, knawing away at our right to basic public process. No longer underground, the two-legged rats hear the overwhelming consensus of the public against the plan, but turn around and do what works best for an elitist agenda; the realtors, the politicians and contractors who will make millions from this project! Oh, rats!

Sharon Woolums
Woolums is a public member, Community Board 2 Parks Committee


Stringer’s using the Vladecks

To The Editor:
Re “More than 500 apartments vacant in Vladeck Houses” (news article, March 16):

Upon reading your story, I think it is important to be a responsible reporter and journalist, not to report the facts based on the political gains and political agenda of Assemblymember Scott Stringer. Your reporter, Amanda Kludt, should have gotten the facts instead of doing one-sided reporting. I feel compelled to correct your numbers: It is not over 500 vacant apartments; try under 300. As the elevator project is completed, the vacant apartments are prepared and placed on the rent roll. So Assemblymember Stringer, maybe you should take a walk through Vladeck and take a re-count of how many vacant apartments we actually have, instead of looking at one or two buildings — that is, if you actually did walk through the Vladecks — and assuming all the buildings have the same number of vacancies. Mr. Stringer, look somewhere else to make your political statements. Don’t try to use areas you have never concerned yourself with and overnight we are your arena because you are running for borough president. Actually, Mr. Stringer, when was the first time you heard of Vladeck Houses? Do you actually know where it is and what the community is comprised of? Don’t use us as a steppingstone for your political gain — or did you wake up one day and realize there are voters in this community? By the way, when was the last time you physically took a walk through the Vladecks? If you never came before, don’t come now.

Nancy Rivera


Always drawn to comics

To The Editor:
“ ‘The Funnies’ — not just for kids anymore” (arts article, April 20):

Read your thing about Mocca. Those are great guys and I try to get to many of their events.

I live in Greenwich Village and even went to elementary school here (P.S. 3).

My earliest experience with comics in Greenwich Village was getting four months’ worth of back issues at a time for Teen Titans and Wonder Woman at the local candy store. Then I found the comic book shop that used to be next to the Waverly, now IFC, Theater.

I worked sorting and alphabetizing comics there as my first job, at around age 11. Later, in high school, I would walk a neighbor’s dog for extra money to buy monthly comic book titles.

Now I’m self-publishing a comic book series that I co-created, with three issues coming out this summer. The hardest thing right now is trying to get a few advertisers to help pay for the printing.

I’m pretty competitive with mainstream comics on the price, even though most new independents charge a lot more. All three issues together are less than one movie ticket — and more than one person can enjoy reading them!

I don’t need to make as much money as the mainstream ones, like Spider-man (one of my favorites). But I would like to pay my printer and my illustrator.

Meanwhile, I’ve got print on demand — which, combined with my convention direct sales, makes me about break even on printing costs. I’m getting ready to preprint 200 copies of issue #2 to take with me to conventions in June.

Take a peek on my Web site: http://www.bestfriendsproductions.com/hib. My comics are self-rated for ages 11 and up (some violence).

Rachel Kadushin

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