Volume 75, Number 6 | June 29 - July 5, 2005

Letters to the editor

Won’t cross IFC picket line

To The Editor:
The Villager article about the opening of the IFC Theater at the old Waverly, “Indie theater could be ticket to art house renaissance” (news article, June 8), left out an important part of the story, which neighbors can see and learn about if they walk past the informational picket line by IATSE, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

I was coming home from work yesterday past the theater and talked to the union members there. Then I read The Villager article, which was mostly a love letter to the corporate parent of IFC, Cablevision and to the president of IFC Entertainment, Jonathan Sehring, who was quoted as saying, “we want to be a good neighbor and be sensitive to the community.” Union leaders say management of the theater met with representatives of the union during construction, but then shut out the union when it was ready to open and hired a nonunion projectionist. This is not the action of a business sensitive to my neighborhood, where we support the right of employees to join unions, earn a living wage and be assured of health benefits. I won’t cross that picket line, and I hope my neighbors won’t either, until management sits down to talk union.
Leslie Breeding

Chinatown groups and Canal St.

To The Editor:
Re “Input sought on Canal traffic study’s second phase” (news article, June 8):

It is perhaps understandable that with all the rebuilding activity going on in Chinatown these days that one could mix up projects and the different organizations undertaking these endeavors. In an effort to clear up the possible confusion created by this article, I would like to set the record straight.

First, the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation is well past the proposed stage in its evolution and has already undertaken several short-term economic-development projects, including weekly shows by cultural groups on Bayard St., and has provided support for the popular Taste of Chinatown events. It will soon announce a major effort to help clean up Chinatown’s dirty streets. In fact, several weeks ago, Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg announced that the Chinatown Partnership L.D.C. will receive $7 million in community development block grant funds, administered through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, to carry out its mission of rebuilding Chinatown.

While the Chinatown Partnership L.D.C. is very interested in supporting solutions that would increase on-street parking, the organization has never spoken with anyone about a pilot project for installing muni-meters. The organization is exploring all possible options, including angled parking on wide streets, adding muni-meters, reducing the abuse of placard parking by court officials and other government agency personnel, changes in parking regulations in Chinatown and in the nearby Civic Center, and more. We are also interested in the parking study that will soon be conducted by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and the Asian American Federation of New York, which will focus its research on off-street parking facilities.

Contrary to what was reported in the news article, the Asian American Federation was not involved in establishing the organization. However, York Chan, chairperson of C.C.B.A., did play a major role in rallying the community behind the Chinatown Partnership. But, it was Asian Americans for Equality, a local community-development organization, through its three-year-long community planning project, the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative, that led the launch of this new economic-development organization.

Furthermore, the Chinatown Partnership has not agreed to oversee a street closure at the intersection of Canal, Baxter and Walker Sts. The Chinatown Partnership L.D.C. will closely examine the possibility of closing some streets during the evenings to create a Night Market. However, we are at the earliest stages of planning and have not chosen a location and would first work very closely with the residents and merchants to determine, the size, time and activities associated with a Night Market for Chinatown. At this point, all we can say is that a Night Market would likely include an array of unique and original products and services, as well as a range of cultural activities.

It is true that all of these recommendations can be found in the R.C.I. planning study released in April 2004, “America’s Chinatown: A Community Plan,” and that R.C.I. created the foundation for the Chinatown Partnership. However, the Chinatown Partnership is a separate, independent organization with 15 board members representing a cross-section of business, cultural and civic leaders who are setting the organization’s policy and direction. AAFE is represented on the board of the Chinatown Partnership by its deputy director, Margaret Chin, who serves as a vice chairperson.

Finally, while the Chinatown Partnership supports and applauds New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s Canal Area Transportation Study for its diligent work in reaching out to all the different communities along Canal St., we have not yet agreed to undertake any of its recommendations. We look forward to sharing our ideas and analysis with NYMTC officials.
Robert Weber
Weber is a representative of the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative

Brucie article tops the charts

To The Editor:
Re “Jack killed the FM radio star; Cuz goes into orbit” (news article, June 22):

Just read the article about Bruce Morrow. I used to listen to him occasionally when I was radio/TV editor of Billboard and based in New York City in the ’60s. Great personality.

And a great article.

I’m retired now. In Las Vegas. The Morrow article was sent to me by a friend. Grateful.
Claude Hall

I want my WCBS FM!

To The Editor:
Re “Jack killed the FM radio star; Cuz goes into orbit” (news article, June 22):

I loved your article about Cousin Brucie. I miss WCBS FM and of course all the wonderful D.J.’s.

I want it back!
Karen Caccavale

Cousin does the time warp

To The Editor:
Bruce Morrow, who, like a lot of other people, deplores the media’s pandering to a “younger demographic,” must have guffawed when he saw, in last week’s Villager, the 30-year bonus he’d been awarded by an errant typing finger — my finger and absent brain — that had turned Cousin Brucie’s natal 1937 into 1967. Spoo!
Jerry Tallmer

Wrong: Jesus was a liberal

To The Editor:
Re “The weak link in Bush’s triad: Jesus is a Democrat” (talking point, by Jennie Green, June 8):

Jennifer Green is incorrect in labeling Jesus a Democrat. The purpose of Democrats is to keep anyone from defeating the Republican agenda, and they do a very good job at it. Jesus was a liberal, not a Democrat.
Tim Kelly

He’s no rubber stamp

To The Editor:
As a board member of the Union Square Community Coalition who was there at its birth in 1980, I cannot “agree to agree” with whatever the latest proposals are — no one really knows what they are — for the north end of Union Square, as U.S.C.C. co-chairperson Susan Kramer urges in her Villager letter “Let’s move on at Union Sq.” in the June 22 issue.

Kramer and her co-chairperson, Gail Fox, and their so-called legal specialist Aubrey Lees have so exasperated our organization’s membership at large over this issue that they are adding insult to injury by claiming that “it is easier to change the plan by working with [the] Parks [Department] and the Union Square Partnership, than against them.”

Such political naiveté by leaders of a self-described “advocacy group” shows how far removed from reality they are. It has been precisely by working against those two entities — and the Bloomberg administration — that the Union Square plans have already been altered several times.

Whatever the changes have been, or will be, you can be sure of their routine and unhesitating approval by Kramer, Fox and Lees, sight unseen.|
Jack Taylor
Taylor is chairperson of the Historic Preservation Committee and a board of directors member of the Union Square Community Coalition

Lounge doesn’t check out

To The Editor:
In the article “Hey this is a library; Turn up that music video!” in the June 8 Villager, Frank Collerius, branch librarian said in talking to individual library users no one seems too upset. I don’t know what library users were considered in this informal survey, but regulars I’ve spoken to are horrified. Perhaps there needs to be a more formal survey to determine what actual users of this library feel when they realize two-thirds of the library (the basement for teens, the first floor for children and the second floor for adults), will be given to kids who are mostly in school all day and in the summers away on vacations or summer camps. The basement will be underutilized, because teens are here only for a few hours a day at best. This plan will transform the library into a children’s center.

Ask the regulars how they feel when they realize that much of the materials from one of the best reference rooms in town will have to go because there is no way a whole floor’s worth of information can be squeezed into the second floor without sacrificing very important and needed materials we library lovers cherish. That valuable material must be protected.

I’ve always loved the library as my quiet zone away from the noise of the busiest city in the world. And now music videos and TV in a library? Maybe it’s time to stop coddling and bribing our teens, and help them find “The Road Less Traveled” and beat the path to the library for a healthy alternative to the MTV music videos and junk they’re already overfed on a daily basis!

I participated in the Planning for Results Feb. 5, 2004, meeting hosted by the library, which can be viewed on the Jefferson Market Library homepage. There was no mention of a need for a special “teen room” with lounges and TV then. This unnecessary addition obviously does not address expressed community needs or desires. However, if the library still feels it necessary, there is a cordoned-off area on the second floor that could be used that would not take so much space and would thus be a fairer and more equitable distribution of space for our teens. But how do you soundproof it? The golden rule of the library has always been “Quiet please!”
Sharon Woolums

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