Volume 75, Number 20 | October 05 - 11, 2005

Letters to the editor



Freddy knows from Downtown

To The Editor:
Re “Downtown questions for Mike Bloomberg and Fernando Ferrer” (editorial, Sept. 21):

Contrary to your editorial, Fernando (Freddy) Ferrer cares deeply about Lower Manhattan, including Greenwich Village. I have been a member of Community Board 2 for almost eight years and believe that Freddy has always had the best interests of our neighborhoods as one of his greatest concerns. This was demonstrated while he was borough president of the Bronx when he asked me to serve on his Advisory Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Rights. He has clearly demonstrated that he cares about all New York City residents.

Many of the questions you raise have been brought before Community Board 2 and should be answered by both mayoral candidates. As a supporter of Freddy Ferrer, I have discussed these issues with him and know he is knowledgeable about them. The adverse impact on our neighborhoods of nightlife, overdevelopment, poor maintenance of our parks, traffic congestion and noise are problems that Freddy Ferrer understands. Freddy has always been eager to solve these problems and not just discuss what may need to be done.

Rest assured that as mayor, Freddy Ferrer will be more attuned to our needs than the incumbent. Freddy Ferrer will work with our community leaders to reach sensible solutions to the many problems you outlined in your editorial.
  
Wilbur A. Weder


Neighborhood’s getting schmeared

To The Editor:
I’d like to thank The Villager for providing the open continuing forum on the problems of the West Village, in general, and the community of Christopher, Hudson and Greenwich Sts., specifically. In response to issues of youth problems and prostitution in our community, as previously mentioned in your articles and letters, I would hope that all members of our community board would personally experience what goes on in our streets every night. Since I live in a building with a few down steps, I regularly have to disturb people in the act of doing their sex and/or drug business on the way out my door in the early morning hours. On the way to my store at Hudson and Christopher Sts., I have many options available to me from the subculture that exists independently yet obtrusively within “our” community. This activity does not have the support of the gay community, black community or the real Village community. It is not about profiling of race or gender; it’s about prostitutes, drug dealers, their customers and the troubled youth that are caught up in this web. Christopher St. does not need a BID (business improvement district) except to clean up after our daily night invaders. Once again I’d like to thank you for the forum you provide to us as members of the community and specifically those who both live and work here full time.

Bob Orzo
Orzo is owner, Hudson Bagels


Father was always upstanding

To The Editor:
Re “Woman charges rape in tangled affair with priest” (news article, Sept. 21):

As a senior citizen who attended Our Lady of Pompeii, and having four sons and nine grandchildren who also attended Catholic grade schools (Our Lady of Pompeii), high schools (Regis, Xavier and LaSalle) and college (Manhattan), I am outraged at the notoriety regarding Father Joseph Cogo. I have worked with him in establishing Cub and Boy Scout Charters, The American Committee of Italian Migration (A.C.I.M.), as well as community functions. Never in the past 60 years has there been the slightest indication of Father Cogo being less than honorable, compassionate and spiritually effective. It seems ridiculous for anyone to come forward after 30 years with such raving allegations — and more absurd that they should receive monatary compensation. Our parish is up in arms over these allegations and the fact that they merited almost two full pages.

Connie Masullo


Pompei priest deserved better

To The Editor:
Re “Woman charges rape in tangled affair with priest” (news article, Sept. 21):

I was shocked when I saw the headline and read the article about the accusation of rape against Father Cogo. Father Cogo has always impressed me with his gentle spirit, kindness and compassion for the people of his parish. He welcomed all people to Our Lady of Pompei Church, opened the church doors and encouraged people to put differences aside and pray and work together as a community.

On a personal note, Father Cogo was a strength and support to me and my family during a serious health crisis and I know that Father Cogo was a great help to other families in the Our Lady of Pompeii School community. I am disappointed that your article was one sided and did not present Father Cogo as we know him, a respected member of our community.

Liza Mirisola


Witness policy fosters abuse

To The Editor:
Re “Woman charges rape in tangled affair with priest” (news article, Sept. 21):

I appreciated your fine reporting. Regarding clergy and church abuse in faith-based organizations: Much exposure has been published about pedophile priests in the Catholic church. Clergy sexual abuse is also covered up in the “other” religions. Sexual abuse is rampant in the Jehovah’s Witnesses due to an organizational policy of requiring “two witnesses” to the crime of child rape. This fosters a code of silence and a “pedophile’s paradise” in the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Danny Haszard  


It’s just plain Ukraine

To The Editor:
Re the article written by Jefferson Siegel on Ukraine President Yushchenko’s visit to the U.S. (“Orange crush on Yuschenko at Ukrainian Museum visit,” news article, Sept. 21):

Stop using the expression “the Ukraine.” This expression is outdated and offensive to Ukrainians. Frankly, it’s colonialist British terminology from the past. The correct name of the country is Ukraine.

Orest Steciw


Didn’t capture Cape at all

To The Editor:
Re “A different world: A Cape Cod recap at summer’s end” (notebook, by Michele Herman, Sept. 28):

When you wrote your contemplative and trendy essay on Wellfleet it would have been good to do a little research before you made your veiled criticism of the denizens of this one-time fishing town by saying, “I had the displaced feeling I always have around ease and money.”

Huh? Are you kidding? The only displaced people are the town residents who are forced to rent out their houses to tourists like you because they need the extra income. Ask Marion Nickerson, what a hardscrabble life most Wellfleetians have lived for generations. And, yes, as you say, her name is an old New England name, but when her nephews make their living from clamming on the town beaches, they are not gathering generations of “old money.” Maybe you should have interviewed Curtis Newcomb, whose ancestor, sea captain Andrew Newcomb, saved people from drowning off of one of those beautiful beaches you visit, hence the name Newcomb’s Hollow Beach.

Curtis Newcomb and his eight brothers and sisters will tell you they cannot afford to buy property in their own hometown like many other people born and raised there. It is not the New Englanders of Wellfleet who are making you uncomfortable, it is thousands of people like you who come to this incredibly beautiful place for two weeks, pumping dollars into the faltering local economy, and then have the audacity to say, “The Yankees still seem to have a major grip here — serious Mayflower WASP’s.”

If you look beneath the surface, maybe visit the Wellfleet Historical Society, you will find that most people from the lower Cape are middle- to low-income, many Portuguese descent and many unemployed in the winter because “yo all” tourists scurry off the Cape by September.

In your essay, you subtly disparaged the locals by spotlighting the town as having a lot of white buildings, white churches and a lot of white people living in Wellfleet who happen to be Protestants. Let’s face it, the term WASP is not one of endearment in your book, and instead of trying to understand the people who live there, you do precisely what you go on to criticize in your own essay — you stereotype the New Englanders of Cape Cod, as you fly down the slippery slope of prejudice, wearing your very own liberal Superman cape. Prejudice often occurs when you don’t take the time to do your homework, in this case, to actually find out about the real lives of the people who are from Wellfleet.

You write that you wonder how serendipitously you did not wind up one of the girls who clean up your rental cottage after you leave. Well the girl from Wellfleet who comes in and cleans up after you wonders about who pays money for the privilege of staying in someone else’s lovely house. She wonders why it is that you don’t clean up after yourself and as a good guest, leave it as you found it when you arrived.

Judith Newcomb Stiles


Bar scene takes its toll

To The Editor:
Once again my family was awakened in the early hours of the morning, this time not only by loud bar patrons, but also by gunshots fired by bar patrons on the sidewalk. We knew it meant someone was probably lying dead nearby.

This latest incident involved a young man who grew up in this neighborhood — one of many children whom our senior gardener Bob Humber had fought to make our local park safe for. It seems the young man was trying to put his life together again after a number of missteps. He was killed over a petty dispute in the Mission bar, a bar that already has a lousy reputation.

The Mission bar is a few doors down from The Bowery Mission, which is a place where many African-American men go to fight alcohol addiction: a life-and-death fight. Was naming the bar “Mission” supposed to be clever? It has felt to many of us who have lived here (for a few decades or more) to be an act of utter arrogance and pure meanness.

This Lower East Side community is growing weary of the explosive bar scene that caters to out-of-towners who party loudly underneath and near our homes until the wee hours. We are angry about the influx of unaware or indifferent people who come here to act out their fantasy of a night on the town without ever seeming to notice the poverty that exists next door and/or the families and community members who call this home. Few, if any, of these folks would have stepped foot in this neighborhood years ago. At best, long-term community residents seem to be viewed as an irrelevant backdrop to someone’s “walk on the wild side.” We’ve recently seen the death of several young people of all backgrounds (though we watch as the deaths of some seem to rate more importance).

We’ve learned that many of these bars are in violation of the “500-foot rule.” We understand that bars that have been denied permits by the community board are being overridden by the City Council itself!

We are working hard to raise families here, build a real community here, care for each other here, educate our children here, shop for groceries here. And what we’ve seen is headlong greed looking to make money at the expense of anyone or anything that is exploitable. We are overrun with bars that pander to well-off tourists. We don’t see a plan for the community.

Where is the leadership of this city on this?

Who is benefiting from recent “growth” here? Where is the stability of the community coming from? Are there affordable food stores? Are there affordable after-school programs for working parents? Are there jobs and housing for low-income people nearby? Where are the after-school activities for older young people? Are our seniors safe to walk the streets at any hour? Can this community be safe when a bar scene is allowed to mushroom out of control?

K Webster
Webster is co-chairperson, the M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden


Rebuild the band shell

To The Editor:
When the city knocked down the old Tompkins Square Park band shell I was arrested and spent 48 hours in jail. I think it’s time to rebuild the band shell. I’ve talked to a lot of people in the neighborhood and there’s a lot of support for rebuilding the band shell. Does anyone on the community board have anything to say about this? And also I’d appreciate it if community members would write letters to the editor of The Villager in support of rebuilding the Tompkins Square Park band shell.

John Penley


Some ideas for ‘Island’

To The Editor:

Re “Just like any other barge, only this one has bark and leaves” (arts article, Sept. 21):

How to improve the artistic qualifications for the “Floating Island”:

1) Allow at least one starving artist to live on it, who will maintain the grounds in lieu of rent. Other candidates include:

A small theater company that could put on continuous productions of Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” and Satre’s “No Exit.”

A small musical company can perform “Once Upon This Island.”

The whole company of Pilobolus dance troupe could form a cluster.

Ten starving poets who can get closer to nature by living in the treetop and reciting John Donne’s “No Man Is an Island.”

Musicians who can serenade us with either Venetian-styled arias, folk songs of riverboats or a rock band performing Simon and Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock, I Am an Island.”

Richard West


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