Volume 75, Number 40 | February 22 -28 2006

Letters to the editor

Second campus is first priority

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. second-campus plan is a brilliant idea” (editorial, Feb. 15) and “First try for N.Y.U. second-campus resolution gains support, not vote” (news article, Feb. 15):

I want to thank The Villager newspaper for its editorial strongly endorsing the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s proposal for limiting New York University’s expansion, as well as the extensive front-page coverage of the effort to seek support for the plan. I think it helped to coerce Community Board 3’s Housing and Zoning Committee to vote unanimously in supporting the proposal.

As a lifelong West Villager, I have become increasingly alarmed as the character of the neighbourhood has changed. This quiet, residential community has steadily become a playground for drunken Meatpacking District revelers and students.

The proposed plan for resisting N.Y.U.’s expansion would be beneficial to our neighborhoods, to the city as a whole and even to N.Y.U. It is maybe the last hope for preventing our neighborhoods from becoming a de facto extension of the N.Y.U. campus in the coming years.

Keep up the great work. Love the paper!
 
Regina Joseph


Too much of a good thing

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. second-campus plan is a brilliant idea” (editorial, Feb. 15):

As a longtime resident of E. 10th St., president of the E. 10th St. Block Association and member of several other local organizations, I would like to thank you on behalf of our residents for supporting the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s proposal for New York University campus dispersal. Sharing the pleasures of campus life with other neighborhoods is a generous gesture we are happy to make.

N.Y.U. dormitories anchor both ends of our association streets, so we know whereof we speak. Young college people provide a great sense of excitement and energy to so many of the surrounding streets. However, there is too much of a good thing. We often are overrun with busy groups of students crowding the sidewalks, loud, raucous conversation, endless cell phone users bombarding us with their private lives — often scatological — and late-night revelry. Adding that to the increasing architectural devastation of the local real estate, our Village neighbors would be happy to share the development possibilities with, say, upper Park Ave.

The School of Social Work, for instance, would benefit by being in the heart of the needy, while renovating those incredibly sad, abandoned buildings. Fast-food places and club boutiques would love to expand to new neighborhoods. We certainly don’t need even one more of those replacing, in a revolving-door style, our serious commercial tenants. One could pop across town to Columbia for some intercollegiate work, pop over to Randall’s Island for some good sporting activities and so forth. “East Side, West Side, All Around the Town” could be N.Y.U.’s new school song!

Let’s lighten up here and share that intellectual light. The University of Michigan is spread over many, many miles in Ann Arbor and everyone considers it such an honor to be there that they bicycle, hitchhike, car share, bus for miles, whatever needed, with little fuss. Why can’t N.Y.U. promote this attitude? The students are so lucky to be here and should be happy to travel around town. It is a mistaken idea that young students need to be so coddled.

Further, we on 10th St. are especially concerned about the St. Ann’s site on E. 12th St. There is no reason why N.Y.U. can’t bring its considerable pressure to bear on the developer of that site — or any other site for that matter — to demand a height and bulk restriction. As we all are well aware, might makes right, but only in the eyes of the so called mighty — in this case, N.Y.U. I make no secret of being an admirer of N.Y.U. and love living in the midst of a university, but as said before, too much of a good thing can make you sick of it all.

Sugar Barry


Together, we can do it

To The Editor:
I want to thank The Villager for your informative and clear front-page article, “First try for N.Y.U. second-campus resolution gains support, not vote” (news article, Feb. 15), as well as your supportive editorial, “N.Y.U. second-campus plan is a brilliant idea” (Feb. 15).

I am a resident of E. Fourth St. and the chairperson of the Cooper Square Committee. I welcome your joining the momentum, growing enormously day by day, for N.Y.U. to find a location for a secondary campus.

I want to emphasize that this idea comes from a coalition: Andrew Berman from The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, whom you feature in the article, was the spokesperson for the coalition of seven groups that has formed to push this proposal. Cooper Square is one of the groups in this coalition.

History has shown us that when people join together they can change the world. I hope that our elected officials help their constituents stop N.Y.U. from spreading all over the East and West Village. Your articles and our coalition will help to build the support needed to get N.Y.U. to find a second campus for its growing needs.

Again, thank you for caring about this issue.

Lucy Carasquella


Road map to second campus

To The Editor:
Re “First try for N.Y.U. second-campus resolution gains support, not vote” (news article, Feb. 15):

I want to praise The Villager for reporting our communities’ concerns about N.Y.U.’s megadorm takeover — the latest being on St. Ann Church’s grave on 12th St. — and the excellent map on Page 18.

At the town hall meeting with President John Sexton, I called for N.Y.U. to present us with such a map, and I am grateful that Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Presentation, has produced one.

The map illustrates how much, but not how high, N.Y.U. has built and does not show that on the same block as the future St. Ann’s megadorm, we already have a New School megadorm and Webster Hall on 11th St. nearby, which has added enormously to unruly behavior. Webster Hall believes the sidewalks are their private property and have massive lines of people that wrap around Third Ave. and Fourth Ave. with little or no concern for handicapped or elderly people struggling to pass by. We also have many bars on Third Ave. that make the immediate area very loud and unruly.

I am grateful for N.Y.U.’s positive contributions. But it isn’t O.K. to destroy the beauty and history of our neighborhood, drive out people who can’t afford it here anymore — and can’t afford the university either — and close small businesses that can’t compete with the megastores that accompany the megadorms.
 
Suzannah B. Troy


Backdoor play

To The Editor:
Re “Time will tell on whether to negotiate with Hamas” (talking point, by Ed Koch, Feb. 15):

Except for one item, Ed Koch was right on the money. That item is his reference to Abba Eban’s statement that The Palestinians “have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”  Just as I had thought for years, Koch said of Abba Eban, “He was so right.”

For me, “the straw that broke the camel’s back” was the Palestinians’ voting in Hamas. I finally realized, they were not missing opportunities. It’s just that they are not interested in opportunities for peace. They are only interested in opportunities that will lead to “Israel being wiped off the map.” Israel will not achieve a peaceful solution with the Palestinians by ceding to their demands. They will only be emboldened to ask for further concessions until Israel gives in to the final demand they have always been looking for.

That demand has always been “the right of return.” Radical Palestinian leadership realize they cannot defeat Israel militarily, so they have chosen the backdoor approach: Flood Israel with Palestinians until they achieve a majority; then, being that Israel is a democracy, simply vote in the Palestinian candidates. Mission accomplished.

They have “wiped Israel of the map.”

Jerry Sitner


Band shell idea rocks

To The Editor:
Re “Bring back the band shell! Activists to stage campaign” (news article, Feb. 1):

When the old band shell in Tompkins Square Park was demolished, there were lots of promises by the City Parks Department that neighborhood organizations would have free access to the city’s new mobile stage.

Of course, this was never put in writing and when the park re-opened, the neighborhood found that their formerly free venue was then going to cost them $350. This cost of using the mobile stage has since been raised to $750. (I don’t know where you got the $450 figure.)

Like neighborhood activist John Penley, I too have spoken with many people in the neighborhood and have yet to find a single person who is not in favor of rebuilding the band shell.

Now, at the very beginning of her new term in office, is not the time for City Councilmember Rosie Mendez to stand in the middle of the road. It is time for her to come out strongly in favor of an issue that over the next few years is going to prove to be very popular.

A contest to rebuild the band shell sounds like a great idea, although I would limit it to neighborhood residents, and neighborhood contractors should be allowed to make the first bids.

Jerry “The Peddler” Wade


Filling in mercury details

To The Editor:
In the Jan. 18 issue of The Villager, the article “Heavy metal rocks Eighth St.; Mercury mystery still unsolved” makes the assertion that dentists “used to use mercury to make fillings.” This implies that dentists no longer use mercury, when, in fact, amalgam fillings still in use today contain 50 percent elemental mercury. Although one-third of dentists are now mercury free, many people, especially the working poor, still get these fillings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls amalgam fillings a “major” source of exposure to mercury. A recent poll by Zogby International, released last week, suggests that most people aren’t aware that many fillings contain mercury, let alone that they are a major source of exposure to this toxic metal. For more information on the problems with mercury fillings, see www.toxicteeth.org.

Amanda Ganong
Ganong is director of programs, Consumers for Dental Choice



Salmagundi Club revival

To The Editor:
Re “New directions for historic art club” (arts article, Feb. 1):

Great Article. Ms. Arffmann has what it takes to put Salmagundi on the cutting edge of that particular type of club.

I am a member of the National Arts Club and their president did just that in 1986. I helped vote him in.

The National Arts Club is extremely successful and I know Salmagundi will be too with Ms. Arffmann at the helm.

Judith Krummeck


Con Ed killed dog

To The Editor:
It is a tragic irony that only days after The Villager article “Is it a Shock? Doubts grow about Con Ed stray voltage” (Feb. 8), The New York Times reported that a dog was electrocuted while walking on the pavement of a sidewalk in Brooklyn on Feb. 17. The dog’s owner stated it could have been him or his child that was killed instead of his 70-pound collie mix.

The Times article stated that: “Consolidated Edison continued to supply electricity to a nonexistent streetlight in Brooklyn seven years after it was told to cut off power because the light was scheduled for removal, the utility acknowledged….” Must we now fear to tread on pavement as well as plates, manhole covers, etc?

Michael Gottlieb



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