Volume 75, Number 41 | March 1 -7 2006

Letters to the editor

Don’t believe the dorm hype

To The Editor:
Re “Dorm doings” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Feb. 22):

While I would not dispute the facts of David Kramer’s description of the meetings so far between Hudson Companies, New York University and the community about the planned 26-story dorm on E. 12th St., I think he may be viewing these meetings through rather thick rose-colored glasses. The meetings have been characterized by the community — as represented by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and the St. Ann’s Committee — expressing their extreme displeasure at the current plan, and urging N.Y.U. and Hudson Companies to, more than anything, reduce the size of the proposed building. Thus far, we have been told this is the one thing they are not likely to consider doing. 

While we appreciate that they have been willing to talk to us about the design of the building — the results of these talks which remain to be seen — I suspect that, unless N.Y.U. and Hudson are willing to consider reducing the size of the building, these conversations will continue to be characterized by a great deal of contention and disagreement.

On a separate but related note, thank you and kudos to The Villager for its thorough and intelligent reporting on the N.Y.U. second-campus proposal and its editorials in support. Keep up the great work!
Andrew Berman
Berman is executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Bemused by Scoopy mewsing

To The Editor:
Re “Dorm doings” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Feb. 22):

As the co-chairpersons of the St. Ann’s Committee, we were somewhat bemused by the Scoopy’s notebook item describing the meetings between our group and The Hudson Companies. To set the record straight, we have held only one meeting with Hudson since the N.Y.U. deal was announced last November and find it premature of Mr. Kramer to say that things are going well in these discussions.

Although we are encouraged to read Mr. Kramer’s quote that they are looking at scaling back on use of the full developable area of the site, what we have heard so far from both N.Y.U. and Hudson is that this point is nonnegotiable.

The committee has raised a number of issues and concerns from the surrounding community, but our primary and most immediate focus remains the size and height of the proposed 26-story dormitory, which would be the tallest building in the East Village and grossly out of context for this midblock site on a residential side street. We sincerely hope that Hudson and N.Y.U. will follow through on their commitment to engage in a true dialogue — followed by visible and meaningful action — on this most critical item.

We are very appreciative of the support that The Villager and others have shown for G.V.S.H.P.’s proposal to identify a satellite campus for N.Y.U. We strongly support this initiative as a viable means to help N.Y.U. meet their programmatic needs while preserving the diversity and unique character of our neighborhood.

Elizabeth Langwith and Tony McAndrew
Langwith and McAndrew are co-chairpersons, St. Ann’s Committee

Students need to learn to walk

To The Editor:
“N.Y.U. satellite-campus proposal lifts off at C.B. 2” (news article, Feb. 22):

As a New York University undergrad, I am ashamed that my peers are too lazy to leave their neighborhood. Perhaps it was naive of me to expect students at an urban university to walk places.

One of the underlying problems that plagues N.Y.U. is that there is little sense of community when compared to suburban and rural universities. Both the administration and students unsuccessfully try to create more of this sense of community. Washington Square News, N.Y.U.’s newspaper, wrote an editorial against a second campus because it would be “bad for community” (“Satellites bad for community,” Feb. 21). Despite all efforts, there will never be a strong N.Y.U. community, and not having one should be what makes N.Y.U. a unique university.

Even though I am not a lifetime resident of the Village, I am aware of the potential harm N.Y.U. could cause if it continues to develop the neighborhood on its own behalf. I strongly encourage that the university expand to other neighborhoods and not overtake such a great area.

Jack De Stefano

Guilty of mangling English

To The Editor:
Re “Lopez is cleared of fraud charge, also of deposit of $170,000” (news article, Feb. 22):

Did Margarita Lopez really say, “My name have been put through the mud”? Not only are we electing corrupt officials but illiterate ones as well. Talk about the dumbing down of America!
Paul K. Piccone

S.L.A. column went down badly

To The Editor:
Re “What Lola wanted but didn’t get, no thanks to S.L.A.” (talking point, by Ed Gold, Feb. 8):

I occasionally read Ed Gold’s talking points and find that I am in agreement with most of what he says. At some points, as in the Feb. 14 edition, I come across a head-scratcher. He asserts that a Democratic governor would cure the State Liquor Authority problems. Were things any different with a Democratic governor?

I have found virtually all politicians to be disingenuous. This issue should be nonpartisan anyway. It is a disservice for Gold to use this type of issue, from his Community Board 2 perch in particular, to articulate a position against the S.L.A., and then pose the Democrats as the saviors.

There are many Democrats and Republicans wholly complicit. Preaching to the choir politically just creates finger-pointing and opportunities for stump speeches. Welcome to the role of community boards in New York politics.

Does Gold really believe the thrust of all the problems is the Republicans Upstate? Is it necessary to cite chapter and verse, the local Democrats who are completely full of it?

Would Gold and C.B. 2 support former Manhattan Borough President Fields in a gubernatorial run as a solution?

Robert Weitz

In love with Millay article

To The Editor:
Re “Actors bring to life passion of Millay’s love poetry” (article, Feb. 22):

Kudos on David Freedlander’s article in The Villager about the Millay reading at the Jefferson Market Library. Careful, thoughtful, accurate. Well done!

W. N. Seymour, Jr.
Seymour is president, the Millay Society

Keep Basketball City in park

To The Editor:
Albert Amateau sees only one side of the story at Pier 63 (“Police horses and basketballs clog Hudson Park in Chelsea,” news article, Feb. 22).

Basketball City is more than just a successful commercial recreation facility. It is a vibrant and vital community resource. The courts are offered without fee to many youth leagues and public school teams. Most of these teams will have no place to play when Basketball City is forced to close.

The Hudson River Park Act of 1998 requires the structure on the pier to be removed and the area to be “used solely for park use (of which at least eighty percent shall be passive and active public open space uses).” So Basketball City must go.

But Basketball City helps Hudson River Park Trust fulfill its mission. Its closing will be a loss to the park and the city. The Trust should put aside the acrimony of a legal dispute over the lease and commit itself to finding an alternative space for commercially operated indoor sports courts. With obesity and diabetes reaching epidemic levels among children, the Trust, a government entity that seeks to provide public opportunities for healthful recreation, should not allow these doors to close. The purpose of the park is not just to provide open views of the river.

Albert Amateau says it will be two years before construction of the park can begin. So, fortunately, horses and basketballs are not yet clogging the park and we have two years to find alternatives for both of these important uses. The governor, the mayor and the Manhattan borough president appoint the members of the board of the Trust. They should keep the Pier 63 facility open until an alternative site is found.

As a facility that pays rent and offers a park-compatible public service, Basketball City is exactly the kind of user the Trust should seek out for Pier 40. The Trust has offered part of the Pier 40 roof to the New York Trapeze School. Why not do the same for a commercial use that contributes so much to the many public schools whose teams have no place else to play?

Tobi Bergman

Get off horses’ back

To The Editor:
Re “Police horse bolts” (Police Blotter, Feb. 22):

Though this was a police horse and the earlier horse accidents were carriage horses, the two situations are both joined in that the city is no place for horses. Noises spook them easily, they are living a nose-to-tailpipe existence, they work in the blazing heat to the bitter cold and lameness and hoof deterioration are inevitable. In the city, it’s not a question if more horse-related accidents will happen, but rather when they will happen. Let’s be more compassionate people, move into the future and give these horses the break they deserve. After all, they never signed up for these jobs.
Victoria Booth

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