Volume 75, Number 43 | March 15 -21 2006

Letters to the editor

N.Y.U. downloads liberally

To The Editor:
Re “Despite risk of lawsuits, N.Y.U. students live on the download” (news article, March 8):

N.Y.U. isn’t a front for the Communist Party ? N.Y.U. isn’t a major threat to the rights and freedoms of our poor? Who do you think has been advocating theft for decades? N.Y.U. is responsible for more homelessness than they can ever blame George W. Bush for. In fact, N.Y.U. has successfully ethnically cleansed the East Village of its minority residents. So it’s no big surprise to see that N.Y.U. is advocating the theft of intellectual property from struggling musicians.

We independent musicians work our asses off, sometimes for decades, in the hope of some reward, and N.Y.U. teaches its students that it’s O.K. to then come along and steal that from us?

What do you think would happen if I tried to get a free education at N.Y.U. — using any one of the arguments that their esteemed students and spokespersons used to justify illegally downloading music? This damn school charges too much — they should give me a free education (or, rather, brainwashing).

Arastoo Taslim needs to do some soul-searching. Of course, being a student at a liberal U.S. college, he probably doesn’t understand morality. “Record labels rip off artists — so why shouldn’t everyone?” is his real argument. It’s funny, in this liberal, left-wing city, the callousness toward the hardworking poor, by rich elitists, such as our esteemed student, is rampant.

Someone needs to tell Michael “McGreedy” that slavery was outlawed in the 1800s and musicians are not his personal chattel — to give him entertainment and pleasure with no financial gain. It’s philosophy such as his that has perverted the music business.

A boneheaded N.Y.U. spokesperson, Josh Taylor, goes even further to display the fascistic nature of today’s liberal universities. He thinks that, even though the students who download are admitted criminals — who victimize the poorest element of society for their personal benefit — the recording industry should go after someone else.

For all of you — study copyright law. Infringement permits the owner to sue for up to $125,000 per incident. Trust me — if I find you downloading anything of mine — I will sue you to the max. Download one of my Undead albums illegally and you’ll be looking at $125,000 x 13 incidents — that’s right, baby, once for each track on the album. And if you think it’s a bluff, go ask the legal jerks at Amazon and the former CDNOW, who tried to get away with selling bootlegs of my music.

If you N.Y.U. students knew anything, you’d know the history of the East Village and it’s music and art — which you are helping to destroy as you play into the hands of the major corporations that are using you to kill independent music. It’s you who will lead us to more and more boy bands. It’s you who are causing the airwaves to be filled with mediocrity, like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. Your theft barely hurts them, but it’s killing us real musicians.

Bobby Steele

Gay youth should accept Pier 54

To The Editor:
Re “Pier 54 proposal for gay youth in park doesn’t float” (news article, March 8):

I believed that opening Pier 54 to FIERCE and the L.G.B.T. youth was a fair compromise. That is, if the Hudson River Park Trust could get it together and make it a priority to fix up the pier. I find Rickke Mananzala’s rejection of this offer to be, at best, disingenuous. It seems to me that he wants what he wants when he wants it and is willing to make no compromise that will alleviate the insanity that now pervades the West Village streets from one end of Christopher St. to the other and the blocks immediately surrounding it.

His claim that the community board is trying to segregate this group is bogus. The L.G.B.T. youth have successfully segregated themselves. They have completely taken over the pier and made it unsafe and unpleasant for anyone else to use. As for his willingness to have this group “police themselves,” they haven’t done a very good job of it in the past and there is no reason to believe things will change. Prostitution and drug dealing are rampant, and they believe these are acceptable lifestyles. They hang out in all weather along the length of Christopher St., engaging in illegal activities at all hours of the day and night. There are elementary schools in this area. This is still a family neighborhood, although this group would prefer it not to be.

As for their claim that the walk to Pier 54 and then back to the subway would be a burden, again, I posit that the walk to the subways from the Christopher St. Pier are equally as long. They are young; I don’t see any of them using canes or walkers. A little exercise wouldn’t be a bad thing. And last, as to their claim that going through the Meatpacking District and Chelsea would be dangerous, I had to laugh. Chelsea is the gay capital of Manhattan. A gay person saying they feel unsafe in this district is akin to a Mormon saying he feels unsafe in Utah. Are they afraid of the “scary” waiters at Pastis or Spice Market? Or maybe the “rednecks” who run Chelsea Market? Get real!

If Community Board 2 caves in to this group because they are afraid of being called homophobic or racist whenever FIERCE refuses to respond to direct quality-of-life issues, then they are cowards. Or is there another underlying reason we don’t know about that has to do with the funding of the outreach groups that make a lot of money distributing condoms in the neighborhood? Whatever the reason, it is the mandate of Community Board 2 to protect the residents and people who work in the community before taking sides against them with a group of transients.

Perhaps it is time for Borough President Scott Stringer to honor his promise and clean up this community board.
Jay Jeffries

Later curfew is the solution

To The Editor:
Re “Coming home” (Scoopy’s notebook, Feb. 22):

I am writing on behalf of FIERCE, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, youth-of-color organizing project in New York City.

Scoopy is right. Large numbers of L.G.B.T. youth have been coming to Community Board 2 meetings. We are coming because the Christopher St. Pier curfew and related issues are important to us. Historically, the pier has been one of the few safe public spaces for L.G.B.T. youth in the city. For many years prior to 2001, when the pier was fenced off and developed, L.G.B.T. youth found a safe space on the pier and residents were not disturbed by large numbers of young people being pushed off the pier, because the curfew didn’t exist.

Since then, the 1 a.m. curfew has caused some West Village residents to be unhappy with the new noise created at 1 a.m. and, as a result, L.G.B.T. youth presence in the neighborhood is being threatened in order to alleviate the new noise and crowding of Christopher St. We believe we have found a solution that can address both concerns: changing the curfew at the pier to 4 a.m. This allows people to leave in smaller groups over time, instead of all at once at 1 a.m. We feel that any proposal to deal with noise shouldn’t rely on pushing L.G.B.T. youth out of the West Village. After all, it’s the celebration of diversity and the L.G.B.T. community that makes the West Village such a special place.

FIERCE has worked hard over the past six months to dispel hostility between L.G.B.T. youth and West Village residents. We want the Community Board 2 meetings to be a space for community dialogue, not confrontation. We are committed to identifying solutions that work for everyone and we trust that Community Board 2 is interested in identifying these kinds of solutions as well. We feel confident that the combination of our proposal and L.G.B.T. youth/resident partnership will be successful in addressing everyone’s needs.

Rickke Mananzala
Mananzala is campaign coordinator of FIERCE

Nightlife fuels economy

To The Editor:
Re: “Bloomberg will push for city S.L.A. commish” (news article, March 8):

Mr. Amateau’s article refers to community boards and neighborhood advocates that complain that the State Liquor Authority finds issuing licenses to be in the public interest if the establishments do no more than provide a few employment opportunities. A busy 40-to-50-seat restaurant with a 12-to-15 seat bar will typically employ between 12 to 18 people, directly generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries and tips, tens of thousands of dollars in sales and payroll taxes and thousands more indirectly through vendors and other purchased services. Selling alcohol is part of what makes a successful business and to flippantly dismiss a few employment opportunities as not in the public interest is foolish. Operators and owners should not have to face any parts of the city being made off limits in a blanket regulation but applications should be considered on a case-by-case basis with input and consultation with the local communities. New York has always had a vibrant nightlife, which does contribute to the economic and social health of our city. On the other hand, we can become completely Disneyfied and be tucked in at 9 p.m. with a glass of warm milk. Might as well live in monastery.

Christopher Molinari
Molinari is the chef and owner of Frank’s restaurant

Captain has work cut out

To The Editor:
Re “New commander at 7th focuses on bars and burglaries” (news article, March 1):

Captain Dwyer must feel pretty good about himself to spout that line of drivel and bunk that was printed in The Villager. He must think we are morons.

Dwyer seems more interested in grooming himself for promotion than returning phone calls or in truly helping the long-suffering residents north of Delancey St., where there are still many hotspots of crime — unlicensed after-hours clubs and a string of Bangladeshi bodega robberies that was never solved, besides pickpocketing and purse-snatching. Why are lanes on the major streets like Houston and Essex allowed to be taken over by limousines, causing gridlock, horn honking and yet more noise while the police look the other way? Why has horn-honking taxi-lock been allow to occur late at night and on weekends? Babies and children are trying to sleep, which is as essential to proper growth as water and food.

Reminding the people making noise they are standing under the homes of sleeping residents or asking them politely two and three times to be quiet is not enough — we need some real enforcement. The crowds that invade our neighborhood are drunken and/or drugged when they arrive — if not soon thereafter — so their inhibitions are less and they tend to talk much louder, walk in groups of threes and fours (and more) and create a cluster of loudness. Calling 311 is a joke. Why hasn’t the law regarding public intoxication been more strongly enforced? Why aren’t those creating a public nuisance and violating the noise codes or public order or public safety codes being arrested and put through the system? A few weeks of this enforcement and word would get around to behave in our neighborhood.

If Captain Dwyer really wants to focus on bars and how they negatively impact residents, let him come north late one night for a walking tour of the area instead of dancing the hora on Grand St. We are neither morons nor clowns.
Marcia H. Lemmon

Finance board is too slow

To The Editor:
Re “Rosie Mendez stands by Lopez after campaign scandal; defends her own role” (news article, March 8):

Why can’t the Campaign Finance Board complete their audits of campaigns within one to two years of an election? If the C.F.B. thought there was a problem with Lopez’s 2001 campaign finances, why did the C.F.B. wait until Lopez was running for a different office in 2005 to demand a deposit, and to hold hearings about these matters?

I strongly support strong, clear and consistent standards of accountability at the C.F.B. Those standards should include timely audits and findings, so that candidates are not held hostage, indefinitely, to the possibility of potential past issues.

Sheri Clemons

Don’t forget band shell

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

Lincoln Anderson’s retrospective on the Tompkins Square band shell in your

Feb. 1 issue is an important historical document which is now in my permanent files. To think that newcomers to the neighborhood may be unaware that the band shell ever existed gives me an eerie sense of passing time.

I endorse the idea of rebuilding the band shell as a means of reviving and preserving the Lower East Side’s legacy of multiculturalism and (dare I say it?) dissidence.

Bill Weinberg

Gus’s gustatory return

To The Editor:
After leaving Waverly Pl. a little over a year ago, Gus’ Place will reopen in a new location, continuing its 17-year history in Greenwich Village. We look forward to opening our doors with the gracious hospitality and warm welcome our customers always valued. We will continue with many of our popular dishes, such as shrimp and orzo, lamb shank, sizzling trout and small-plate mezedes. And yes, as quoted in Zagat, “It doesn’t cost a fortune and you can always chat with with Gus, ‘the Host with the Most.’ ”

The new Gus’ Place, which we hope to open by June on Carmine St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves., will offer its patrons the option of prepaid subscriptions in multiples of $500 ($500, $1,000, $1,500, $2,000, etc.) redeemable in food and drinks for small or large parties. Subscribers will also receive a 20 percent discount off the restaurant bill every time they visit and will have the advantage of being on the reservation priority list. Subscriptions will be distributed in the form of Gus’ Place debit cards.

Our community, friends, neighbors and former diners will be involved as partners helping us to open our doors in a new, charming space, which will include a small outdoor cafe. In the event that Gus’ Place does not open up, your money will be refunded. Please make your check payable to Gus’ Place and mail it to the following address: Gus’ Place, P.O. Box 505, New York, N.Y. 10014.

We will be taking subscriptions until April 15. For more information, call me at 646-621-6096 or e-mail me at gusplace88@yahoo.com.

Gus Theodoro

Irish laid the foundations

To The Editor:
Re “Chamber chews over Christopher St. business improvement district” (news article, Feb. 8):

Christmas lights on Christopher St.? Not in my front yard — between Greenwich and Washington Sts.! Please! This is enough of a midway carnival scene as it is.

Tom Burrows, you say, speaks of historic gay landmarks. What is there besides the Stonewall bar?

You want landmarks? How about really historic landmarks, honoring (mostly) Irish-American and Irish longshoremen who worked and sweated and were crippled and died loading and unloading ships along the waterfront that is now unrecognizable for being turned into a bourgeois park? It was the tens of thousands, over the century, of mostly Irish and Irish-American proletariat and their long-suffering women who helped catapult this city into its present prosperity — the men loading and unloading ships, the women at home, bearing many children, cooking, scrubbing in abysmal tenements, who are the heroic ones.

The strollers and the joggers and the bike riders have no notion of the blood, sweat, crippling, death and tears that went on in this neighborhood, on the West Village piers, and from Hudson St. to West St. where the river was blocked off by the piers.

The only thing the few who know anything know is from “On the Waterfront,” a biased movie by a man who named names, in which longshoremen are louts, layabouts or criminals and rapists. A lot of history needs to be revisited here on the waterfront!

John Stanley

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