Volume 75, Number 50 | May 3 - 9 2006

Letters to the editor

W.V.H.’s debt to Jacobs

To The Editor:
Re “Jane Jacobs, activist who saved Village, is dead at 89” (obituary, April 26):

As we mourn the passing of Jane Jacobs, we want to celebrate her remarkable life. We draw your attention to one of her many accomplishments: the creation of West Village Houses in what was then a remote part of the Village. West Village Houses came about because of Jacobs’s vision and determination. In the 1970s, Jacobs led the West Village Committee to plan a low-rise, middle-income housing complex, called West Village Houses, along the route of a section of the High Line railroad that was to be dismantled, from Morton to Bank Sts. between Washington and West Sts.

West Village Houses became a stabilizing influence in a rapidly changing neighborhood. In 2002, the tenants of West Village Houses banded together and fought the owners of West Village Houses to save our homes. One highpoint during the battle occurred when Jacobs returned to the Village and spoke at one of our fundraisers. At that standing-room-only event, she spoke about the struggle to create West Village Houses and her support of tenants’ efforts. On March 9, 2006, we finished what Jacobs started many years ago: the tenants of West Village Houses successfully converted the complex into a co-op/rental complex.

Without Jacobs, the West Village as a thriving neighborhood would not now exist and we would all be poorer for the loss of our vibrant community. We are grateful for Jacobs’s leadership and hard work on our behalf. On behalf of the West Village Houses community, we offer our condolences to her children, James, Ned and Burgin, and their families.
 
Katy Bordonaro and Gay Young
Bordonaro is president and Young is former secretary, West Village Houses Housing Development Fund Corporation


Trolley good show

To The Editor:
Re “Jane Jacobs, activist who saved Village, is dead at 89” and “First 2nd Ave. stops would connect with Downtown” (obituary and news article, April 26):

Sure enjoyed the April 26 issue of The Villager. (Actually, I enjoy all the issues!)

A belated congratulations for your much-deserved honor in community newspaper publishing.

Al Amateau’s wonderful obit about Jane Jacobs was much appreciated.

And Josh Rogers’s Second Ave. subway piece — about connecting with Downtown — well, all but the most able-bodied subway riders would know to walk across the platform at 14th St. to switch to the R (or on weekdays to the W) for the trip Downtown, rather than wander through the passageways at Canal St. While the portion of the Second Ave. subway that might get built in most lifetimes will be a small fraction of the whole route, it would make sense to supplement this with a surface light-rail line from 125th St. to Whitehall St. Per-mile cost would be one-tenth that of the subway, and it could be built more quickly, with less disruption.

George Haikalis
Haikalis is president, Village Crosstown Trolley Coalition


Come together, right now

To The Editor:
Re “Dissidents are raring for race after party dis, attack letter” (news article, April 26):

I would like to compliment Lincoln Anderson for a balanced article that addresses the issue of the anonymous letter written by persons who are supposedly members of Community Board 2. A few facts were left out but by and large it was an accurate portrayal of the situation. In fact, his article was well researched and put to shame the intentionally negative piece written by the Daily News — which was placed by P.R. professionals who are close to the source of the letter. That’s the way gossip columns handle their “tips.”

Without constantly rehashing the motive behind such letters and completely discarding the need to investigate the perpetrators of this missive, let me say that it is time to bring the board together. Not just words, but in deeds as well. While there are differences, such as the dilemma of balancing business interests with the quality of life needs of the community, there are areas in which all of the board members can work together. This should be our focus. Not personalities.

Maria Derr comes from a well-respected, politically involved family. Clearly, she is interested in pursuing the same interests herself. It is my feeling that political contests, as with the upcoming election for board chairperson, should be handled with respect and civility.

While I may have been wrongfully attacked, as have been others, it seems to me that whomever is elected chairperson this June, should expect to enjoy the support of all of the members of Community Board 2. 
 
Donald MacPherson
MacPherson is publisher, The SoHo Journal



No confidence in N.Y.U.

To The Editor:
Regarding your article “Planning czar bolts N.Y.U. for Bloomberg schools job” (April 19):

We certainly want to wish Sharon Greenberger well in her new post at the School Construction Authority. While it would be pointless to speculate on the meaning

or the timing of this departure, we agree with Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation that it raises a host of questions about New York University’s commitment to developing long-range plans and making the process more transparent to the communities affected by N.Y.U.’s efforts.

Regrettably, there is no reassurance to be found in the typically opaque words of N.Y.U.’s spokesman who says “our efforts on those issues will continue apace regardless of circumstances.” Since N.Y.U. has never seen fit to make public what these efforts might be, their goals or their timetable, it is simply not possible to judge N.Y.U.’s sincerity or good faith in pursuing them.

If N.Y.U. announces a suitable replacement for Ms. Greenberger promptly that would be a positive sign. If her replacement publicly articulates a schedule for developing an N.Y.U. master plan (something which Greenberger failed to do in the year she had the job) that would send a clear signal to the community about N.Y.U.’s intentions.

In the meantime, it is for the community, through its elected officials, to continue to hold N.Y.U. accountable for living up to its public pronouncements on its long-range planning goals.
 
Elizabeth Langwith
Tony McAndrew
Langwith and McAndrew are co-chairpersons, St. Ann’s Committee


Hooked on The Villager

To The Editor:
Congratulations on the prestigious recognition accorded to The Villager by the New York Press Association.

As a lifelong Villager and a longtime subscriber, I was not surprised to learn of the awards. The recognition was to be expected!

I look forward to my copy of the paper each week with its always interesting and often provocative editorials. And then I turn to the Arts & Lifestyles section, which includes my favorite “critic,” Ed Koch — he’s terrific. And after that I look at the exceptional coverage of local politics, which should be must reading for Village voters.

Best wishes for continued success. The Villager is an integral part of our unique community. Keep writing and publishing and I’ll keep reading.

Lorraine R. Colville


Long-range reader

To The Editor: 
Congratulations on all the awards your newspaper recently won. I love reading your paper and I’m not even from New York. Keep up the good work.
  
David Dellario
Talk about statistics


To The Editor:
I read Scoopy’s “Assembly rumblings” in your April 5 issue to include bickering between Sylvia Friedman and Steven Kaufman. Accordingly, I was surprised by what I didn’t see.

Lisa Kaplan documents that had Sylvia Friedman not run for City Council in 1993, it would have been “statistically possible” for Miriam Friedlander to overcome Antonio Pagan. Yet, there were more registered Democrats in the district who did not vote at all in 1993. Unfortunately, the winner, as usual, was indifference.

When Don Tobias was out of the County Committee running for State Assembly to replace Steve Sanders, however, it was literally “statistically possible” for Kaufman to beat Friedman. Voters were in one room together, now being asked to cast a second ballot after a three-way split on the first.

Statistically, Kaufman would have had to win virtually every vote cast for Tobias on the first round to overtake Friedman’s lead. In point of fact, this was a statistical possibility being put to an actual test.

Despite Kaufman being supported by the Tilden and Eleanor Roosevelt clubs, Tobias’s same base, who, in Farkas Auditorium at N.Y.U. that day, was surprised that Friedman won on the second ballot?
 
Billy Sternberg


The paid-detail agenda

To The Editor: 
Re “Exploiting Imette’s Death” (letter, by Elizabeth Glass, April 26):

Further to the proposed New York Police Department Paid Detail Unit being a conflict of interest, there is no Manhattan block or neighborhood association or residential group that supports one. Additionally, one of the recommendations that came out of former Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields’s Task Force on Nightlife — of which I was a member — was to strongly recommend not to support this flawed idea. Many community boards also voted not to support this when this issue was first proposed.

If the few bar and club owners who are New York Nightlife Association members were truly interested in the security of their patrons and the area around their premises, they would have hired private security guards — already licensed and background checked — from a private security company long ago. New York City has many security companies; the fact that the bars, clubs and NYNA haven’t gone down this road, but have kept on lobbying for the N.Y.P.D. Paid Detail Unit, shows what their agenda truly is.
 
Marcia H. Lemmon



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