Volume 76, Number 1 | May 24 - 30, 2006

Letters to the editor

More Kucinich than Dean

To The Editor:
Re “Hillary bombs at V.I.D.; club backs Tasini for senator” (news article, May 17):

Nice article on Jonathan Tasini, but it is not accurate to say that Progressive Democrats of America is “an offshoot of Howard Dean’s political movement.” See www.pdamerica.org. In fact, more of its organizers and activists worked for Dennis Kucinich than Dean, and virtually all were active in movement progressive politics and Democratic Party work long before those presidential campaigns were a glimmer in the candidates’ eyes. P.D.A. sees itself as picking up where the Rainbow Coalition left off — and is supported by a similar rainbow of activists.
Joe Libertelli
Libertelli is a member, Progressive Democrats of America board of advisors

Won’t be doing the wave

To The Editor:
Thank you for your reporting of the May 16 Landmarks Preservation Commission designation hearing for the old P.S. 64/former CHARAS/El Bohio in the May 17 issue of The Villager (“East Village turns out to save its ‘heart and soul’ ”).

However, those of us near Mr. Gregg Singer heard his derision a bit differently than Sarah Ferguson reported. Mr. Singer actually said, “The building is coming down, wave ‘bye bye,’” as he did in fact wave mockingly.

The difference between what Mr. Singer said and Sarah Ferguson reported might be slight, but is fundamental. I believe the difference perfectly underscores Mr. Singer’s disrespect for our community. Not only was he predicting that he would demolish the old P.S. 64, but he was also predicting that we would watch, suffer the assault and “wave bye bye” to a critically loved landmark in our community as he demolished it.

Finally, achieving landmark designation for P.S. 64 is not my “personal crusade,” as Sarah Ferguson writes, but is one of the fundamental objectives of the East Village Community Coalition, a local nonprofit organization I am proud to be a part of. The East Village Community Coalition is also dedicated to preserving St. Brigid’s Church, achieving zoning changes necessary to maintain the East Village’s low-rise built environment, preservation of community gardens and the mapping of a Garden District, designation of appropriate historic districts, the promotion and support of locally owned and operated stores, restaurants and businesses through a “GET LOCAL!” campaign, supporting residents in danger of displacement and sustaining a diverse community affordable to all.

Michael Rosen

Don’t forget the federation

To The Editor:
Re “Approval is given for Village Historic District’s expansion” (news article, May 3):

Aside from the fact that many Village residents do not consider the piecemeal landmarking of a few buildings and blocks to be a true expansion of the Greenwich Village Historic District, it was also dismaying to see absolutely no mention in your article of the fact that the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront has been working toward this goal for the past 20 years.
Miriam Sarzin

He’s just wild about Harry

To The Editor:
Re “Harry who?” (Scoopy’s Notebook, May 17):

I found it highly amusing that, in a recent Scoopy’s column, former Assembly candidate Steve Kaufman was quoted as stating, “I have no idea who Harry Wieder is,” and that “He’s probably a flunky of [Assemblywoman] Sylvia [Friedman].”

Harry may sometimes be a pain in the ass (well, maybe more than sometimes), but he’s hardly anyone’s “flunky.”

My joke has always been that Harry is so well known that he might be in the background of a televised press conference at City Hall and someone watching in California will say, “Oh, there’s Harry!”
Marvin Wasserman
Wasserman is president, 504 Democratic Club

Scoopy bombs with sake bar

To The Editor:
However much I love your publication, I couldn’t help being a bit taken aback by the “journalism” your paper exhibited in an entry in your May 10 Scoopy’s Notebook (“Makes him sick”):

“The other ad, for Satsko, at 202 E. Seventh St., in Time Out, offered all-you-can-drink sake for one hour for $10, with the person who drinks the most winning a T-shirt. A State Liquor Authority source told us that unlimited drinking offers are illegal, and that while places still do them, it’s something the S.L.A. regulates. The source said the S.L.A. would refer the Satsko case to its enforcement bureau, which will investigate.”

The original Time Out editorial text:

“The sake bombing scene has exploded at the East Village Sake Bar Satsko (202 E. 7th St. between Aves. B and C, 212-614-0933), thanks in part to their Sunday night chug-a-thons. Between 10 and 11 p.m., patrons who pay $10 can partake in a drinking competition with other bargoers; whoever pounds two sake bombs fastest gets a free Satsko’s T-shirt. Losers can buy theirs at the bar for $15.”

However muddled the writing, the article (not advertisement) clearly states that patrons who pay $10 can have two sake bombs. The winner ends up with a free T-shirt, the loser ends up paying the 10 bucks.

What is particularly troubling is that the S.L.A. has apparently been contacted concerning our establishment based on the misreading of this article. That, compounded with your newspaper’s lack of follow-up, has us concerned. This is clearly not an “all you can drink” situation and we’d appreciate a response from The Villager. You’ve taken a mistake, compounded it, and let all of New York read it.

We would like to have a clarification in The Villager.

The reason I’m writing any sort of rebuttal at all is the involvement of law enforcement officials in the matter. It’s uncalled for and based on a poor reading of an article not written at the behest of Satsko’s. Your publication is certainly not responsible for the initial mistake, but for making it worse.

Joseph M. Rushton
Rushton is a bartender at Sake Bar Satsko

Editor’s note: The Villager apologizes for the inaccurate reporting regarding the Time Out item on Satsko. Also, it was The Villager that contacted the State Liquor Authority, not John Penley, who pitched us the story accurately, but which The Villager reported inaccurately.

Protect old buildings

To The Editor:
Re “Chimney collapse rips through Bedford St. building” (news article, May 17):

Thank your for your article about the chimney collapse at 84 Bedford St. The city’s failure to ensure the safety of this building led to tenants being removed from their homes and to the possibility that the city may lose this landmark building and the units of affordable housing that it contains. While the Department of Buildings spokesperson may be correct that “the apartment renovation plans were not self-certified, but went through the D.O.B. plan examination process,” there were self-certified permits open at 84 Bedford St. for roof work at the time of the collapse. It seems evident that these self-certified permits, along with the city’s failure to properly supervise construction at this site, may have contributed to this collapse.

What happened on Bedford St. shows that the city needs a better approach to supervising construction in historic buildings. Throughout the Village and other historic neighborhoods that I represent, there are many 100- and 200-year-old buildings that are undergoing dramatic renovations or are on lots adjacent to major construction sites. The city cannot take the structural stability of these buildings for granted. Throughout the permitting and inspection process, D.O.B. must ensure that historic buildings are not threatened by construction that does not account for the fragility of older buildings.

Construction on and around 200-year-old buildings is very different than construction affecting 2-year-old buildings. D.O.B. must appreciate this difference and act accordingly to ensure that tragedies like the chimney collapse at 84 Bedford St. do not reoccur. We must remember this is far from the first time this type of problem has arisen. Ending self-certification for construction in and around historic districts is an essential first step in this direction.
Deborah J. Glick
Glick is assemblymember for the 66th District

E-mail letters to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar and libel.

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