Volume 76, Number 28 | December 6 - 12, 2006

Letters to the editor

Still mad about ‘Mad Dog’

To The Editor:
Re “On the trail of ‘Mad Dog’ Sullivan, Mafia hit man” (notebook, by Ed Gold, Aug. 30):

Given that my husband’s book, “Tears & Tiers, The Life and Times of Joseph ‘Mad Dog’ Sullivan,” has recently been published, and can be purchased on eBay, I feel that the timing is right to respond to an article that appeared in the notebook section of your Aug. 30 issue.

Like all those before him, as well as all those who will follow, Joe’s ascension from the womb was a blessed event; blemish free, and emotionally able, he could have been whoever he chose, and were it not for a series of horrific events that set the stage for all that was to come, it’s hard to imagine what might have been had one or more of those events not occurred.

Joe “Mad Dog” Sullivan is my husband’s name, and naming my son Ramsey was an honorable gesture, given that the man whom he was named after, Ramsey Clark, was not only a former attorney general of the United States, but was also Joe’s lawyer early on. And as “respect” was a word he used often when talking about Joe, it seemed only fitting that one of our sons should carry his name, as the dignity of Ramsey Clark was what we hoped would translate into something positive for our son. And as chance would have it, we were right, as Ramsey, our son is now a teacher in the public school system, has a wonderful wife and all around is a very decent human being. Our other son Kelly, a Marine with a Purple Heart, is also doing well.

“Tears & Tiers” is not easy reading, as one violation seems to follow another with a predictable consistency. Yet, at the same time, the humanity of my husband is on virtually every page of this book. And while he is best known as the only man to ever successfully escape from Attica Prison, for myself, and those who know him well, he is far more complicated than one might assume given his background. He has been a loving husband, as well as a loving father, and all this under circumstances that most people would run from, let alone live with on a daily basis.

Readers with an interest in what makes one person traverse one road, while others, moving along the same path, take quite another, will no doubt find one or more answers in this amazing work.

Gail Sullivan


More cars on park path

To The Editor:
I am a cyclist who rides the Hudson River greenway every day from my home in Washington Heights to work at Borough of Manhattan Community College on Chambers St. In addition to being a cyclist, I am a volunteer with Time’s Up!, a volunteer environmental advocacy group that promotes bicycling and other environmentally sustainable lifestyle choices.

The bicycle path is my route of choice at all hours not only because it is the fastest and most convenient way to travel from my home to work, but also because it is a car-free safe space to ride where I do not have to worry about cars. I say that because I am hearing impaired. This makes city riding even more challenging for me. In fact, on my way to work recently, I was hit by a car that passed me illegally on my right while riding on the street!

This is the second time someone has been killed on the bike path, and each time I hear about these deaths I think that it could have been me. When a car goes onto the path, it is very easy for a cyclist to be hit, because from a distance car lights are difficult to distinguish from bike lights, and the sound of the engine blends with the sound of the West Side Highway/West St. traffic. Most important, one should not expect any cars to be on the path.

Over the more than two years I have ridden the length of the path daily, I have been disturbed by the rising number of vehicles on the bike path. I have seen passenger cars, limousines, taxis and contractors’ vehicles, including those of the Police, Sanitation and Parks Departments. The metal posts that prevent cars from entering the bike path are often removed, left on the side of the path and never replaced. These posts appear to be designed to lock into their bases and probably have to be removed with a special tool or key. I suspect that drivers and contractors remove them and do not replace them. I think they use the bike path so that they do not have to stop at traffic lights and to avoid traffic.

One night in June, I was riding up the bike path after dinner with my partner, and on our way home we saw the aftermath of an accident on the bike path. The victim of this accident was Dr. Carl Henry Nacht, who was also riding home after dinner with his partner when he was hit by a Police Department tow truck. Although I did not know Dr. Nacht, I later participated in a memorial ride organized by Time’s Up! to dedicate a ghost bike to him near the scene of the accident.

The area around Chelsea Piers is a confusing mix of car, bus and taxi lanes that crisscross each other, but there are no signs directing drivers where to go. Sometimes there is a plastic cone at some of these intersections, but most times there is no barrier. Even if there is a cone, these can be easily driven over.  Several weeks ago I saw a taxi on the bike path near the north end of the Chelsea Piers. He actually asked me how to get onto the highway, saying that he was lost. Fortunately, he was driving slowly and paying attention to cyclists. Had he been going fast and/or had been drunk, it would have been a lethal mix.

I am deeply saddened by the death of Eric Ng and hope this will bring about a complete ban on car use on the Hudson River greenway.

Philipp Rassmann 


Squid was no fish story

To The Editor:
Re “Of Squid and squats; A novel look back at ’80s” (news article, Nov. 22):

About the review of the new novel. There actually was a man named “Squid” from the scene who made and played his own dulcimers.

Harry J. Bubbins


E-mail letters, not longer than 350 words in length, 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, clarity and libel.

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