Volume 76, Number 50 | May 9 -15, 2007

Letters to the editor

N.Y.U. kills golden goose

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. president wants less conflict, more conversation” (news article, May 2):

John Sexton’s interview with The Villager staff is just one more example of New York University’s continuing policy of talking “around the issues.” I’ve never heard so much doublespeak in my life. The only statement by Sexton that rings true is “There’s a lot of history here that would cause people reasonablynot to trust” — regarding N.Y.U.’s past relations with the community.

Nothing seems to have really changed at N.Y.U. since we fought for the Poe and Judson Houses and against the Kimmel Center back in 2000. What N.Y.U. does not seem to realize in its ever-accelerating greed to expand and earn more money, is that not only will it continue to alienate the neighborhood that makes it such an attractive destination to students, but that by destroyingthat neighboorhood bit by bit, it will kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

N.Y.U.’s shortsighted view doesn’t take into account that once historic buildings — like the Poe and Judson Houses — are destroyed, they aregone forever, and the fabric of the streetscape becomes less and less the unique place that we call Greenwich Village.

Those who only think of the immediate — the quick buck, for instance — rather than the long-term effects of their actions, will eventually bring down thevery thing they are trying to build up. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that Sexton didn’t say, like Louis XV, “After me, the deluge!”

The only answer is landmarking, landmarking, landmarking! Support the South Village Historic District!

Marilyn Stults


Berman not a demagogue

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. president wants more conversation, less conflict” (news article, May 2):

As a Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation member — and a New York University degree holder — I find that Andrew Berman represents my views in an articulate and reasonable fashion. The continuing growth of G.V.S.H.P. to almost 1,500 members, I think shows that other local residents agree with me. When Andrew attempts to appeal to public opinion, he is representing a board of trustees with expertise in all aspects of neighborhood history, architecture, culture, city laws, codes and regulations.

Barbara Chacour


Cheerleading? No thanks

To The Editor:
Re “Politics of the park” (letter, by Bob O’Sullivan, April 25):

For more than two years, the Parks Department has been trying to bulldoze and radically redesign Washington Square Park under the guise of carrying out long-delayed and much-needed repairs.

Mr. O’Sullivan’s letter is just the latest chapter in an elaborate bait-and-switch campaign to redesign and transform our park, instead of providing New Yorkers with the repairs that we all support.

Mr. O’Sullivan writes that he is “only interested in moving the project forward as fast as possible” because “the park is in terrible physical condition.”

Surely, he does not believe that the fastest way to repair our park is by turning it into a construction zone for three years and radically redesigning it. Phase one of the plan was estimated to cost $6 million. Bids came in at higher than $11 million, meaning that the estimated $16 million cost for phases one and two will be much, much higher. Meanwhile, neither phase includes repairing the disgraceful restrooms: Parks has said there was no money available for it in the $16 million budget!

The simple fact is that the fastest, most cost efficient way to renovate our park is by using the existing funds for the park to simply repair and improve it, all the while keeping almost all of it open. This is consistent with what our two polls found that 98 percent of Villagers want for Washington Square Park: to retain its current usage and basic design.

But preservation of what makes our park unique is not mentioned in either Mr. O’Sullivan’s April 25 letter or his April 11 letter (“Stop the silly lawsuits”). For him to say that the reason he supports this plan is to get the park repaired as quickly as possible is nothing more than being a good cheerleader for Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

Cheerleading should not be mistaken for leadership. Mr. O’Sullivan again repeats his criticism of Councilmember Alan Gerson, stating that he is ineffective, because “Community lawsuits are a direct result of the failure of political leadership.”

Our lawsuits are not the result of the park’s councilmember failing to convert us into docile cheerleaders. They are the result of a deceptive, disingenuous and immensely unpopular campaign by New York’s Parks commissioner to transform one of the best-loved public gathering spaces in New York into a garden-style pedestrian thoroughfare.

Jonathan Greenberg
Greenberg is coordinator, Open Washington Square Park Coalition


Article was right on goal

To The Editor:
I would like to send my appreciation to The Villager for the article that Judith Stiles wrote in the April 18 issue, “Soccer summit kicks around player-development ideas.” It was a pleasure to read about the progressive ideas discussed on how to reach out to a broad sector of our youth, and also how to improve the teaching of the game. As a student of some of the soccer educators at the gathering organized by Sunil Gulati, and as a director of a small but growing youth soccer club on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I feel reinvigorated to continue to carry on our mission. Thank you and Judith both for your service to our community.

Orlando D. Gil
Gil is executive director, Loisaida Youth Soccer’s Big Apple Seeds program


Parking permits = traffic

To The Editor:
While the mayor’s sudden interest in greening the city by reducing traffic through congestion pricing is commendable (“Congestion pricing: A breath of fresh air,” editorial, April 25), I believe this is another example of the proverbial attempt to kill a fly with a cannon. Ultimately, congestion pricing amounts to a tax, which will be an onerous burden on those who can least afford it.

The mayor could easily solve traffic congestion tomorrow with zero cost to the general public. Just yank all the free parking permits that government employees use to park their commuter vehicles, and watch the traffic decline. The Schaller study, commissioned by Transportation Alternatives, clearly demonstrates that government workers commute by car at a much higher rate than employees of private firms.

Candidate Bloomberg, campaigning for his first term, had promised to move government offices out of Manhattan — a campaign pledge that henever fulfilled. That is indeed unfortunate, as our Lower Manhattan neighborhoods are saturated with commuter vehicles parked at fire hydrants,bus stops, curb cuts, crosswalks, on top of sidewalks and even in the bushes, all displaying placards stating the vehicle is “on official city business.”

Likewise, if the mayor was really concerned with solving Lower Manhattan’s traffic congestion and air pollution, he would come out in support of changing the one-way toll system on the Verrazano Bridge back to two-way tolls, as proposed by Congressmember Nadler. Currently, trucks can save as much as $70 by diverting through Manhattan and skirting the Verrazano toll on their way into New Jersey.

John Ost


Big Brother is listening

To The Editor:
As I sit on my terrace, being periodically deafened by one passing vehicleafter another, I came up with a potential solution for the blasting car music and roaring motorcycles. There are pole-mounted camera devices posted at several city intersections. If a vehicle is in the intersection and the light is red, a photo is taken and a fine mailed to the car’s registered owner.

Why don’t we mount several microphones in the intersection, as well? That way, we can triangulate the position of the noisy vehicle as it passes through the intersection, and then it can be photographed. This way, an image and recording of the perpetrator could be saved and even be available on the ’Net.

It would be a financial boost for the city, and hopefully entice the owners of noisy automobiles or motorcycles to behave, while not risking officers’ lives or taking them away from more pressing responsibilities.

Gregory Gomez



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