West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 14 | September 5 - 11, 2007

Letters to the editor

‘Faux palace’ is fun

To The Editor:
Re “Bono, ‘Chupi’ and mysteries of Schnabel’s ‘hidden palace’” (news article, Aug. 29):

Julian Schnabel’s subtly painted red-brick building (call it Pompeian, call it Venetian; it is definitely not “hot pink”) with its Juliet’s balcony and caravansary arches is the first whimsical, creative and distinctive addition to Village architecture in memory. Why snipe at an artist’s originality and humor? Schnabel’s faux palace puts the over-hyped Richard Meier glass towers to shame. It glows like a beacon.

It is already a welcomed landmark. Take a walk along the Hoboken waterfront and look across the river to our side. Schnabel’s work is the first thing you’ll notice. I have never met Mr. Schnabel, but I was incensed by your catty story. Andrew Berman is a hero of Village preservation, but in this case he is wrong, very wrong.

Susan Brownmiller

So who’s the sucker?

To The Editor:
Re “Bono, ‘Chupi’ and mysteries of Schnabel’s ‘hidden palace’” (news article, Aug. 29):

The word “chupar” means “to suck,” among other things, in Spanish. And a “chupeta” is a short jacket, according to the Velazquez Spanish/English Dictionary. However, when I took my young son to Madrid in 1966 to meet his relatives, they called our pacifier a chupeta and were happy to learn that I used one for him. On returning to the U.S., and comparing child-rearing techniques with a close friend who was married to a Spaniard, I discovered that she too used a chupeta but called it a chupi for short, as did her husband. (That may have been an Anglicization.) But if Mr. Schnabel, or anyone else wishes to accept this definition, the Palazzo Chupi can be thought of as the “Palace of Pacification,” in spite of the fact that it has not brought much peace or calm to W. 11th St.

Kiriki Metzo

Barnes and his noble idea

To The Editor:
In your Aug. 22 editorial, “Gansevoort traffic goes in the right direction,” you refer to “a traffic-light timing approach where all pedestrian crosswalks…would be used simultaneously for short bursts of time” as “barnstorming.” The correct terminology is Barnes Dance.

The Barnes Dance, named in honor of Henry A. Barnes, a former New York City Traffic commissioner who championed the technique, entails synchronizing traffic lights at an intersection so that they all turn red at the same time as one part of the light cycle, stopping traffic on all sides and allowing pedestrians to cross all at once, in all directions.

As you indicated, this technique is “especially effective at complex intersections…,” giving pedestrians a fighting chance to get across the street safely.
Shirley Secunda
Secunda is chairperson of Community Board 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee.

Cops rode all over Quinn

To The Editor:
In Jefferson Siegel’s interview with an anonymous New York Police Department officer (“Critical look at Critical Mass by cop who covers it,” news article, Aug. 22), even the officer said that he doesn’t “particularly agree with how...the parading without a permit laws...are set up.” He is referring to the disastrous rules that make it illegal for spontaneous crowds of 50 or more people to proceed through New York City.

Back in 2006, multiple courts ruled that prior city rules concerning assembly were unconstitutional. These regulations are the province of the CityCouncil. But rather than conduct open hearings and votes to correct the unconstitutional deficiencies the courts found, the leader of the City Council, Speaker Christine Quinn, abdicated her legislative responsibilities: She allowed the police to write the new rules, and then rubber-stamped them. These anti-assembly rules are bad for New York City and bad for civil liberties. Speaker Quinn needs to act immediately to repudiate them, along with the undemocratic process by which they were written; she needs to conduct open hearings about public assembly and how it can be best facilitated in the city.

As a queer person and a constituent of Speaker Quinn, I’m outraged that, instead of safeguarding our streets for public assembly, she betrayed thepolitical legacy that helped to give her — an out lesbian — the position of power she enjoys today. As a dedicated reader of The Villager, I’m disappointed that none of your reporters have ever connected the dots.The police could not have written these rules without Speaker Quinn’s permission. She is the elected official most responsible for this debacle.

Tim Doody

Lots of Qs on Q&A

To The Editor:
I was extremely disappointed by Jefferson Siegel’s lack of critical response in his interview with an anonymous N.Y.P.D. officer (“Critical look at Critical Mass by cop who covers it,” news article, Aug. 22).

It is the job of the media not to just repeat what the government official feeds them. Basic journalistic skills require some critical questioning of interview sources.

This is surprising given Mr. Siegel’s presence covering the Critical Mass rides. He should know better since he has witnessed numerous instances of aggressive behavior by the cops during the rides.

Mr. Siegel failed to question the fact that cops harass cyclists while stopped at red lights and obeying traffic laws.

Mr. Siegel fails to note that just because a group asks for a permit doesn’t mean that it will be granted. That’s part of the problem. Also, just because a ride has a permit doesn’t mean that police won’t harass or arrest people.

Jessica Rechtschaffer

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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