West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 18 | October 3 - 9, 2007

Letters to the Editor

Marceau’s mime spoke to me

To The Editor:
I was saddened recently to learn of the death of French mime Marcel Marceau. Many years ago I had the pleasure of meeting him at one of his appearances in an Uptown theater. I was, at the time, acting with a small theater group at the Washington Square Methodist Church and I was absolutely fascinated by his performance.

After the show, I went back to the stage door and said I would like to meet him, and I was fortunate enough to be admitted. In his dressing room we sat on different sofas while I told him of my interest in acting and asked him questions about his career. After about five minutes, his manager popped in, apparently on schedule, to say Marceau had to leave for an appointment, but Marceau waved him off and we continued talking. The manager popped his head in twice more during our talk, both times waved off by Marceau. By the time I left about half an hour later, we were sharing the same sofa, in animated conversation.

Marceau made such an impression on me that 14 years ago, when I got my Russian blue kitten, who turned out to be a real clown, we named him Mr. Bip after Marceau’s stage character.
Doris Diether

Curse of domestic violence

To The Editor:
The homicide reported in The Villager’s Sept. 12 issue (“Boyfriend arrested in Soho woman’s stabbing murder”) and the recent murder of an N.Y.U. professor’s daughter by her former boyfriend are chilling reminders that domestic violence touches all communities, including ours. October is domestic violence awareness month and these recent murders clearly indicate that domestic violence is an issue that requires more public attention. Each week in New York State, four women are killed by their intimate partners, and New York City police respond to 600 incidents of domestic abuse every day in neighborhoods throughout the city. Unfortunately, few of these incidents are reported in the media, and when they are, the media often fails to accurately identify the incidents as domestic violence crimes.

While the discussion of celebrities living in the neighborhood where this crime was committed seemed misplaced, it should remind us that domestic violence can happen anywhere, even in a celebrity enclave in the West Village. Accurate media coverage of this pervasive social issue raises public awareness of its devastating effects on individuals, families and communities, as well as encourages community members to reach out for assistance. The centralized source for individuals in need of information and assistance in New York City is the 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-621-HOPE. 
Deborah J. Glick
Glick is assemblymember for the 66th District

Ridicules Trump restrictions

To The Editor:
Thank you to The Villager for the Oct. 2 editorial “Handcuffs restrict, but declaration won’t,” which states so clearly what is obvious to so many of us — the “restrictive declaration” between Trump and the city for his 45-story “condo-hotel” is a sham. It is unenforceable, inconsistent and just plain wrong.

Instead of correcting this problem, the city is adding insult to injury by now vowing to go to court and use taxpayer dollars to defend Trump’s project and the the city’s agreement with him and his developer partners. The city claimed it would amend the rules after Trump’s project is done to prevent further abuses, and indicated it was willing to rezone this area to prevent more similarly scaled buildings. In fact, there has been no substantial movement on either front, in spite of repeated requests by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and many other community groups. Meanwhile, more and more woefully out-of-scale developments are going up in Hudson Square without any action from the city.

By permitting Trump’s project to move forward without the appropriate public review and approval, the city is giving this developer special treatment, denying the public its say in this project, and preventing concerns about the size, height and impact of the development from being addressed. Worse, the city is, in effect, reinterpreting our zoning laws to allow any similar “condo-hotel” high-rises in neighborhoods with similar zoning where they were previously understood to be forbidden — including the Meatpacking District and parts of the West Village, Noho, Soho, Tribeca, Flatiron District and West Chelsea, among other areas.

Literally dozens of civic and business groups from across the city have come out against this project. And yet the city has stubbornly refused to change its position, leaving legal action as the only option for stopping this precedent-setting project — an action currently being pursued by our partners at the Soho Alliance.
 Andrew Berman
Berman is executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Police eyes in the sky

To The Editor:
I think the N.Y.P.D. should be commended for taking quick action in trying to quell the increase in robberies and muggings near the East Broadway F-train stop. Police vehicles were on 24-hour duty at Straus Square, providing the neighborhood enhanced security for days on end. It was also very impressive to see a sky watchtower installed at the corner of Essex St. and East Broadway. I always feel a deep sense of comfort when the N.Y.P.D. are in charge.
Rima Finzi-Strauss

Better red than…yuck!

To The Editor:
The 26-story N.Y.U. monster dorm rearing up on E. 12th St., the swollen glass tower squatting on Astor Pl., the horribly bland high-rises sprouting up and down the Bowery, the ugly glass-and-steel box at Mercer and Broadway, the lovely Moondance Diner being replaced by a high-rise on Sixth Ave., the dull Meier glass towers defacing the Hudson waterfront, nondescript banks descending in hordes to process Wall St.-size condo mortgages, friendly Washington Square Park under siege — all signs that the Village we knew and loved is fast disappearing before our eyes.

So let’s not be too quick to condemn the building in red tones recently unveiled on W. 11th St. with a charming Venetian, balconied exterior. We haven’t got too many interesting spots left.
 Vahe A. Tiryakian

Hey, S.L.A. — Deuce’s wild

To The Editor:
I read with some interest the letter you published from the State Liquor Authority chief executive officer, Joshua B. Toas (“S.L.A. exec calls out Villager,” Feb. 8, 2006). It is obvious to me that the worst violators of the A.B.C. laws are in Manhattan. A case in point is Bounce Deuce Sports Bar at 103 Second Ave.

Over the past year or so, I have written countless letters, filed online complaints and called the offices of the S.L.A., the Manhattan Borough president, the Mayor’s Office, Community Board 3 and the Ninth Precinct.

As a resident of a building opposite this offender, I have made repeated attempts with the establishment itself to get them under control, but to no avail.

C.B. 3 recommended that the S.L.A. deny the bar a liquor license, and the S.L.A. followed the board’s lead. So they did an end run around the S.L.A. by buying the old corporation and its liquor license that previously occupied these premises. However, they then changed their method of operation from a full-service barbeque restaurant to a sports bar. The Ninth Precinct has issued them several violations and recommended a revocation of the liquor license.

Perhaps it is time for S.L.A. Chief Executive Officer Toas to actually make a trip into Manhattan himself and get a real understanding of the problems that exist in this area.
Ellery H. Kurtz

Onward and upward

To The Editor:
As a Manhattan resident and a loyal reader of The Villager, I never cease to be astounded by the letters from some of your more tradition-minded readers. These poor souls appear to suffer from a fear of heights, not of their tumbling from some lofty site, but their learning of a projected building in their neighborhoods that will rise more than two or four stories.

They call upon such creations of their imaginations as the “character” or “ethos” of the particular area that is their concern.

This claim has been voiced about E. Third St. off the Bowery or Seventh Ave. at 11th and 12th Sts.

Have these people forgotten, or do they choose to forget, that the history of Manhattan has involved constant rebuilding, most of the time rebuilding upward? And do they ignore the fact that more and more people want to move into New York City — especially Manhattan — and that to meet the demand, there is no place for the city to go but up?

So, down with the earthbound edifices and up with soaring structures!
Stewart H. Benedict

Don’t close churches

To The Editor:
It really is a shameful truth that the various Roman Catholic dioceses have to sell property to settle sexual-abuse lawsuits. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has admitted that, in order to satisfy a $660 million debt, one of the properties going was the Sisters of Bethany Convent in Santa Barbara. The good nuns there understand their situation. There are no such admissions in the dictatorial Archdiocese of New York, chaired by the C.E.O. Edward Cardinal Egan. And I say “C.E.O.” because he does not act priestly. If a priest had done what this cardinal has done and said, the priest would have to answer to a superior. Not so with the cardinal. There is no oversight committee. And if there was, he would ignore it as he has ignored the trustees of the now-closed and ransacked Our Lady of Vilnius Church in Soho.

Here is what not to do to the people of the Holy Roman Catholic Church that I love:

Don’t ignore any parishioners of any church that is slated for closure. Talk to them in person before any actions are taken — like having six ladies arrested in Our Lady Queen of Angels in Harlem and, after their arrest, ignoring them again.

Don’t be a sneak and invite a really good priest, Reverend Dr. Eugene Sawicki, to a meeting and simultaneously seize, lock down his church, the property of the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of Lithuania.

Don’t ignore a signed agreement between the U.S.A. and Lithuania to preserve their heritage.

Don’t have the then-Chancellor Reverend Monsignor Thomas E. Gilleece apologize for hanging up on Our Lady of Vilnius Church secretary Joy McAleer in the middle of their conversation and then ignore her immediate, follow-up phone call to him.

Don’t make statements to the print media that the protests of the faithful from Our Lady Queen of Angels are not important and should not be covered.

This is the behavior of a shepherd of the Church. This is his legacy, his example. This is what others in his corporate headquarters on Madison Ave. are following

Good Pope John XXlll said he wanted to open the windows of the Church to let in some fresh air. We need this now in the Archdiocese of New York. But the best breeze felt will be that of Edward Cardinal Egan’s plane leaving New York when he retires. I can’t wait.
Joseph Pantuliano
Pantuliano is a former trustee, Our Lady of Vilnius Church

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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