West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 19 | October 10 - 16, 2007

Letters to the editor

Misdiagnosed Vincent’s millions

To The Editor: 
I am writing to correct inaccurate information contained in last week’s article “St. Vincent’s calls on Koch to make calls for expansion.” In that article, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, made the inaccurate statement that St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan had received $17 million to offset losses in services caused by the Berger Commission-mandated closure of St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital, the former St. Clare’s Hospital, located in Hell’s Kitchen.

The fact is that St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital received an award from the New York State Department of Health for $17 million to exclusively cover the closing costs for the hospital, including retiring outstanding bond debt on the W. 51st St. facility and covering such things as severance costs for employees who lost their jobs at St. Vincent’s Midtown. 

Moreover, while St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital is affiliated with St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, it is a separate corporation with its own board, and the finances of the two corporations do not mix. The reality is that St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan will not receive any of the funding in this award, and it certainly will not help in any way for the building of the new hospital. 

We are committed to our continued dialogue with the community to ensure that they are aware of the facts and have an opportunity to provide their input on this important healthcare project.  

Henry Amoroso
Amoroso is president and C.E.O., St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers

Chupi riddle is resolved

To The Editor:
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to ask Julian Schnabel the definition of “Chupi.” He said it is a term of endearment, something he calls his wife and sometimes his kids. He didn’t know that it was causing such a fuss with West Villagers. I gave him my copy of The Villager, which pictured his palazzo. He seemed happy to have it.

I personally walked over to his new digs on W. 11th St. to see for myself if this building was the monster it is being made out to be in The Villager. I must disagree with those — including Andrew Berman, whom I respect — who think it ugly. Ugly is the building to the right of the palazzo — another glass-and-steel monstrosity. Even uglier is the skyscraper that Trump is building at Spring and Varick Sts. For me, Palazzo Chupi is a fantasia in pink and, as it ages, will most likely become a West Village landmark for decades to come.

Dee Vitale Henle

Feeling Carlucci’s absence

To The Editor:
Re “Carlucci Bencivenga, 38, an artist and connector” (obituary, Sept. 19):

Thank you very much for the photo and obituary of Carlucci Bencivenga. His death was a loss for the Lower East Side and indeed our entire extended community.

I did not know Carlucci very well. However, he would occasionally stop by where I work to chat and I would often look for him when I was walking around the neighborhood. Recently, I kept wondering why I had not seen him. I am terribly saddened to hear of his death and send my sincere sympathy to hisentire family.

Thanks again to The Villager for your dedicated service to the neighborhood.

Patricia Gray

History of museum idea

To The Editor:
 Re “Local parents group means business on Pier 40’s future” (news article, Oct. 3):

In your informative article on the new Pier 40 Partnership in last week’s issue of The Villager, Rich Caccapollo is quoted as mentioning a “maritime museum” as a possible feature of the Partnership’s vision for the future Pier 40. Where did he ever get such an idea?

At the September meeting of the Waterfront Committee of Community Board 2, the Partnership, represented by Fred Wilson and Bruce Goldfarb, made a presentation. Representing the Greenwich Village Community Task Force, I decided this was a good time to talk about an idea I had been thinking about since the P.S. 41 event in the spring. So I suggested to the committee members and the Partnership representatives that a maritime museum on the pier would be invaluable. After all, the heritage of the Hudson riverfront, especially the Far West Village sector, will have completely disappeared in a short time, except for the one-block-long Weehawken Historic District and the three protected waterfront hotels.

This would not be another South St. Seaport, but a much more modest affair, consisting primarily of a gallery of historic photographs of the piers and the waterfront enterprises associated with them.

In addition to the support of Katy Bordonaro and Zack Winestine, co-chairpersons of the Greenwich Village Community Task Force, and Carol Feinman, of the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront, I have received an endorsement in a personal message from Andrew Berman, of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

So the word is out there. I’m glad it reached Rich Caccappolo.
Albert S. Bennett
Bennett is landmarks chairperson, Greenwich Village Community Task Force 

Pier 40: The inside story

To The Editor:
Re “Local parents group means business on Pier 40’s future” (news article, Oct. 3):

There is a very important point that a lot of the folks whose kids play soccer and football, etc. are not aware of. Pier 40’s pilings are certainly one problem. However, there are other major problems.

The main — supplying all the water from the street to the south side of the pier — is completely rusted out. Besides having no potable water and very rusty toilets, we have buckets in our ceiling that have to be emptied every two weeks. The pipe is wrapped in plastic and, according to the workers, the pipe looks like “Swiss cheese”! Replacing a main to the street water supply is a long and likely costly repair.

All over our building, there are spalling points — which allows water to leak in anytime it rains. There are cracks from the ramp leading to the car park on the top of the building. We have had concrete dropping from the ceilings — into nets, which I myself had to install.

These are problems that those parents and groups who frequent the fields are probably not aware of, and since none of us has been privy to the “engineer’s report,” we do not know all the problems that are realistically facing us.

Peggy Lewis

Children before Chilean bass

To The Editor:
Re “Fliers and the fuzz” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Sept. 26):

A postscript to the Harvest in the Square item. It was a financial success in part because the promotional ads emphasized the fact that there were so many great restaurants around Union Square — 18 right on the square and more than 100 more within a couple of blocks.

Naturally, people were eager to sample tastings from all these great establishments — and all the more reason why the community does not need another restaurant in the children’s pavilion. Let’s not lose this opportunity to restore the Union Square pavilion to a unique, sheltered, recreation area, adjacent to the new enlarged playground.

Let me add that while I may have joked around with people I knew, I never attempted to dissuade anyone from attending the event. All of us from the Union Square Community Coalition were there to pass out fliers about our ideas for the pavilion. Please join us in making this park a great place for children.

P.S.: I never watched “Starsky and Hutch.”

Carol Greitzer
Greitzer was a New York City councilmember from 1969-’91 

Had all the bases covered

To The Editor:
Thank you for setting the record straight regarding the recent judicial convention (“Berman obsession,” Scoopy’s Notebook, Oct. 3).

However, one fine but crucial point that was ommitted is that all judicial delegates, like myself, are actually elected with alternates to deal with exactly the situation that the anonymous critic quoted in the piece complains about! Not only had I made sure that my elected alternate with whom I ran would be at theconvention and prepared to vote for the same candidate as I, but I had actually cleared my “standby” arrangement with the leaders of my slate and the very judicial candidate I was supporting, who, as was reported, ended up winning his spot without a vote being needed.

I may not be able to be in two places at once, but I do know how to do my best to live up to two commitments when they occur on the same night.

Andrew Berman

Park plan is for the birds

To The Editor:
Re “Hurrah for Horowitz” (letter, by Laura Lisa Smith, Sept. 19):

It may be difficult for Parks Department parrot Laura Lisa Smith and other Parks advocates to stomach, but Stanford White intended his arch to be unaligned with the fountain. The installation of the arch in Washington Square was, for the city, the largest park embellishment project of its time.

Documentation proves that White closely collaborated with Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons — who were, respectively, the city’s landscape architect and superintendent of Parks — in both the park treatment and the siting of the arch, including the integration of the pre-existing fountain.

Even with Smith’s vaunted design skill, she can’t see how ridiculous it would have been for White to site the massive arch without regard for the major fountain element and park circulation patterns. Smith’s claim that the “placement of the arch was unrelated to the placement of the fountain” parrots a Parks fabrication.

Smith also repeats Gill Horowitz’s list of Parks supporters — several old-guard/classist and real estate groups, along with some misinformed co-ops. She conveniently omits the overwhelming opposition to Parks’ fountain plan —the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the New York Society of Architects, the Architectural League of New York and the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, plus virtually all others in the New York art world. The neighborhood organizations comprising the greater local community — the Greenwich Village Block Associations and Community Board 2 — oppose Parks, as well.

Would Laura Lisa Smith like a cracker?

Luther S. Harris

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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