Volume 77, Number 21 | October 24 - 30, 2007
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the editor

Shameful cartoon

To The Editor:
I don’t know about anyone else, but I found Ira Blutreich’s cartoon in the Oct. 17 issue particularly offensive and wrongheaded. In a month full of reports of a noose on an African American college professor’s door and swastikas in a high school named after a Jewish person, how does The Villager’s and Blutreich’s sloppy type of thinking encourage the kind of clear consideration needed to move society forward? Why are immigrants equated with camel riders in “funny” clothes? Are most of the immigrants in New York from the Middle East? Why are police the sole representation of New York society and only depicted as white?

Taken at its most benign intention, Blutreich’s cartoon strikes me as sloppy stereotyping. Taken at is most destructive intention, it represents outright racism. What can we expect next from The Villager and Blutreich: Jews with big lips and big noses with money falling out of their pockets? Black people with big eyes and corn rows doing a buck dance? Mexicans with sombreros and donkeys? American Indians in loincloths with bottles of whiskey?

And also, what’s the point of the cartoon? The plan to allow immigrants to have driver’s licenses will not encourage or allow the riding of animals in the streets, nor will it encourage immigrants to confront the police or wear traditional clothing. What exactly is the “nightmare” to be created by the licensing policy? There may be one, but what’s shown here is not it.

In fact, the “nightmare” is what Blutreich has done and what The Villager has allowed to poison its pages. A publication that seems to take seriously its commitment to civility, justice, equality and rational thinking has demonstrably compromised its principles with this reprehensible act. Shame on Ira Blutreich and shame on The Villager.

James Lerman

Leather Fest whipping

To The Editor:
Re “Media, critics get whipped into frenzy by Leather Fest” (news article, Oct. 10):

I am profoundly disturbed that Community Board 2 approved a permit for a leather fetish festival on a public street. There are many children who live in the neighborhood and had to encounter a private sexual proclivity made public. Unlike a club, where people can choose to attend or not, these kids were forced to experience the visuals. My son, who is 9, had to see a man wearing chaps with sexual epithets written across his leather-clad penis. It is confusing for children who are negotiating what’s appropriate or not on a public street. Worse yet, it made him feel scared and unsafe. In fact, adult sexual practices are often frightening to children.

As our most vulnerable residents, children have a right to be protected. Perhaps there should be a legal red-light district in Manhattan, where exhibitionists and those that like to watch them can enjoy themselves without damaging children. Community standards are meant to protect kids and their parents who pay taxes in our residential neighborhood. Perhaps C.B. 2 could consider festivals to benefit families, instead of outside groups who do so at our expense.
Susan Weinstein  
To The Editor: 
Again, Community Board 2 failed the community when it brought in an S&M fair to Weehauken St. on October 7.  The petitioners for this fair (Leather Invasion) were exempted by C.B. 2 from guidelines for street fairs that residents and block associations must strictly follows and were granted a permit without the knowledge or input of the community.  This is certainly questionable!

In addition to the C.B. 2 violation of the street fair process, there are many troubling issues about this fair:

Why was an S&M fair permitted on a block on which families and young children live? Why was there a $5 fee to access a public street? Why was taking pictures prohibited on a public street? Why were so many police, security personnel and C.B. 2 members needed? Why didn’t Leather Invasion or C.B. 2 inform the public that there was another cause (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) that would benefit from this fair along with the LGBT Center?

This is another example of how C.B. 2 fails to represent the interests of the residents and merchants of the far West Village.  It’s still “anything goes” with C.B. 2, regardless of how it affects the community.
Barbara Baluta

Singing praises

To The Editor:
Re “Old folks hold folk sing-in against park renovation” (news article by Albert Amateau, Oct. 10):

Thank you for your wonderful article, Mr. Amateau. On behalf of the neighborhood seniors, the Emergency Coalition Organization to save Washington Square Park and myself, we want to let you know how truly grateful we are for your sensitive and respectful coverage of our event. We look forward to additional coverage of this caliber for our future events.

Elizabeth Adam

Clean all of Chinatown

To The Editor:
While it is gratifying to see that great efforts have gone into regularly cleaning the tourist area of Chinatown, I am saddened that the really genuine part of Chinatown remains sorely neglected. The large, amazing Chinatown east of the Bowery is plagued by dirty streets and sometimes-horrific smells. This area really needs steady, consistent cleaning.

Is this something that could be considered by the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation as a future project deserving of funding?

Rima Finzi-Strauss

Bigger than a bit

To The Editor:
Re “St. Vincent’s and Rudin are starting the right way” (editorial, Oct. 17):

I must disagree with an important characterization made in last week’s editorial.

The proposed Rudin apartment block for the east side of Seventh Ave. would be more than just a “bit bigger” than nearby high-rises.  In fact, the two nearby apartment buildings to which the proposed new building was compared in the Rudin presentation, 175 West 13th and 175 West 12th Sts., which are just north of the site on Seventh Ave., are in fact quite considerably smaller.  Rudin’s own presentations showed their proposed building rising to 265 feet, while these other two apartment buildings only go up about 170 to 200 feet, according to Department of Buildings records.  However, these buildings are only about 88 and 160 feet wide respectively, whereas the Rudin building would be over 200 feet wide, covering the entire block front. Further, the Rudin building would contain what appears to be around a half-million square feet of space, while these two pre-existing apartment buildings appear to contain about half to a quarter of the space of the proposed new building.

 More important than these particulars, however, is the overall effect of the proposal.  By creating two very, very large buildings at a highly visible location in the West Village, the St. Vincent’s/Rudin proposal would have a dramatic impact upon, the look and feel of this neighborhood to say the least. If approved, it would set a dramatic new precedent for allowing demolition and new development within protected historic districts. 

 Like most Villagers, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation wants St. Vincent’s to be able to modernize to address 21st-century health-care needs.  But this enormous project, which actually contains more luxury housing than medical facilities, must be done right.

Andrew Berman,
Executive Director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

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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