West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 25 | November 21 - 27 2007


Radically bad meeting

To The Editor:
Re “Bowery Building O.K.’d” (Mixed Use, Nov. 14):

The characterization by David Reck, chairperson of Community Board 2’s Zoning Committee, of the opposition to a bulky, 15-story building for E. Fourth St. and Bowery as “‘radical types’ from outside C.B. 2” was as misleading as it was dishonest. Many opponents at the C.B. 2 Zoning meeting were C.B. 2 residents, such as Giorgio Bovenzi, Derek Kellet and several others who live on the same street as the site. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation spoke against the plan, and C.B. 2 board member Doris Diether, 78 — who used to chair this committee and has insights into the building as a member of the board’s Landmarks Committee — was not allowed to speak.

Among the C.B. 3 “radical types” Reck referred to were senior citizen, disabled residents of the JASA Green Residence, including Lynn Goldfarb, who is wheelchair-bound. Residing across the Bowery from the site, these residents’ quality of life is already under fire from 20 surrounding bars, and the noise, limos and additional bars of the soon-to-be-completed, 23-story, $1,000-a-night Cooper Square Hotel next door.

Like the E. Fifth St. Block Assocation residents, many of whom were also present, the JASA residents were never contacted regarding a building that will so dramatically affect their lives. Others present included members of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, or BAN, a new organization concerned with the negative impact of high-rise development on residents, small businesses and historic buildings on both sides of the Bowery.

Did any of these people not belong at such a meeting?

If trying to preserve the historical and architectural low-rise character of the neighborhood or to protect the residents’ quality of life constitutes “radical” behavior, then I guess there were a lot of radicals there that night. But actually, the most radical voices were the developers who are eliminating neighborhood parking and building a bulky, out-of-scale high-rise, all in the name of preserving the tiny Skidmore House, a building their new building will completely dwarf and obscure.

During the meeting, Reck interrupted, shouted down or completely prevented from speaking many of those trying to speak. This undemocratic, pit-bull approach to community relations was shocking and disgraceful. The idea that residents across the street from the site are somehow not part of the community and should be kept quiet is absurd and totally missing the spirit of why we have community boards. The idea that community boards should not work together in zones of common interest is a serious problem that the entire community board should discuss and resolve in a prompt manner.
David Mulkins,
Mulkins is a member, Bowery Alliance of Neighbors

Does anyone care anymore?

To The Editor:
A couple, Gerald and Dorothy Friedman, read a story in the newspaper about how Beth Israel Hospital was closing its diabetes program, due in part to the fact that insurance companies wouldn’t pay for preventative care. They felt bad, knowing what a devastating disease diabetes is, and they donated the money to open a new state-of-the-art, diabetes institute. It will offer free preventative supportive care to those who can’t afford such care. No one will be turned away.

I personally think this is a very important message to get out to the community, especially minorities and the poor. As part of my job for a public relations company, I sent out invitations to the press, inviting them to take a tour and come for the opening celebration and party.

I thought it would be something good to include for World Diabetes Day coverage on Nov.14, but only found two reporters who were interested, in all of New York City. I think that’s sad. I am writing this letter at 5 a.m., on my own time, because I can’t sleep, thinking about it.
 April Sandmeyer

We love kids, but…

To The Editor:
Re “City won’t play nice with daycare, which flies suit” (news article, Oct. 31):

You reported that the city has offered 180 Stanton St. as a potential substitute site for Children’s Liberation Day Care. However, 180 Stanton St. is the home of the Stanton Street Synagogue. Proudly, we have just completed a major renovation and have expanded our programming.  And we now offer — for the first time — a bimonthly Tot Shabbat Program for children ages 2 to 7.

We are flattered that the city thinks so highly of our newly renovated space that it is being considered for daycare. However, besides the fact that our shul is not owned by the city, for them to offer it to Liberation Daycare would not work because our jam-packed programming prevents the space from being used as a daycare center.
Peretz B. Berk
Berk is a trustee, Stanton Street Shul

Editor’s note: The Villager article erred in stating that one of the two relocation sites proposed by the Bloomberg administration for Children’s Liberation Day Care is at the same address as the Stanton Street Shul. The proposed relocation site is on Stanton St., but is between Norfolk and Suffolk Sts.

Katz’s article was delish

To The Editor:
“Katz’s Delicatessen says sale rumors are baloney” (news article, Nov. 7) with the accompanying photo of Katz’s was a healthy treat. 
Eating at Katz’s Delicatessen is a religious experience for those who enjoy great deli. Forget the fancy tablecloths, waiters and sparkling bottled water in Uptown restaurants. Go Downtown to enjoy authentic New York food eaten by generations of Big Apple residents. Your bubee would be proud. Take a day free from worrying about cholesterol and your weight to enjoy life!

When out-of-town clients come in, they always insist we go to Katz’s for a great lunch. There is no equivalent to Katz’s deli-style good grub. Don’t forget to stuff a dollar in the tip cup for the counterman who serves you. Your reward will be a great sample of what’s to come. In front of your eyes while you salivate in anticipation, he will build a sandwich requiring two hands to eat.

The restaurant is also a trip down memory lane, with photographs of celebrities from different eras. You can learn more about our past history at Katz’s than visiting any local museum. The list of all the famous customers who have visited Katz’s over the many decades is amazing. Look closely at the back of some chairs. Perhaps a former president or two or some other famous individual used the same seat. No winning politician in decades hasn’t made a campaign stop at Katz’s!

The portions and quality continue to be one of the best buys in New York today. Anyone still hungry after dining there must have a tapeworm! Let’s hope the continuing redevelopment of this neighborhood doesn’t also overrun Katz’s as well!
 Larry Penner

Another point of view

To The Editor:
Luther Harris writes that “Stanford White intended his arch to be unaligned with the fountain” (“Park plan is for the birds,” letter, Oct.10). Harris sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. Although the plan to “center” the fountain on the arch does not, that I recall, claim much, if anything, about White’s“intentions.” Other intentions seem quite clear, however.

Whatever the intent, of course, the concept of “centering” the fountain is redundant, if not counterproductive, as is easily seen by a walk in the park — especially with a camera. Stand directly behind the present

fountain, look toward the arch, and you’ll see that the plume is already quite centered.

Distracted by arguments about the merits or idiocy of “centering” the fountain, we risk losing sight of the ulterior motive: While the Parks Department is at it, the fountain is moved closer to the arch, and the plaza is leveled, leaving a larger, clear platform for ceremonial events.

Which brings me to the first hit I got Googling “Washington Square Park.” That turned out to be Wikipedia, and I quote: “As early as 1922, the Chancellor [of New York University] predicted that the university would take over the park for its own use but so far that hasn’t happened.”

No comment.
Judy Seigel

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