Volume 77 / Number 32 Jan. 9 - 15, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

See our sponsor's ad: God's Love We Deliver


Renovation is long overdue

To The Editor:
Re “City’s top dog done wrong” (letter, by Patricia McKee, Dec. 27):

It is absolutely ridiculous for Patricia McKee to say that Mayor Bloomberg “destroyed Washington Square Park.” The park has been in a state of decay and disrepair for many, many years. Drug dealers and panhandlers flourish, while tourists and families with children are appalled. All the beauty that once existed is long gone — the park was a filthy mess!

Yes, the renovation will take a long time, but so did similar improvements at Tompkins Square Park and Madison Square Park, both now beautiful city spaces.

As a person who spends 10 to 20 hours a week in Washington Square Park, I can’t wait for the completion of the renovations, and I am not alone in this. Everyone I know believes the renovation was long overdue.

When the renovations are completed, will all the naysayers admit the changes were for the best? We’ll see.

Roberta Bayley

Not our umbrella-ella-eh-eh

To The Editor:
Re “Alternative hospital plan cuts height and a building” (news article, Dec. 27): This article incorrectly credits the Greenwich Village Community Task Force as the umbrella organization for the groups that produced the draft community alternative plan for the St. Vincent’s redevelopment project. Although we are flattered by The Villager’s attention, we are only one of the many community groups, block associations, parents groups and building boards opposed to St. Vincent’s plans in their current form.

Zack Winestine and Katy Bordonaro
Winestine and Bordonaro are co-chairpersons, Greenwich Village Community Task Force

Maybe try teaming up

To The Editor:
Re “Worn down by rent woes, shoe store is getting boot” (news article, Dec. 27):

It was sad to read about the inevitable fate of Angelo and Misha obviously becoming victims of the local economy. An ironic twist of fate when you think that it was them, and businesses like theirs, that built the foundation of the fabric of neighborhoods all over the city that relied on their services for many generations. In addition, given both of their ages and lifelong tradesman experience, we should be looking for creative ways to keep and honor them as vital resources.

Putting aside all the inevitable reasons for the rent hikes, is it possible that these two might want to join forces and share a shop in the immediate area and split the rent? I recall my own business experiences when I realized it was better to share a space than struggle independently.

Maybe with a possible consolidation, they might even wind up paying less than they are now. In any case, whatever their fate might be, I wish them both well in their continued endeavors.

Joe Preston

Galleries were in the zone

To The Editor:
Re “Chelsea still the center of the art world, but L.E.S. beckons” (arts article, Dec. 27):

Thank you for this extensive article documenting the rise of the Chelsea gallery district. I would agree with the authors’ assertion that West Chelsea’s transformation into the center of the art world was made possible by the area’s manufacturing zoning. This zoning prohibited luxury residential development, preventing the kind of competition that would have inevitably forced out the galleries. As the article notes, these are the same restrictions that helped make Soho the worldwide center for art in the 1970s and ’80s, until the city began to ignore its own zoning regulations for Soho, which restricted residences to those for “artists in residence” only.

Worth noting, however, is that in 2007 the city decided to allow, for the first time ever, owner-occupied condo-hotels in manufacturing zones, with its approval of the Trump Soho “condo-hotel,” now under construction. With this decision, the city is again undermining its own rules, in essence, allowing luxury condos into any light-manufacturing zone, threatening a key element in the success of the Chelsea art gallery district. This development is why several Chelsea art galleries joined the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the Soho Alliance and dozens of community and business groups from across the city in opposing the city’s approval of the Trump project, an approval now being challenged in court.

History may well repeat itself in Chelsea if the city is allowed to ignore its own rules regulating luxury condo development, and strangle an arts district in the process.

Andrew Berman
Berman is executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 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.

Reader Services


Email our editor

Electrical Contracting

"A Passion For Excellence"

The Villager is published by Community Media LLC. 145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 229-1890 | Fax: (212) 229-2790 | Advertising: 646-452-2465 | © 2007 Community Media, LLC

Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this newspaper, in whole or in part, can be reproduced or redistributed.