Volume 77 / Number 36 - Feb. 06 - 12, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

More Pier 40 — not paparazzi

To The Editor:
Re “Heath Ledger’s dad in Soho” (photo, Jan. 30):

It’s very disappointing to see The Villager stoop to tabloid journalism with your photo of Heath Ledger’s father visiting his son’s place of death. The entire week on Broome St. was a carnival of media cannibals and vultures picking Leger’s bones clean. Worst of all was last weekend, when the sniveling Fox reporter Geraldo Rivera posed in his mink-lined winter coat with smiling tourists dangling by his side in front of the makeshift shrine of flowers. Please stick to your in-depth, fantastic coverage of Downtown, such as your articles on Pier 40 and St. Vincent’s that ran in the same issue, and let Murdoch choke on the bones of someone’s grief.Carl Rosenstein
Rosenstein is director, the Puffin Room gallery

Carl Rosenstein
Rosenstein is director, the Puffin Room gallery

Cirque is perfect for Coney

To The Editor:
Re “More than 1,000 pack pier rally against Related plan” (news article, Jan. 30):

Cirque du Soleil is probably a great idea…for helping to revive Coney Island as a year-round entertainment destination. Maybe they could bring in the Nets arena as well? That would ease the burdens on two beleaguered New York City communities while assisting a third. Maybe they could be designed with stunning, fritted glass, brises soleils or similar a la Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park? After all, there’s a world-famous beach with an ocean and a great new subway terminal to take folks out there!

Bruce Rosen

Whose park? Our park!

To The Editor:
Re “More than 1,000 pack pier rally against Related plan” (news article, Jan. 30):

I am so tired of commercialism in our open and free parks. Icahn Stadium is a perfect example: Seeing Carl Icahn’s name as I drive up the F.D.R. disgusts me. Private schools buying the playing fields on Randall’s Island was also outrageous. The West Village has always been a low-key area, and is now a neighborhood where families are flocking to raise their children. We need someplace that can be sedate and family-oriented.

As it is, there are so few areas for children to play or go to school, for that matter. It would be a huge mistake to make Pier 40 a tourist attraction. Why is commercialism promoted in our parks? Where will it end? Parks were never meant to be self-sustaining; they should be for all of us, not just the ones who can afford them.
Gregory Gomez

Howling over Seravalli slight

To The Editor:
Re “Dogfight over Seravalli run ends with antis on top” (news article, Jan. 30):

I think it’s outrageous that Community Board 2 has vetoed a dog run in Seravalli Park. It is a large enough park that a portion could easily be given to dogs and their owners. A fenced-off section would ensure the safety of children and dogs.

The West Village is a dog-friendly neighborhood, and all we have is the Leroy St. dog run, a long walk for many West Villagers, especially in the winter when the wind is blowing off the river. The West Village already has many playgrounds for children, including one at Jane St. at the river, a baseball and soccer field at Hudson and Houston Sts. and a huge baseball and soccer field at Pier 40.

Dog owners are treated like second-class citizens. Dogs require exercise like anyone else. Village dogs are cooped up in apartments and need to be let free for an hour or two every day to socialize and exericise. A dog run that opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m. would not disturb sleeping neighbors.

Deborah Glick is to be commended for advocating for a dog run and I agree with her that it is shocking that the city’s Parks Department refused to meet with the dog owners’ group.

Ron Faber

Uninspired by endorsement

To The Editor:
Re “Barack Obama for president” (editorial, Jan. 30):

The Democratic election has been filled with as many fireworks as one could imagine. It is not surprising that The Villager has endorsed Barack Obama for the New York State primary. He is captivating, very easy to listen to and the perfect human being. We have all fallen into his vision of “hope and change,” but we fail to remember the last politician who placed everything on “hope and change,” George W. Bush.

The Villager seems really displeased with Bush, but somehow picked a candidate who shares similar campaign traits. Bush ran on the platform that he was the instrument for change in 2000. Obama seems to think he is also the instrument for change. Bush appealed to voters with “faith” and “hope” in 2004. Again, in Obama, we have another inspirational speaker who overuses “hope,” and has a whole section devoted to “faith” on his Web site.

My mother once commented on inspiration, and she pointed out that inspiration is for those with no motivation. Are Americans really not motivated enough to look more deeply into their candidates for president?

There seems to be a trend of candidates rising to the forefront by inspiring people. I personally would want a leader who knows how to solve America’s problems, not necessarily one who speaks well, captivates audiences and inspires Americans to lead the “hope and change” campaign. But maybe it’s just me.

Douglas Thomas
Thomas is a former ad salesperson for The Villager

Builders will eat Chinatown

To The Editor:
Mixed Use in The Villager’s Jan. 23 issue quotes Wellington Chen of the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation dismissing local Chinatown anxiety about developers: “Don’t you think [the developers] would have scooped it up?”

Just wait until the protective rezoning of the Lower East Side is implemented, ending out-of-scale development in the L.E.S.: Chinatown will then be the last vulnerable frontier for Downtown developers. That’s when it will be scooped up. The city has mapped, outlined and targeted Chinatown for development.

Mr. Chen also looks forward to development of affordable housing. But in a city where affordable housing programs are all 80 percent market rate, even so-called affordable housing developers are de facto 80 percent market-rate sponsors. Affordable housing programs are back doors for out-of-scale development, upzoning, gentrification and community displacement.

In developers’ hands, Chinatown’s future will be the Avalon/Whole Foods building on Bowery and Houston, a huge glass-and-steel street wall of 80 percent luxury housing with a single upscale shopping center chain store.

In a city run by a development monger, be careful what you wish for.

Rob Hollander
Hollander is a member, Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development

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.

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