Volume 73, Number 25 | October 22 - 28, 2003


Letters to the editor


Fed up with the Trust’s ‘bull’

To The Editor:
Re “Red Bull-Flugtag flap leaves sour taste for some” (news article, Oct. 8):

As a longtime West Village taxpayer, as well as a frequent user and past community planner of the Hudson River Park, I am fed up with the bull that the Hudson River Park Trust has been shoveling us during the past few months. First it was discarding, without so much as a comment, Community Board 2’s long-considered opinion regarding the future of Pier 40. Last month, the ice rink decision arrived at our doorstep; and our Waterfront Committee was never even consulted.

Now comes this Red Bull situation. To me, the issue was not simply, as The Villager reported, that the event’s noise was disruptive to our community. In addition, a privately sponsored event closed our two beautiful new park piers to the public for more than 48 hours, including setup and breakdown time for the event planners.

Therefore, on a beautiful fall weekend, I, and thousands of other park users, were turned away by security guards all day and all evening Saturday and Sunday, because there was a “special event.”

The only thing special about this event was that the Trust officials decided, without consulting our community board, to close the most beautiful part of the $60 million segment of the park that our tax money only recently finished paying for, on behalf of a privately sponsored event.

Equally disturbing is the Trust spokesperson’s response to community protest: As cited in your article, this “probably” won’t happen again, and they “might notify C.B. 2. in the future.”

I would like to notify the Trust of something right now. Many of us living in this community do not appreciate your selling our park for an entire weekend to the highest-bidding sponsor. This park, and your salaries, were and are paid for with our taxes.

What happens next — what will it cost to buy our park and shut us, the taxpaying public, out of it without our consent? Maybe Donald Trump closes it down for a weekend because he’s willing to pay big bucks for his daughter’s wedding? How about my next birthday party? How much would that cost me to close the park to the public for an entire weekend?

I call upon our city councilmember, Chris Quinn, to approach the Trust and get us some assurances that our wonderful new park is not for sale to the highest-bidding sponsor.

And since the Park Trust appears so unconcerned with what our community and community board think, I support my neighbor’s recommendation that we use the power of our pockets and boycott Red Bull and any other sponsor that elects to close our community’s piers for an entire weekend.

Meanwhile, I would appreciate it if The Villager (which at least seems to get the Trust’s attention) could continue its helpful services to its readers by reporting back on answers to the following questions:

• Were commissions, bonuses or other considerations given to any Trust officials or consultants who arranged this event?

• Has the Trust set formal guidelines to how much it costs to buy our park for what period of time, and which portion of our park are they willing to close for which specific sums of money?

• Has the Trust hired or commissioned any employees or consultants to lease out our park for special events?

• In short, how public is our park going to be, and can we taxpayers trust the Park Trust, in the future, to place public access to our park ahead of private sponsors?

Jonathan Greenberg
Greenberg is a former public member of Community Board 2’s Waterfront Committee and was former policy director for Lower Manhattan Redevelopment for Councilmember Alan Gerson.


Middle-class parkers need pier

To The Editor:
Re “Trust should revive the Pier 40 process” (editorial, Oct. 15):

The Villager’s support for restarting the process for Pier 40 is a disgrace in my opinion.

It’s all about money, not what’s best for the community; in essence, creating a place tailor made for trust-fund babies, and not the honest, hard-working, middle-class people who need Pier 40 to park their cars.

Earl Carter


Howl! hurt disadvantaged kids

To The Editor:
Re “Howl! scares Boys’ Club off Avenue A” (news article, Oct. 8):

I have to wonder why a recently organized group of people that purportedly exists to promote the arts and preserve the more valuable aspects of the East Village would be against a fundraiser for the venerable institution of the Boys’ Club of New York, which has nurtured the children of this neighborhood for over 100 years.

The Boys’ Club of New York has been on the corner of 10th St. and Avenue A since the turn of the 20th century. It has existed mainly to improve and enhance the lives of children who have been among the economically less fortunate among us.

This particular clubhouse has encouraged and supported thousands and thousands of children, providing exposure to sports, arts and crafts, science and the great outdoors to many who have never before even been out of the neighborhood (yes, there are still kids like that). Scholarships have been given to promising children and many people have risen to success because support was and still is provided by the Boys’ Club.

Why would anyone want to stand in the way of a fundraiser for our kids? By “our kids” I mean the youngest people in our society…the kids who don’t have well-to-do, articulate, educated parents to pave the way for them. They live here too.

Pamela Pier


Horatio St. tragedy was worsened

To The Editor:
Re “West Village death” (Police Blotter, Oct. 15):

Many of the neighbors of Pat Mullen felt great sadness last week when she jumped from her apartment window. It was exacerbated not only by the delay in the arrival of an ambulance, which The Villager reported, but by the over six-hour wait for the medical examiner to permit removal of her body from the street. A very private and dignified person in life, in death she lay ill covered and unprotected from the view of grieving friends, gawking passersby and the children who attend the nursery school across the street.

While city budget limits may preclude the hiring of more medical examiners, isn’t it possible to provide the police with screens or even better coverings to shield people who die in the street from public view? If we have learned anything in the last few years, it should be that the dead deserve our respect.

Wendy Schwartz


Author wrote ‘The Stone Movers’

To The Editor:
Re “West Village death” (Police Blotter, Oct. 15):
The title of Patricia Mullen’s novel is “The Stone Movers.” And “close to five hours” is a truer description of the time elapsed before the body was removed.

Miriam Sarzin

Editor’s note: The Villager incorrectly reported the name of Mullen’s novel as “The Stone Mountain.”


In BAMRA-lot, BAMRA-lot!

To The Editor:
Perhaps you can assist my block association. In the area of Bleecker St., there is much despair among the “subjects.” We wish to assemble and pay homage, but where is our prince to lead us? And where are his royal advisors? Are they all in some distress unknown to the commoners? Also, where is the king? Has he deserted us for more interesting lands, perhaps Downtown?

Meanwhile, new merchants to our shores need greeting. Garbage needs collecting and unruly vines and scrubs mar the beauty of our streets. The defribillator, graced with a new battery, throbs to touch hearts and save lives. What will we mere mortals do if our candles are all snuffed out again and we are in the dark? And what if hostile invaders come to our land? Who will steward our emergency preparedness program? Isn’t it also election time? Or is that too democratic and something for those unruly colonies?

I yearn for parliamentary procedure and ache to exercise Robert’s Rules. I long to hear once again the gavel banging, the royal scepter in action. I want to know all is well in the kingdom. With envy, I look at neighboring hamlets. They frolic and play with feasting, fun and festivities. They seem to get so much done! I would move to these other lands, but wouldn’t that be high treason? I remain a faithful and loyal subject, yet a lady in waiting and a damsel in distress.

Carol Kroker
Kroker is a member, Bleecker Area Merchant Resident Association (BAMRA)


Crandell has all the write stuff

To The Editor:
Re “Boudin and a kid from Brooklyn” (Talking Point, Oct. 8):

Whatever you do, keep Keith Crandell writing for The Villager. I enjoy his columns so much. Once again, he writes poignantly on a crucial, important subject. Those of us with the knowledge of how people can change for the better behind prison walls, know of the unjust long sentences in many cases, and then of the unfair and arbitrary parole practices, know the attention to this subject is deserved, valuable and rare. Keith, once again, shows his humanity, his clarity of mind, his concern for social justice and his great ability to compose. If he wrote a novel, I am sure it would be a page turner that I wouldn’t be able to put down until the end.

Harriette Berman


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