Volume 77 / Number 47 - April 23 - 29, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the editor

Balazs hotel shouldn’t be

To The Editor:
Re “Disco devotee developer vows Balazs will not break him” (news article, April 16):

It is particularly disturbing to read about the damage being caused by the construction of Andre Balazs’s massive Standard Hotel when one remembers that it should never have been allowed to be built in the first place.

This site was included in the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s proposed Gansevoort Market Historic District, which so many fought to have adopted. While much of that proposed district was landmarked in 2003, the city stubbornly refused to include this and other sites west of Washington St. that G.V.S.H.P. fought to include. After a proposal for a 500-foot-tall tower at this location was twice defeated, G.V.S.H.P. urged the city to change zoning regulations to prohibit hotel development at sites like these in order to prevent neighborhoods like the Meatpacking District from being overwhelmed by hotel development. The city refused to act on this request, as well.

Without the 2003 designation of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, much of the roughly three-quarters of the Meatpacking District that was landmarked would likely by now have been demolished and replaced by more Hotel Gansevoorts and Standard Hotels. Nevertheless, it was a grave mistake that sites like these were excluded from such protections. Your article illustrates one of many negative and very unfortunate consequences of that decision.

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


Big Ben beats Big Apple

To The Editor:
It used to be a tad depressing to go to London. Now it is a tad depressing to come home to the Village. London has the best public transportation system in the world. The underground has velvet seats, no graffiti, clean stations and electronic announcements at each station telling how long before the next train. Every bus stop has electronic listings of how soon the next bus is due. Aboveground trains electronically list the next stop and the stops ahead.

London has had congestion pricing for years and it works. Traffic, which used to be gelid, moves quite briskly. London taxis are famous for being able to U-turn on a dime. Costs vary according to the hour, but minicabs are cheaper and easily available.

Most areas of London are like small villages, with the butcher, the baker, the fishmonger, the doctor, dentist, bookseller, hardware store, off-track betting, nearly everything you need, within walking distance — the way our Village used to be.

There are relatively few glass towers or high-rises: The mayor of London is said to dislike them. Many of those who have cars have reserved spaces to park in the street in front of their homes. London is a low-rise city, and many homes have back gardens. There are delightful row houses and terraces, each house painted a different pastel color.

There are many green parks and public squares. The daffodils are over, but the blossoms are just coming out. The trees are not festooned with plastic shopping bags. The public spaces are not debased. I love New York, and probably always will, but we may have lost something vital when we let the developers destroy the sense of neighborhood.

Diana Boernstein


Quinn’s contempt for critters

To The Editor:
Re “Speaker shortchanges animals” (letter, by Elizabeth Forel, April 16):

Kudos to Ms. Forel for calling it like it is regarding Christine Quinn’s lack of concern for New York City’s animals, ignoring bill after bill to their benefit. Those of us who care deeply and passionately about the welfare of all living beings will not be so easily dismissed, as Ms. Quinn will find out when the votes are counted. Call us what you will — extremists, radicals, card-carrying activists — we, all of us, get to vote, either for her or against her. The ball’s in your court, Ms. Quinn.

Judy Purcell


‘Animal envy’ rears its head

To The Editor:
Re “Speaker shortchanges animals” (letter, by Elizabeth Forel, April 16):

I agree with letter writer Forel’s assessment that politicians would do well to pay attention to the new, powerful constituency of those who care about animals. 

Personally, I think Speaker Quinn suffers from what I call “animal envy,” characteristic of people who are envious of the slightest attention animals receive. Why else would she not allow even meager protection for innocent animals to come to the floor for a vote? Why would she consistently refuse to even investigate an animal issue or a complaint? 

What exactly is she envious of, I wonder? Is it the fact that millions of animals are slowly burned alive in U.S. laboratories or skinned alive on fur farms? Or maybe she’d like to spend a day as a puppy in a puppy mill? Speaker Quinn needs to step down and be replaced with an enlightened, compassionate leader.

Susan Davis


Feeling congested

To The Editor:
The mayor’s congestion pricing plan lives — on Washington St. Only now, it’s been revised to actually create congestion.

I’m talking about the newly installed traffic lights on the corners of 11th and Charles Sts. Who asked for these lights? Who voted on them?

We used to have a nice, even flow of traffic in the area. Now we have two-block backups during red lights (that lead to lots of honking horns) and speeding cars racing down Washington St. to beat the light.

I guess the city is planning for future hotels, tour bus parking and loud restaurants.

Matt Apfel


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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