Volume 77 / Number 51 - May 21 - 27, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Letters to the Editor

Off-B’way to N.Y.U.: Right on!

To The Editor:
Re “Provincetown project’s now about preservation” (editorial, May 14):

Thank you for your astute editorial on New York University’s plans for the Provincetown Playhouse. The League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers, greatly concerned with preserving the rich history and protecting the legacy of Off-Broadway, endorses the current N.Y.U. proposal. It is clear to the league that the university is going to great lengths to ensure that the Provincetown Playhouse continues to be a theater.

The university’s investment in upgrading the operational capabilities at the Provincetown Playhouse is the best legacy to bestow upon the Provincetown Players. As president of the league, I am pleased that the Provincetown Playhouse will continue to serve as a creative space for training artists, performers and theatrical scholars, and hope N.Y.U. will commit to that tradition and use for decades to come.

Finally, many in the community have expressed interest in protecting Off-Broadway theaters. The best way to ensure their survival is to regularly attend Off-Broadway shows.
George Forbes
Forbes is president, League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers

Shame on The Villager

To The Editor:
Re “Provincetown project’s now about preservation” (editorial, May 14):

As a lifelong Villager I was appalled to read your editorial on Provincetown Playhouse. In the late 1800s, my grandfather wrote poetry and essays in Washington Square Park that related to the culture and heritage of beloved landmarks. I would hope that my children and grandchildren could enrich their lives with treasured legacies such as the Provincetown Playhouse — so let’s reuse and not rebuild.

Connie Masullo

Simply outrageous

To The Editor:
The headline “Meat Market plaza plan is not ‘breast’ idea, some say,” accompanying the article by Katie DeWitt in your May 14 issue is sexist. Are you competing with the New York Post? Skip the nonsense. I rely on The Villager for my local news reporting. I hope this isn’t a sign of a “new trend” in writing headlines. We have enough media competing in that category.

Barbara Glickstein

Rolls with headline

To The Editor:
Re “Meat Market plaza plan is not ‘breast’ idea, some say” (news article, May 14):

Whoever comes up with your headlines deserves a Pulitzer. The Gansevoort Plaza one really takes the cake.

Wiley Norvell

Billy preaches on pavilion

To The Editor:
In 1783, George Washington and his exhausted Continental Army trudged into New York City. At the point where Union Square is now located, they were received by cheering American citizens. They were feeling citizenship for real — the last British had sailed from the East River just the day before.

Grand as he appeared, for eight years Washington had conducted the defense of his new nation by appearing front and center with the flag, then retreating at midnight, marching off in unexpected directions into the wilderness. He crafted an anti-discipline, a uniquely American way to deal with overwhelming power. 

And over the years in Union Square — all those rallies and marches and speeches. We are still receiving the surviving heroes. The crazy Americans are home from another fight for freedom: in Mississippi or in the AIDS hospice. Union Square is a place that has within its soil every social-justice movement, from the 40-hour week to a peaceful response to 9/11. Union Square is the midnight strategy that is triumphant in the daylight. Oh, the police can criminalize parades and bullhorns and dancing and bicycling. They can make the First Amendment illegal — for a minute or an hour maybe.

Now the mayor’s rich buddies want to make the Union Square pavilion, where Paul Robeson sang and Emma Goldman raged — they want to make it a society cafe. But the pavilion has those shouts of freedom still vibrating in its walls. It would be very difficult to sip a $10 Chardonnay there. A citizen might exercise the right of free speech in the middle of your pumpkin ravioli. You can scream, “This is private property!” at such a citizen. But the pavilion in Union Square will never be privatized.

Citizenship remains in those walls, in that air. And we are walking around with the funky soil of citizenship in each of us — all those impulses and dreams. The freedom fighters keep showing up. We will break into that construction site and recite the First Amendment! Watch out! We might ignore the rich! Perform weddings in the pavilion! Shout what we believe! Where? Union Square.

Reverend Billy
A performance-artist preacher, Reverend Billy’s real name is Bill Talen

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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