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Volume 73, Number 27 | November 05 - 11, 2003


Letters to the editor


Bottom Line is one of a kind

To The Editor:
Re “The Bottom Line tries to avoid the end of the line” (news article, Oct.
29):

Thirty years of history that support all that Greenwich Village is live at 15 W. Fourth St. at Mercer in The Bottom Line. As much of the character and history of the Village continues to be replaced by generic chain-like institutions, taking this significant room out, rather than working for a solution to support all that it offers to musicians, music lovers and the neighborhood, is shortsighted. I expect more of my fellows who aim to stand for education, arts, expression and fairness.

Yes, I saw Springsteen there. But I have also witnessed people who were unknown at the time grow from that stage into significant contributors. k.d. lang, Whitney Houston, Lyle Lovett, Sting (with the Police), the Talking Heads and Patti Smith are but a few names that got nurtured in their infancy by virtue of the fact that the Bottom Line stage was available to them. It houses all kinds of music and performance art.

I can sit comfortably and really experience the artist(s) on stage without having to stand on tiptoe to see over the head of the person in front of me as in other standing-room-only rooms in New York City. It is a one-of-kind, mom and pop, with no corporate warden overseeing its creative choices. It is honorable to fight for its preservation. Dishonorable not to.

Meg Griffin
A longtime New York City radio deejay, Griffin is a programmer with Sirius Satellite Radio.


Many cracks in ice-rink plan

To The Editor:
Re “Ice-skating rink in park seems a pretty cool idea” (editorial, Oct. 22):

The Villager’s uncritical support for the skating rink next to Pier 40 fails to address a number of flaws in the proposal that should be corrected and that Community Board 2’s Waterfront Committee reportedly addressed in an addendum to its 7-to-2 resolution of support:

· The rink reduces a 100-ft.-wide esplanade to 12 ft.

· It is surrounded by an 8-ft.-high chain-link fence.

· It includes a large enclosed structure at the north end housing refrigeration equipment and storage.

· It includes a two-lane road widening to four lanes at its terminus, blocking the pedestrian esplanade at the north.

· It is in no way integrated with the rest of the park.

· It displaces a green lawn shown on the master plan.

· It contains no landscaping.

· It compromises planning for Pier 40.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that activity enthusiasts cannot adequately interpret plans and feel they have to vote yes or no, rather than shape the plans themselves in the larger public interest of a unified park. This piecemeal approach results in chopping up the park into unrelated bits.

In the process, the larger picture of providing a peaceful green retreat along the Hudson River to enjoy its extraordinary vistas is compromised. The rink will only be used for ice-skating in the winter, and in the warmer months it is unneeded as rollerblading is now accommodated by the existing bike/pedestrian way that goes along the full length of the park. The opportunity for extending the exceptionally beautiful park in the West Village southward has been lost in the clamor to cater to special interests and moneymaking commercial activities.

Barry Benepe
Benepe is a member of the Jane St. Association and a vice president of the Fine Arts Federation of New York, as well as chairperson of its Planning Committee.


League is in government’s pocket

To The Editor:
  Re “League’s dubious record” (letter, by Susan Stetzer, Oct 29) and “Lopez gets and ‘F’ on environment” (news article, Oct. 22):

  As another highly active environmentalist, I would like to confirm environmentalist Susan Stetzer’s skepticism of the League of Conservation Voters’ ratings of city councilmembers. From my experience, L.C.V. is in the pocket of both the Pataki administration and the Bloomberg administration. For example, when the Bloomberg administration needed support from the “environmental community” for legislation to take 83 acres of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx for a boondoggle to build an unnecessary $1.5 billion chemical treatment plant to filter the water from the pristine Croton Reservoir system (which serves much of our Downtown community) who stepped up, in a press release published the day the hearings started? L.C.V.  

  The vast majority of community and environmental organizations are strongly opposed to this taking of parkland next to a largely minority community, and support protection of the watershed versus chemical filtration of Croton waters. But L.C.V. supported its friends in City Hall on this issue and became a key part of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s intensive public relations campaign regarding this area of Van Cortlandt Park, which, sadly, has succeeded so far. Fortunately, strong community opposition continues.

  L.C.V. has also made friends with Governor Pataki. I don’t see any reason why voters should consider L.C.V.’s ratings objective, or reflective of the environmental community.
 
D. Gerhardt Carlson


PATH unsafe without more exits

To The Editor:
Re “A change of course on PATH” (news article, October 22):

As an architect involved in station design, I strongly disagree with the decision of the Port Authority to drop its plans to upgrade the egress capacity of the Christopher St. station. It is a result of succumbing to pressure from misguidedly blind community opposition led by Deborah Glick.

The entrances are not really “extra” as the article leads readers to believe; rather, they are important components in emergency egress from one-access-point underground stations that have the potential to become nightmares during emergencies. So Deborah Glick and company, there really is no victory to gloat about here: all you have done is maintained a potentially dangerous status quo. The reopening of the former World Trade Center station has nothing to do with the ability of the Village stations to adequately handle emergency evacuations!

The station entrance could have been well integrated into a building with little visual impact upon the character of the community. Instead of bickering with the Port Authority, energy and resources could have been better spent on working with the agency in finding suitable sites for the Port Authority to buy for an entrance. An entrance inside a building instead of one on the sidewalk would have been to everyone’s benefit.

In today’s post-9/11 world I would rather have a little temporary discomfort during the construction period for greater piece of mind later. Stations with small egress/ingress capacity are not safe! I hope the need to evacuate this station never arises, but if it does and panic ensues I would rather not be there.

I urge all opponents to rethink their objections and work with the agency for the well-being of all Village residents and PATH customers.

Giuseppe Scalia, A.I.A., R.A.
District’s vicious cycle


To The Editor:
Re “Lower East Side BID looking to expand boundaries” (news article, Oct. 22):

What would possess landlords and property owners to join together in a “property owners district” that scams everyone else into doubling their taxation and passes itself off as “improving businesses?” Could it be human kindness? Not at all. The only reason they are doing this is to increase the value of their property and raise the rents of their storefronts. Then, the small businesses they purport to help will be further driven out of the L.E.S. because of unaffordable rents. Not to worry — they can sell the buildings to the next generation of desperate businesses or expand the BID yet again...and thus continue the diabolical cycle.

Marcia H. Lemmon


Bigger BID not negotiable

To The Editor: 
Re “Lower East Side BID looking to expand boundaries” (news article, Oct. 22):

As per the article in The Villager, from the Rivington St. Block Association, we can say that the BID would be a nightmare to our community. We have and will continue to advocate against the expansion of the Lower East Side BID’s proposed plan to expand into our community.

  Most of our administration (Rivington St. Block Association’s high-ranking members) are products of the Lower East Side and call this proposal: insane. Andrew Flamm has attempted to negotiate with our community-based association for several months but to no avail. We will not negotiate with the Lower East Side BID, Andrew Flamm. As the U.S. president said: “We will not negotiate the future of our constituents and community.”
  
Elvin Nuñez
Nuñez is president, Rivington St. Block Association


Thanks Ed, let’s nosh

To The Editor:
Re “Caring Community, 30 years old and going strong” (news article, by Ed Gold, Oct. 22):

Thank you dear Ed for your heartfelt tracing of the origins and originators of the Caring Community in the Village, which laid the groundwork for today’s senior centers Downtown.

As one of over 100 seniors at the 20 Washington Sq. N. Center, I would like to invite Ed to visit us for lunch soon so we can share our pride in the incredible range of activities, developed by our former (1989-2001) site director, Gladys Krassner, as one goes from opera to jazz and tai chi to watercolor workshops — with new offerings daily.

Fair warning, however, since Ed may have difficulty hearing us because recent faulty architectural ceiling renovations in our dining room have stressed us all out. It also appears that for every new amenity gained, such as a wonderful computer room on the first floor, we’ve lost something else, like our precious performance stage on the second floor.

Hopefully, with the assistance and expertise of Eleanor Korman, Caring Community’s new chairperson; the Department for the Aging; our landlord, The Sisters of Charity; and Ed’s Village wisdom, we may enlist advice from our new neighbors, The Center for Architecture, at LaGuardia Pl., on how to renovate the faulty renovations of the 20 Washington Sq. N. Caring Community Center. At the very least, Ed Gold will enjoy lunch by our super chef, Lionel, who has been here from the beginning of the Caring Community!

Ann Soboloff


Those damn Yankees

To The Editor:
There is a certain tradition in my family. I learned about it when I was very young, growing up in Flatbush in Brooklyn. We lived about 10 blocks from Ebbets Field. Although my father was an avid New York Giants fan, my brother and I loved the Dodgers. He more than me. He is four years older than I am and I remember the many times my parents found him crying over the Dodgers’ pennant or World Series losses.

Although we rooted for different teams, my brother and I and my father had one thing in common; our shared dislike for the Yankees. That was and is the tradition. It goes much deeper than the fact that the Yankees always beat the Dodgers and later the Mets, and all of the National League teams. My father taught us that the Yankees represented Republicans. In fact they were Republicans. They weren’t for the little guy. They were the capitalists. They were the Eisenhowers. We were liberals and we were proud of it. I was handing out flyers for Adlai Stevenson on Flatbush Ave. when I was 7.

When I was once told that I was a bleeding-heart liberal, I said, “What other kind is there?” I tried to teach my son Justin about underdogs and politics and the Yankees, but somehow he roots for the Yankees, at least after the Mets.

It’s not that I dislike individual Yankees. I of course like Torre and there’s Jeter and Williams and Posada and Pettite: He seems so normal for a left-handed pitcher.

Judyth Silverstein


Don’t become like Voice

To The Editor:
Re “Second Thoughts” (Oct. 29 Villager, New York Times headline: “Sharon Says Israel May Extend Barrier Deeper in West Bank”):

Was this, which appeared in the Oct. 29 issue, a paid advertisement or a not-so-subtle editorial comment?

Is The Villager becoming another Village Voice, rather than a local newspaper? Has The Villager become another leftwing/Palestinian propaganda sheet?

P.S.: Was the barbed wire part of the New York Times headline?

Donald Greer


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