Volume 78 / Number 5 - July 2 - July 8, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since
1933

Letters to the Editor

‘Who you callin’ “crusty”?’

To The Editor:
Re “The Slacktivist Manifesto” (Mixed Use, June 25):

Concerning Patrick Hedlund’s article about my upcoming protest at the Economakis building at 47 E. Third St., I just want to say that his reference to me and my “merry band of crusties” was completely inaccurate. Most of the people at the last protest were not crusties; in fact, there were no crusties. There were some punks — but they were mostly people from the neighborhood who are in all kinds of jobs. We hope that these people will support our campaign for a new Tompkins Square Park band shell, and expect that they and a diverse cross-section of the neighborhood will be at our upcoming protest at the Economakis building.

By calling us a “merry band of crusties,” it’s obvious Hedlund has no idea what crusties are. And if he had met the people or had even been at the protest, he would have seen that the majority of the people were not crusties — but take baths on a regular basis.

If Patrick Hedlund calls me or my friends crusties again, I will personally come by The Villager and kick his butt.
John Penley

 

Rolling over for N.Y.U.

To The Editor:
Re “2 months-long journey to vote on Playhouse ends at C.B. 2” (news article, June 25):

I am extremely disappointed with the endorsement of New York University’s plan to demolish the Provincetown Playhouse and Apartments by Community Board 2, Borough President Stringer and The Villager. This embrace of N.Y.U.’s plans is in stark contrast to the sentiments of the community and neighbors of the site, who turned out in force at two community board hearings to express strong opposition to these plans. At C.B. 2’s last public hearing there were no public speakers in favor of the N.Y.U. plan, except N.Y.U. and a Stringer representative, but dozens who spoke against it.

As a neighbor of the Provincetown Playhouse and Apartments and a longtime Villager, I see how N.Y.U. is gradually (and sometimes not so gradually) devouring our neighborhood. We don’t want a re-created facsimile, as N.Y.U. did around the corner with the Poe House.

N.Y.U. is planning to demolish a building that has been as much a part of the Village’s history as the Washington Square Arch or the Jefferson Market Library, keeping just four interior walls and a few bricks at one corner. N.Y.U.’s demolition may well endanger neighboring historic structures, one of which is 125 years old, the other 180; all with the stamp of approval of the community board and elected officials — what a shame.

We need to preserve our neighborhood’s distinctive and historic character, and push N.Y.U. to find alternatives outside of the Village.
Nick Scharlatt

Appalled by board’s vote

To The Editor:
Re “2 months-long journey to vote on Playhouse ends at C.B. 2” (news article, June 25):

As a longtime Villager, I’m appalled that the demolition of the Provincetown Playhouse and Apartments was approved on June 19 by Community Board 2, which should be saving the Village’s historic character, not giving it away to N.Y.U. under the guise of “fair compromise.” N.Y.U. claims to support the proposed South Village Historic District, to which these buildings belong, yet is unwilling to give the Landmarks Preservation Committee time to act on it. There’s a reason Villagers respond emotionally to this issue. Valuing history is why most of us are here in the first place. 
Betty Fussell

 

The Aussie plaint cometh

To The Editor:
I was recently made aware that an icon of the 20th century was about to be demolished to make way for further expansion of New York University. The Provincetown Playhouse may only be relatively small in stature, but it’s absolutely enormous in what it represents. Its history and associations are known throughout the world as a major part of American literary and artistic endeavor.

The fact that an institution such as N.Y.U., not some greedy developer, would even contemplate this abomination is, to say the least very, disturbing.

There are arguments put forward that the building is not in its original state and that there already have been major alterations to the original facade. This may be true and indeed tragic, but two wrongs don’t make a right. N.Y.U. should be made responsible as an institution of higher learning
to preserve and respect this precious piece of Americana.

I may be one solitary voice from down under, but there are many here and abroad who feel the same way.
John Pischedda

 

Where was the sadness?

To The Editor:
Re “2 months-long journey to vote on Playhouse ends at C.B. 2” (news article, June 25):

In reference to your article about the demolition of 133-139 MacDougal St., you left out some important information. The neighborhood was very much against this demolition, and N.Y.U. is notorious for not living up to its word. A newspaper that writes about our neighborhood should note how sad it is to lose another building to New York University. When will it stop?
Rachel Greene

Consider Carla

To The Editor:
Re “Special deliveries” (Police Blotter, June 18):

Your reporter refers to the person who returned a cell phone to a theft victim as “a transvestite named Carla.” I am sure the good Samaritan would rather have been referred to as “a woman named Carla.”
Tom Bundrick

Artists’ letters’ artifice

To The Editor:
Re “She’d shred Constitution” (letter, by Lawrence White, June 11) and “Anti-street artist bias” (letter, by Robert Lederman, June 11):

The letters from Lawrence White and Robert Lederman in reply to mine of June 4 (“The ‘right’ to clog streets?”) are a collection of insults rather than relevant facts. However, they may remind us to appreciate City Councilmember Alan Gerson, who has to deal with these folks as part of his job.

I must have made some points these two can’t rebut, because they cite something else entirely and wrap it in a bundle of smears. Mr. White, for instance, ignores my suggestion that they may be applying “constitutional rights” of the individual to a market; whether that’s a brilliant, dumb or even old-hat idea, it’s hardly a “rant,” “tirade” or “diatribe,” nor would it quite “shred the Constitution,” even should it prevail. His claims that I “hurl insults and obtuse criticisms” and “belch harmful rhetoric at creative people” — applied as generalities, without citation or example — approach the stuff of musical comedy.

But, he advises, “Not many people come from all over the world to see Ms. Seigel throw a fit.” (“Throwing a fit” seems here defined as disagreeing with, or even disproving, one or more of his claims.) Thus, we are dished up a heap of accusations without a single example, not even the teeniest quote of my belching, ranting or fit-throwing. If one surmises that there was none, except perhaps White’s own, he or she would be correct.

Meanwhile, as is no doubt intended, important issues are buried in the mud. So, for instance, when Mr. Lederman “explains” that most street artists “prefer to deal directly with the public, rather than through the filter of an art dealer,” he omits several significant points. Assuming they don’t count the cost of their time, artists make more money getting the use of public streets for free, even more, it’s been suggested, by “forgetting” to pay the city its sales tax. They also save commissions to a dealer, who does pay taxes, rent and utilities.

This kind of freewheeling vituperation by White and Lederman is harmful to the artists it purports to defend. It’s simply unprofessional, which can cost “street artists” much of the respect they desire.
Judy Seigel

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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