Volume 78 / Number 7 - July 16 - 22, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Letters to the Editor

Save the Met!

To The Editor:
The article “Retail report and film focus on fighting formula stores” in your July 2 issue was interesting and informative, but it missed some important public comments. 

The East Village Community Coalition and Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation sponsored the presentation of Pratt’s study to retain local business by restricting formula business, plus a documentary, “Twilight Before Dawn,” that chronicled the loss of small businesses throughout the city.

Pratt suggested zoning changes to ban chains, to tax big-box stores and to give tax credits to landlords who support commercial rent control. The documentary was “nostalgic” for all the closed local businesses, but highlighted the value of community support because it was able to save one business for eight years.

Following the presentation, Dave McWater, former C.B. 3 chairperson and East Village Chamber of Commerce president, gave credit to former Councilmember Margarita Lopez for being the most recent champion of commercial rent control. He lamented the reluctance of local small businesses to join in this effort. Along with other longtime residents at the meeting, I asked the audience to heed the documentary’s message and please join fellow residents in campaign to save the Met Foodmarket.

This grocery store has been in the community for more than 20 years and is located in a New York University building at 107 Second Ave. We support the dedicated owners, Mike Schumacher and his brother, who need an affordable, long-term lease to continue servicing this community. Community members had distributed information on this issue at the meeting’s start. I’m sorry that your reporter did not relate the theories of commercial preservation to the reality of N.Y.U.’s heavy-handedness throughout the community in which we were meeting.

Maybe it would help if E.V.C.C. and G.V.S.H.P. lent their well-respected support to the Met Food campaign, as well. Local politicians Councilmember Rosie Mendez and State Senator Tom Duane are negotiating a lease renewal with the university, but pressure on N.Y.U. President Sexton “to do the right thing” is needed.

The irony of the article was that the options for the community to protect stores were to cut taxes for co-operating landlords, extend advantageous zoning, prohibit big-box stores with special permits and so on. However, none of this works with N.Y.U. because it is already nonprofit and tax-exempt and has gotten every zoning and development perk known to man. The assumption is that such an institution will voluntarily act in a way that respects community needs and preserves community services.

Save the Met.
Martha Danziger

Food for thought

To The Editor:
How refreshing to find a community board (Community Board 2) and all the local elected officials backing the neighborhood against New York University’s plans to devour more and more of the West Village (“How much of N.Y.U. superblock to landmark is issue,” news article, July 2).

Would that Community Board 3, which covers the East Village, and our elected officials use their combined power to convince N.Y.U. to renew the lease of Met Foodmarket on lower Second Ave.

It has been almost three months of “go nowhere negotiations” between N.Y.U. and Met Food, led by Councilmember Mendez, with little support from C.B. 3 and no support from most other local elected officials.

What does it take to garner the support of all of our elected officials in protecting the neighborhood’s only supermarket below 14th St. on Second Ave.? Maybe we should all move to the West Village?

And what do John Sexton and Lynne Brown have against local supermarkets, anyway? Morton Williams in the West Village is excluded from the N.Y.U. superblock landmarking, while Met Food in the East Village is put on the chopping block. Is it that they can afford FreshDirect? Or perhaps they don’t cook at all.
Susan Leelike

Mass-terful editorial

To The Editor:
Your recent editorial “Mass-eviction ruling is sparking mass fear” (July 9) is spot on. The fear is justified, and there has been anecdotal evidence suggesting that landlords are taking a cue from the ruling and increasing mass

I’d like to point out, however, that 47 E. Third St. is 11,600 square feet, not 9,000, and that there are nine remaining tenants, not six. Even the vaunted Court of Appeals, in its June 3 ruling, made a major factual error. The first paragraph states that six of the 15 apartments in the building are rent-stabilized. All 15 are in fact rent-stabilized, and are registered as such with the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal.
David Pultz
Pultz is a member, 47 E. Third St. Tenants Association

It’s nuts to export Nusraty

To The Editor:
I have just learned that Mr. Nusraty of Nusraty Afghan Imports will be forced to vacate his shop at the corner of Bleecker and W. 10th Sts. because of an exorbitant raise in rent. His is one the enduring shops on Bleecker St. that help the West Village retain its cachet as the Village. Now I can say without a doubt for me the Village is gone.

Seeing his wife in tears and hearing him express himself as the survivor he is, made me really sad. And angry. This family, which was so much a part of our neighborhood, is being forced to leave. Shame on us. Shame on us all for not doing something sooner, when we saw what was happening before our very eyes.

I hope this proud and valuable member of the community will find a shop in the neighborhood and help us retain some semblance of the diversity for which the Village was famous.
Jo-Ann Segal

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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