Volume 78 / Number 9 - July 30 - August 5, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Letters to the Editor

Pimps rule the streets

To The Editor:
Thank you so much for publishing the letter by Rand Blunk (“SeXXX and the city”) in your July 9 issue. I am a neighbor of his and I have to walk my dogs very early in the morning. Rand’s portrayal of what happens in the wee hours of the morning, seven days, a week is an accurate one. It’s a neighborhood under siege. Is there anything that you can do to elaborate on this and help us get out from under this veil of fear?

At Mojo Coffee this morning, several people discussed how one of the customers, a neighbor, tried to take matters into his own hands and videotaped several pimps and their cars. The situation escalated, and he was bullied into handing over the tape! This incident has not stopped, for even a second, the daily driving around and around and around of these pimps keeping tabs on their prostitutes that cruise the neighborhood, in hopes of hooking up with what seems to be an endless supply of customers, who oddly all have New Jersey license plates.

Please. Anything you can do to shed light on the bureaucracy that is blocking much-needed help would be sincerely appreciated by all who have to endure it.

Eric Lee

Glad to have St. Vincent’s

To The Editor:
Re “Local pols take their medicine, support St. Vincent’s to jeers” (news article, July 16):

Thank you to our elected officials — Chris Quinn, Jerry Nadler, Scott Stringer and Tom Duane — for supporting St. Vincent’s plan to build a 21st-century hospital on the current site of the O’Toole Building. Their leadership recognizes the critical need for healthcare in Greenwich Village. They are truly representing the interest of all of us who, sooner or later, will be thankful for the compassion and care that St. Vincent’s will continue to provide in a facility that will bring state-of-the-art healthcare technology to our neighborhood.

Our family knows too well how important the hospital is to the Village. When seconds mattered, St. Vincent’s was there to save Liza, wife and mother, and Greenwich Village resident.

To those who advocate moving this invaluable asset, we pray that they never experience how essential St. Vincent’s location is to our community.

Michael and Liza Mirisola

Hospital can take a hike

To The Editor:
Re “Our knack for defeating ‘absolutely necessary’ projects” (talking point, by Gary Tomei, July 23):

Gary Tomei wrote, “The interests of Rudin and St. Vincent’s are inextricably connected.” And that’s precisely why it’s a scandal that Rudin can have the arrogance to even attempt to cry “hardship!” in this St. Vincent’s Hospital mess.

Tomei is absolutely right when he stated: “Rudin is not a community facility and is not entitled to the waivers that were granted to St. Vincent’s to allow it to build its Coleman Building. Taken together with the proposed 300-foot hospital on the hospital’s current O’Toole site, the proposed buildings would create a barrier between 11th and 13th Sts. that would effectively and significantly compress and diminish the historic district.”

Thanks to Bloomberg and his pals in the real-estate sector, almost every property in this city has been sold for co-ops, condos and other luxury high-rises. What were formerly vacant lots or community gardens now are high-rises. Who are all these luxury apartments for? Are they perhaps for the wealthy from all over the world, especially those who have fled their own countries with scads of often ill-gotten gains?

A hospital could be built outside the Village. How about attaching it to the Upper West Side train yards project? How about tearing down some of the eyesores in Chinatown and putting a hospital there? Must the entire city be as ugly and insane as Midtown?

For all the good St Vincent’s Hospital has done for the community, they can tear it down and build a park. That’s the only good that could come of that site.

Terese Coe

Cooper Square traffic plan

To The Editor: 
Your July 23 article “Astor Pl./Cooper Sq. traffic plan is ready to roll” presents a balanced overview of the design discussion, but it contains factual errors. With the plan’s many components and lengthy gestation period, perhaps it was hard to avoid inaccuracies, but they need correction. 

First, I’m not co-chairperson of the Astor Place Task Force. The original joint C.B. 2/C.B. 3 Astor Place Task Force chairperson was Lisa Kaplan, who was then a member of C.B. 3, who very ably guided us in reaching our decision to support the Department of Transportation plan in April 2005. The C.B. 2 representatives on the current joint task force — more loosely structured with no chairperson — are Tobi Bergman, C.B. 2 Parks Committee chairperson; Jason Mansfield, C.B. 2 Environment Committee chairperson; Ian Dutton, C.B. 2 Transportation Committee vice chairperson, and myself.

Second, the concerns attributed to C.B. 2 in its previous resolution — to maintain the Stuyvesant St. view corridor, note the historic significance of Astor Place and the Indian trail and create a quiet space — were provisos first noted in the Astor Place Task Force statement; the difference was that C.B. 2 originally opposed closing Astor Place, while the task force endorsed it.

Third, I didn’t support C.B. 2’s resolution, because I favored closing Astor Place.

C.B. 2 has sent a letter, which was distributed for review at its full board meeting on July 24, to D.O.T., the Department of Design and Construction and the Department of Parks and Recreation, including both favored proposals and suggested modifications concerning landscaping, amenities and materials in the Astor Place/Cooper Square conceptual design.

C.B. 2 has 0.4 acres of open space per 1,000 people, the second lowest percentage in Manhattan. The minimum amount of open space deemed adequate in New York City is 2.5 acres per 1,000 people. We welcome opportunities to reclaim both street and sidewalk space. In fact, our student urban planning fellow, funded by Borough President Scott Stringer, has just completed a study identifying potential open spaces throughout our district, including Astor Place and Cooper Square. 

Shirley Secunda 
Secunda is chairperson of Community Board 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee.

A paws for run recap

To The Editor:
Re “Pier 40 plan sails smoothly for most part at committee” (news article, July 23)

“The People’s Pier” plan that has received initial nods from the community and the Hudson River Park Trust is coming along nicely. The Friends of Leroy Dog Run — representing more than 400 parkgoers who use the 2,400 square feet dog run located near the pier’s northeast corner — are very pleased that a new and better dog run continues to be included in every design and each discussion. However, in your coverage, you said the dog run to be included in the Pier 40 plan was a “small dog run.” This is not the case.

The existing facility is, in fact, a very small dog run for dogs of all sizes and their owners. However, we petitioned Community Board 2 last year to approve an expansion of an additional 10,000 square feet of space, and they agreed. This new dog run would include a separate area for dogs of all sizes, plus one for small dogs only. The Pier 40 Working Group supported a dog run of these specifications in its recommendations, and each developer knew what the Working Group’s stipulations were.

The renderings at this point are not satisfactory in our perspective: The size of the run is far too small; it basically reflects our run’s current size, though shifted north by a degree, since the Fire Department and the Port Authority otherwise would have an issue with it for emergency procedures for the PATH train tunnel exits. Nevertheless, the process is still in its early stages and we trust that Camp Group/Urban Dove will do the proper thing and expand our run as promised to 12,000 square feet. All the initial studies still must be done and the budgeting decisions will be long and difficult; but we are confident that, in the end, the pier and its surroundings will be something the entire community can be proud of.

Finally, we would like to pledge the Friends of Leroy Dog Run’s support to the L.G.B.T. youth of the community. They are in dire need of a space in the neighborhood to service the untold numbers of young people that historically gather in the Far West Village. The increase of prostitution and other crimes is a testament that many of these people are slipping through the cracks and being preyed upon by criminal elements that wish to take advantage of them.

We must not forget the history of this neighborhood, which was a haven for the working class, the sailors and the dockworkers, as well as for the pioneering L.G.B.T. community, many of whom came from those same communities. The Hudson River Park Trust must insist that space be provided for them in the Pier 40 design.

Tod Wohlfarth, Annie Shapiro and David Serrano
Wohlfarth is president, Shapiro is treasurer and Serrano is secretary, respectively, Friends of Leroy Dog Run

Scoopy gets in dogfight

To The Editor:
Re “Dog-run dilemma” (Scoopy’s Notebook, July 23):

I take great exception to your item in last week’s Villager about the Pitt St. space being used for a dog run.

First, you state that I am an opponent of the dog run. You cannot say that. The community board has voted against the dog run, and I am implementing their decision, as my job requires me to do. I have implemented decisions in the past that I have not agreed with. Hopefully, you should not be able to tell the difference.

I reported to the board’s Parks Committee on complaints about the dog run that came to the board office; that is my job. I tell everyone — both for and against — that they need to come to the committee meeting and give their input and explain their issues. That is what the community board is for, and it is what I believe in. I have put Calvin Knight on the Parks Committee agenda twice in the past to lobby for a dog run; the committee has never supported this.

Regarding your statement “…that the board would not endorse that plan, given that ‘it is noisier than ever at night…’ ” — where in my e-mail did it state that I said the board would not endorse this plan? I would not have said that, since the board had already voted; so if I had made a comment, it would have been past tense, that is, that the board “did not endorse” the plan.

I am a great believer in community boards, and I am very careful to follow procedures.

Susan Stetzer
Stetzer is district manager, Community Board 3

Courageous coverage

To The Editor:
Re “With parting shots at Nadler, impeach candidate ends run” (news article, July 23):

I was pleased to see such thorough and fair reporting of the Sullivan for Congress press conference last week at the Farley Post Office. It is not often that the campaign challenging Jerrold Nadler or the subject of impeachment finds its way into either a weekly or daily New York newspaper.  

The Villager has been courageous and balanced in keeping its readers informed of these issues. Thank you for your thorough and accurate reporting.  

Bernadette Evangelist

Union Square vendor jam

To The Editor:
Re “Artists aren’t sold on new vendors bill, residents, too” (news article, July 9):

I commend City Councilmember Alan Gerson for proposing legislation to get a handle on all the street vending springing up around us. Of the many Downtown neighborhoods mentioned in the article, I was surprised Mr. Amateau made no mention of Union Square.

Several years ago, the city spent millions of dollars to expand Union Square Park at its southwest corner, planting trees and adding a fountain to the plaza, only to have it completely taken over by vendors. You can barely get to the subway or even glimpse the fountain through this hodgepodge. I fear if one of the city’s largest subway hubs ever needs to be evacuated, there will be no exit. This is the number-one complaint I receive by residents of this neighborhood, but everyone except for Councilmember Gerson has been afraid to touch this issue with a 10-foot pole.

Yes, there are some actual artists out there, as well as some other legitimate vendors. What I object to is the complete takeover of the sidewalks and most of this formerly lovely plaza without any control at all. Don’t residents also have a right to enjoy this space? The only time one gets to see how beautiful it is is on a rainy day.

As I had to walk in the street to get past the vendors tables lining both sides of the narrow sidewalk on the corner of Union Square West and 14th St., I asked three policeman if there was something they could do. One of them was so misinformed as to tell me that the vendors pay for their space! If Gerson’s bill helps set parameters on this clearly out-of-control situation and clarifies to enforcement who may or may not use city sidewalks and parkland to vend, the councilmember and his legislation should be fully supported.

Susan Kramer

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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