Volume 78 / Number 10 August 6 - 12, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Letters to the Editor

Where were you, Michael?

To The Editor:
It is true, Michael Rosen and I have stood shoulder to shoulder and fed not only the people in the park but many of the elderly and handicapped who live in the neighborhood. Even then, I had to ask myself, is this rich man doing this because it is work that needs to be done, or is he a speculator and developer trying to improve his public image and perhaps relieve a few pangs of guilt?

And, yes, it is true, Mr. Rosen and the residents of the Christodora building led the struggle to have CHARAS/El Bohio landmarked. But where were you, Michael, on that cold December morning between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when the cops evicted Chino and his compatriots and led them off to jail? Because we were on the streets that day, my friend, trying to give support and encouragement to those people who had provided a valuable resource to the neighborhood. Indeed, it wasn’t until Gregg Singer threatened to build a multistoried dormitory that would block your view, that you and your fellow gentry went NIMBY and decided to champion the cause.

Let me also ask where you were when drugs and crime were ravaging the neighborhood and the cops were busy sending almost a whole generation of mostly black and Latino youth off to jail? You were sitting safe and comfortable atop the Christodora building, speculating on the fortune to be made when the city cleared the streets of the rabble.

And where were you when legions of armed cops, backed up by helicopters and a tank, evicted the E. 13th St. squatters, a group of people who built affordable housing for themselves out of the brick and rubble? I can tell you where you were: You were once again sitting safe and comfortable while developing Red Square and assuring that affordable housing would never be a reality on the Lower East Side.

You ask me what you can tell your children when angry mobs appear at your doorstep? Well, Michael, you tell them that you and the rest of the greedy gentry have spent years speculating on the homes, land and lives of these people and now you have some heavy dues to pay.

P.S. I have never had a latte in my life and could not tell you what a latte is.

Jerry The Peddler

Wrong to arrest photog

To The Editor:
Re “Documentarian is detained on street he’s shot for years” (news article, July 23):

Sorry to see the noted photographer Clayton Patterson arrested for his work. It is clearly his right to take photos as long it is does not directly obstruct the work of the firefighters or police. Ironically, at this time when government surveillance cameras are going up all around us in huge numbers, some of our police seek to restrict this right among private citizens whenever they feel like it. In New York, the A.C.L.U. has some lawsuits on this issue. This sort of negative interaction — i.e. “harassment” — hurts community relations unnecessarily. At the precinct level, the N.Y.P.D. needs to provide better training on this issue.

While The Villager might consider applying for a press pass in Mr. Patterson’s name, it should be clear that such a pass is not required for street photography.
Paul Carroll

Bagel battle isn’t nova

To The Editor:
Re “Bagel man battles hookers, but needs a hole lot of help” (news article, July 23):

My family knew Bob Orzo both as daily customers to his store and as a neighbor. We lived directly across the street from him. It really saddens meto read of his problems. Unfortunately, I am, however, not surprised. We watched the transgender prostitution develop and grow out of control. Much time was spent attending community meetings and meetings with the precinct tono avail.

One problem always was the attitude of some of the local police that “It has always been this way,” as stated by the current community affairs officer.This is simply not true.

When we moved to the block in 1990, these problems did not exist. By the time we moved from the area, it was simply out of control. Open sex was performed infront of our building; residents were taunted and assaulted, children in our building exposed to the constant noise at night and sometimes witness to thesexual acting out.

Christine Quinn’s office was absolutely no help at all.

I have witnessed everything that is described in your article and more. These nightly visitors feel so safe in the neighborhood, at the expense of the residents, who no longer feel safe and cannot be assured that their local precinct, which is one block from where Mr. Orzo lives, can or will protectthem.

We moved. But I hope the precinct can do more for Bob than it did for us. Bob Orzo is a great guy and a great asset to the neighborhood; he deserves the community coming to his defense. He certainly deserves more from theprecinct than “It’s always been this way.”

Susan Burklund

Cop cars off the path!

To The Editor:
Traffic in Manhattan can be quite a headache and, these days, drivers probably need a painkiller or two to deal with the traffic on the West Side Highway. Road construction from Chambers St. south to the World Trade Center site has traffic backing up past Canal St. I’m sure this has left more than a few drivers frustrated and angry.

But the creative driving award must go to those individuals lucky enough to have sirens and flashing lights installed in their cars. It seems that these items allow cars to avoid the West Side Highway completely and instead permit them to drive down the Hudson River bike path. Yes, in order to avoid midafternoon traffic on the West Side Highway, yesterday, unmarked cars with their lights and sometimes sirens running were using the bike path to drive, very quickly, south.

I had to play dodge-car with not just one official vehicle but three cars and one traffic control vehicle driving down the bike path at speeds probably close to 40 miles per hour. It seems not to matter that two people have been killed by vehicles on the same bike path in the last few years. Nor does it matter that at 3:20 p.m. you are likely to find numerous children on the path. It seems that “official vehicles” can drive just about anywhere in order to avoid traffic. Are sidewalks next?

Peter Zdanowicz

Plans to sue police

To The Editor:
It is nearly two years now since the loss of my son, Joshua David Crouch a.k.a. LEFTist, whose lifeless body was found on the West Side Highway at W. 12th St. on Sept. 18, 2006.

In all of my investigating, I have come to the conclusion, and cannot think otherwise, that the N.Y.P.D. was either directly responsible or covered up the crash altogether.

People that have offered to help, or authority figures who have given me statements or information countering the hit-and-run theory, weeks later forgot that these conversations ever took place. The E.M.S. report states on two separate sheets that, “PD states that an SUV struck victim.” A detective told me, “I have been in the police department 23 years and the injuries to your son’s face were not from a vehicle, but rather from an ‘instrument’ — maybe a nightstick? — possibly a bat.”

A week later, the same detective told me he never made the statement. 

I plan to sue the N.Y.P.D. for the death of my son. As time goes by, people are leaving the Police Department for different reasons and people move on. There is also only one witness to the whole thing and now he has disappeared, as well. I will continue to fight for the justice for my son, and there will be justice. Thanks again to The Villager staff for the continued support.

Jimmy Crouch

Parks are good eating

To The Editor:
Re “‘Plant man’ is a thief” (letter, by Jeanne Bergman, July 23):

Thanks to letter writer Jeanne Bergman for pointing out the problem of people harvesting food from New York City parks in a completely uninformed and unsustainable way. That is exactly what I am trying to avoid from happening. That is why all the plants I gather are either alien, invasive plants that we would like to eliminate anyway or sustainably harvestable parts of native plants, such as fruits, not their wood. I only gather a portion of any plant that I find, to ensure it will grow back the next year, and then I often plant new seeds of native plants when I am in parks, to ensure there will be more in the future.

As to Bergman’s suggestion that I might as well just eat park squirrels and birds while I’m at it, I don’t eat meat, given that it enlarges our imprint on the world: A vegetarian needs 2 acres of land to sustain him- or herself, whereas a meat eater needs 12 acres.

As for “stealing” berries from migrating birds, the mulberry is an invasive plant introduced from Asia, displacing native fruit trees. By reducing invasive plants’ chance of success here by gathering their fruit, seeds and leaves, I am helping give native plants a better chance of survival, plants on which native birds and wildlife can better survive.

Actually, by eating as locally as across the street from my house, I am reducing environmental destruction, since there is no fossil fuel involved in this plant-to-table diet. On the other hand, those who eat food from supermarkets that often comes from across the country or from the other side of the world are sowing more environmental destruction via the huge food miles involved in each of their meals, and this is theft from the future viability of our planet. If more people ate locally from farmers markets, community-supported agriculture, green roofs and local parks, our country would be a much more environmentally sound place.

Nat Bletter

A hospita l isn’t a highway

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

Mr. Tomei surely must know that because St. Vincent’s is a nonprofit institution, its finances are public information and available to anyone.

Would Mr. Tomei prefer the hospital turn away needy patients who cannot pay for medical care? Such a change in St. Vincent’s policy would certainly help improve the hospital’s fiscal problems.

St. Vincent’s Web site, www.svcmc.org/building, and the almost 20 public meetings that were held certainly should have addressed Mr. Tomei’s questions and reservations.

Mr. Tomei must also know by now how difficult, time-consuming and costly it would be to alter existing buildings, especially for use as a hospital.

Equating St. Vincent’s worthy project to the defeated Lower Manhattan Expressway is really scraping the bottom of the barrel and downright insulting to all Villagers. We all know the difference between a hospital and a highway.

The O’Toole site is the only viable possibility of having St. Vincent’s serve as an up-to-date, modern medical facility, and we should all hope the Landmarks Preservation Commission sees the importance of granting the hospital’s hardship application.

This letter would have been written by my widow instead of by me had it not been for the superb care I received from St. Vincent’s ambulance crew, emergency room and critical-care personnel and my excellent doctors.

Bernard Posner

Writer grew on them

To The Editor:
On behalf of Shadow Distribution and the filmmakers of the new documentary “A Man Named Pearl,” I want to commend you and your writer Judith Stiles on the article “Topiary Pearls of Wisdom,” published in The Villager on July 16.

Ms. Stiles is always a pleasure to work with because of her high level of professionalism and expertise. Pearl Fryar, topiary artist and subject of “A Man Named Pearl,” especially enjoyed being interviewed by her. He was impressed by her perceptive questions regarding the film and her knowledge of horticulture. Her article served both the film and your readers well, and helped pack the Angelika Film Center when Pearl Fryar appeared on opening night.

It is reassuring to know that The Villager remains committed to providing excellent reporting to the Downtown community.Karen O’Hara

O’Hara is publicist for “A Man Named Pearl”

To The Editor:
Re “ Venetian red or Pepto pink? Schnabel’s color clash” (news article, June 20, 2007):

Oh do dry up just a tad bit more and you will finally evaporate.

I am a graduate from Rhode Island School of Design in landscape architecture. I have worked in historic perservaton at Edith Wharton’s house and Daniel Chester French’s house in Lenox, Mass. I am a New York City member of Save Venice Inc.

I feel that I have to defend Julian’s Palazzo in New York City, that it represents everything that New York stands for, being inspiration, imagination, know-how and the right to self-expression. Besides, who doesn’t like pink?

Carolina Palermo Schulze

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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