Volume 78 - Number 32 / January 7 - 13, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the editor

And what about Kashmir?

To The Editor:
Re “Indian Jewish leader: Killers were ‘warped monsters’” (news article, Dec. 31):

As a Muslim New Yorker I know it is good to get different perspectives, and it was interesting to read Lincoln Anderson’s account of the Indian Jewish leader’s presentation on the horrific terrorist attack in Mumbai.

Faced with that carnage, I do wish I could simply express my sympathy and solidarity. However, I note that nowhere in the article is the issue of Indian-occupied Kashmir even mentioned. Addressing Kashmiri objection to Indian rule is necessary to cutting off tacit support for violent acts throughout the region.

Moreover, as acknowledged in passing, 20 times more Muslims died in the Mumbai terror attack than Jews. Yes, I realize that Muslims may not have been targeted in the same coldly deliberate way, but they were still murdered by these terribly misguided fanatics. Our people’s deaths evidently merit a mention — but not an article.

Mind you, there are 600,000 Muslims in the New York City area. We feel the pain of loss just as strongly as our Jewish neighbors. And since I do not like to quantify suffering, I would have let this objection go. But tragically, as I write this, Israel prepares to send its ground troops into the ghetto of Gaza and already 100 times more Palestinians have died than Jews.

And yet the media tries to depict some nonexistent parity of suffering — and our mayor simply takes sides in most of his statements. How do we as Muslim New Yorkers feel? Isn’t it amazing that some of us have not lashed out in violent response — despite the deep alienation we and our Arab Christian brothers and sisters feel right now? I think that fact should be appreciated but also that more respect needs to be shown to our community’s feelings. Please include us.

This is not about supporting Hamas. Indeed, the current military action may result in much more support for extremism and hard-line positions. This is a call for us all to reflect on the messages we are sending. Every life is sacred, no matter the religious tradition or culture. As both Jewish and Muslim traditions agree, “To save one life is like saving the whole world.” Yeah, we people of faith sure can talk the talk.

Adem Carroll
Carroll is executive director, Muslim Consultative Network


In search of Christopher St.

To The Editor:
Recently I was approached by tourists from London at the corner of Greenwich Ave. and W. 10th St. The gentleman asked me if I knew where Christopher St. was. He explained that he had lived on Christopher St. several years ago, and wanted to show his wife where he had lived. I was happy to oblige and told them to follow me to Christopher St. Imagine my surprise to find that Christopher St. was no longer where it had been, but was now labeled “Anna Sokolow Way” with no indication that it had once been Christopher St.

I had never heard of Anna Sokolow, nor did I know anyone who had. But when I checked Wikipedia I discovered that she had once been a dancer and a teacher of dance in Greenwich Village.

When I consulted Henry Moscow’s “The Street Book: An Encyclopedia of Manhattan’s Street Names and Their Origins” (Hagstrom, 1978) I discovered that Christopher St. had been named for Charles Christopher Amos. Previously, it had been called Skinner Road in honor of Colonel William Skinner, a son-in-law of Peter Warren, who owned most of Greenwich Village in the 1700s. It had probably been Christopher St. for at least 150 years.

Perhaps Anna Sokolow had been the mother-in-law of a city councilman or some other politician who wanted to curry favor with her or her kin. If politicians feel they must change the names of city streets to honor relatives or friends, they should at least print the original name of the street, under the new name, just as is done with the Avenue of the Americas, which is also labeled with the original name, Sixth Ave.

Since the event mentioned above, several other tourists, holding maps and guidebooks, with puzzled looks, have asked me if I know where Christopher St. might be. If the city of New York wants to sow confusion among residents, tourists and mapmakers, this is a good way to go about it.

Edwin Fancher
Fancher was a founder of the Village Voice


Veggies in the bike lane

To The Editor:
Re “New York is finally getting in gear on bike lanes” (talking point, by Florent Morellet, Dec. 3):

I must correct an erroneous assumption in Florent Morellet’s talking point. Grand St. was not always a “one-traffic-lane street,” as Mr. Morellet implies. From at least 1959, when my husband first moved to Grand St., and likely many years before that, it had two travel lanes for one-way traffic. It was only in recent years that a bike lane was established on Grand St.

Relocating the bike lane is supposed to make it safer, and hopefully it will — but limiting vehicle traffic to one lane has created unanticipated hazards. First and foremost is the increased delay and obstruction a single lane poses to emergency vehicles. Second, moving commercial parking to the street’s north side has resulted in deliveries being unloaded from the side doors of trucks into oncoming traffic. Third, since the Department of Transportation also felt it necessary to prohibit eastbound traffic from turning at the intersection of Grand St. and Bowery, why hasn’t it provided any enforcement there?

Ironically, D.O.T.’s new traffic plan has greatly benefited at least one sector of the business community — illegal wholesalers. Long ignored by city officials and allowed to expand within a commercial zone that prohibits them, vegetable wholesalers now use the bike lane to transport merchandise on motorized pallet lifts, blithely traveling with and against traffic, just as they did before the bike lane existed. The bike lane is also being used by people delivering merchandise on hand trucks and by pedestrians seeking to avoid peddlers and the many illegal storefront displays that obstruct our sidewalks.

Balancing competing needs while maintaining law and order is in the public interest. I’m just not convinced D.O.T. has succeeded on Grand St. I hope it will come up some meaningful and long-lasting remedies for the problems it created, as well as the ones that were never addressed.

Cathy Glasson


Squats struggle goes on

To The Editor:
Re “Former squats worth lots, but residents can’t cash in” (news article, Dec. 31):

Thank you for the excellent article. Regardless of the outcome of events, you have really helped to further the cause of truth. You cast light on the myriad different perspectives that exist in the “soft science” of human events. I rest easier knowing that the truth of (my) our struggle is being told.

Michael Shenker


Mounts mounds defense

To The Editor:
Re “Mounds are a mistake” (letter, by R.T. Watkins, Dec. 31):

I must respectfully disagree with R. T. Watkins’s statements about themounds in Washington Square Park. They have not been fenced off for 35 years. In fact, I recall being totally enchanted as the group Shakespeare in the Park provided an evening, flashlight-lit performance of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” there just a couple of years ago. The group often used the mounds to stage nighttime performances since they provided a magical environment for outdoor theater.

I also recall seeing young kids light up as they ran among the moundsand played there. I personally have used the mounds as a unique location formy photos and as place to go with friends to toss a frisbee and hang out.

As far as I can tell, the rats to which R.T. is referring were the result ofpiggish people who toss their half-eaten lunch on the ground or of thetrash not being picked up every day near the chess tables — not because of theexistence of the mounds.

It would be a shame if the Washington Square mounds were unfairly removed.

The mounds are one of the facets of the park that stimulate the imagination and make it a unique place to be. As far as I am concerned, the mounds are a good thing and should stay as part of the renovation of the park.

Lawrence White

Editor’s note: We asked Parks Department spokesperson Cristina DeLuca how long Washington Square Park’s mounds have been fenced off and here is her reply: “After checking with multiple sources, the closest we can estimate is that the mounds have been fenced off somewhere between eight to 10 years.”


Pans pizzeria report

To The Editor:
Re “R.I.Pizza” (Mixed Use, Dec. 3):

Once again, we see that rumors and assumptions can lead to irresponsible journalism and defamation of character. This Mixed Use item, which speaks of the closing of Five Roses Pizza, states, “The hole-in-the-wall eatery between E. 10th and 11th Sts. fell victim to rising rents by the building’s owners, who are also Five Roses’ original founders.”

My mother, who is the original founder of the business, owns the property Mr. Hedlund refers to. How can a responsible journalist write something that has not been confirmed personally, or pass on unconfirmed reports — by Chris Flash and Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York?

The fact is that the store’s current owner informed us that she was not going to continue running the store and that she would be closing. Since there was no discussion about future rent, her rent was not increased! She just decided to close.

I am extremely disappointed in Mr. Hedlund and The Villager newspaper, which I always held in high regard. It is unfair to treat every property owner, like my mother — who has been part of the community for more than 40 years and who has owned this single property since the days when no one wanted to live in this neighborhood — as if they are like the absentee, multiple-property owners and greedy developers who have plagued our community.

You have not only insulted us, but you have contributed to tarnishing my mother’s good name and reputation. My mother deserves that The Villager write a retraction for this lie that was reported by Mr. Hedlund in your newspaper.
 
Josephine Gaglio



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