Volume 78 - Number 37 / February 11 - 17, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Thanks for Yanks column

To The Editor:
Re “Paying for Yankee Stadium is a major league error” (talking point, by Deborah Glick, Jan. 28):
Bravo, Assemblymember Glick! You have pinpointed the sort of economic prowess we need now. Foundation first!
Linda Aizer

Bloomie’s billionaires club

To The Editor:
Re “Paying for Yankee Stadium is a major league error” (talking point, by Deborah Glick, Jan. 28):

Great op-ed. Thanks to Assemblymember Glick! Unfortunately, our mayor seems more intent on handing out special favors to his billionaire buddies than providing our children with the educational opportunities that they need and deserve.
Leonie Haimson
Haimson is executive director, Class Size Matters

Cookie grandstanding

To The Editor:
Re “Panthers vow to shut down ‘Negro Head’ cookie baker” (news article, Feb. 4):

Where were the New Black Panthers — who The Villager shows us posturing in front of a poor, dumb baker’s shop — on election night 2008, when hoodlums on Staten Island, shouting “Obama,” brutally beat black kids in the street, then ran a car over a white man thinking he was black? Apparently, waiting for a “racist” cookie to call them to Greenwich Village with signs saying “Black Power” and “No to Racism” and promises to make that awful baker fall.

Neither I nor anyone I know has actually seen the guilty cookie, reportedly a portrait of a “drunken Negro,” and called a “hate crime” by one marcher. (Though if a baker can convey that on a cookie, he’s not untalented.) The “demonstration,” however, sounds like grandstanding, a later generation trying to wrap itself in the mantle of history — though safely in Greenwich Village, one of the most liberal enclaves in the country, where the public is sure to applaud, and police keep the peace.

I forget precisely what the bad, old Black Panthers did, but, safe to say, they addressed issues more serious than a cookie. I seem to recall them in either Chicago, Los Angeles or both — both of those cities then known for police brutality, especially against persons of color. They also did serious prison time. But someone should tell these Black Power wannabes that Obama’s actual power arrived, not least because he never stooped to tired slogans and threats, and, when glitches arrived, reached out calmly and creatively.

Of course, I admit to wondering, is there a chance The Villager could show us this heinous cookie, so we could judge for ourselves whether lame joke or pernicious racism? After all, it’s not a cartoon of the Prophet with a bomb in his turban, which only little Denmark dared reprint. I also suspect that, given the givens and the free publicity, it could be sold by all parties as souvenirs, curiosities, keepsakes and fundraisers — as today even “racist,” black-themed artifacts of olden times, including toys, books, photographs and cartoons, as of dark-skinned youngsters eating watermelon, are high-priced collectors’ items, especially among blacks.

Then again, another marcher is quoted asking, “Would I be allowed to operate a bakery if I made a swastika cookie?” I’m not sure a “drunken Negro” is as clear a symbol as a swastika, but either way, the fellow may be unaware of the plethora of neo-Nazi groups in this country. If he goes to the Southern Poverty Law Center Web site, its newsletter will inform him of offenses to turn that heinous cookie into pablum. Better yet, send them a donation and be a subscriber
Judy Seigel

Pieces of St. Vincent’s pie

To The Editor:
Re “Webb could be a shot in arm for St. Vincent’s rebuild plan” and “Hospital’s great catch” (news article and editorial, Jan. 28):

So now it is more apparent than ever before. Much more than a real-estate deal, the Rudin/St. Vincent’s development plan is nothing more than a financial home run for all of its proponents: Rudin, through out-of-scale, inappropriate high-rise condo development; Amoroso, with an outsized million- and-a-half-dollar-plus compensation package; The Villager, with its biased news coverage, slanted editorials and full-color St. Vincent’s propaganda ads, likely funded by Rudin dollars; and, now of all things, Arthur Webb, the disinterested advocate throughout, who just secured himself a berth way up on the financial food chain as St. Vincent’s newly appointed C.O.O.; all at the expense of one of New York’s historic treasures — Greenwich Village.

Surely, there is a more suitable site in St. Vincent’s expanded service area that can accommodate both its current needs and future growth. Webb moved his facility out of Greenwich Village when expansion needs dictated a new facility; so why so adamant against a similar move for the hospital? St. Vincent’s is no longer, by it own admission, a Greenwich Village community hospital, by virtue of its claim that it serves the entire West Side from 59th St. to the Battery.

Either moving to a more central location — or building in place, as the hospital is about to do with its just-announced plans to renovate its emergency room — is a win-win for all. Why not admit that now so we can all then work together for a new St. Vincent’s?
 David R. Marcus
Marcus is board member and officer, The Cambridge Owners Corp.; member, St. Vincent’s Community Working Group; and charter member, Protect the Village Historic District

Arthur’s webb of intrigue?
 
To The Editor:
Re “Webb could be a shot in arm for St. Vincent’s rebuild plan” and “Hospital’s great catch” (news article and editorial, Jan. 28):

Your article and editorial on the appointment of Arthur Webb as C.O.O. of St. Vincent’s Hospital appear to omit several points that should be of interest to your readers.

No one questions Mr. Webb’s qualifications, but his appearance at the St. Vincent’s/Rudin table at this point raise some issues.

Mr. Webb, as a member of the New York State Berger Commission, which set the plan for the state’s healthcare facilities, would appear to have a vested interest in seeing his recommendations implemented. He seems to believe that the only solution is to keep St. Vincent’s where it is,
regardless of other alternatives that have been presented over the last two years.

In his capacity as president of Village Care New York, Mr. Webb made several appearances before Community Board 2 and the Landmarks Preservation Commission, stating that he was offering testimony as a “disinterested party,” creating hard feelings in some quarters. His personal
and institutional self-interest are in direct contradiction to such statements, and it now appears that his remarks were pointed toward the service of his new employer. Rather than creating “smooth sailing” for St. Vincent’s, there are now even more questions of trust raised for the whole community to consider.

Finally, your newspaper’s unqualified support of St. Vincent’s in the matter of its proposed expansion and hand-off to the Rudin developers — long a matter of wonder among many of your readers — becomes even clearer with this article and editorial when one realizes that your publisher emeritus, Elizabeth M. Butson, is on the V.C.N.Y. board of directors.

Openness and some healthy skepticism would be a good first step in coming to terms with a proposed project that threatens not just our immediate neighborhood, but all of Greenwich Village, all landmarked areas of New York City and all historic areas around the United States.
Robert Moulthrop

Put Bush on trial

To The Editor:
The Obama administration, by not charging the Bush administration with committing war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, becomes complicit in a dark period in American history.

If we, as a people, do not insist that Obama balance the scales of justice, then our republic is doomed.
Melvyn T. Stevens

 

N.Y.U, Village vulture

To The Editor:
Re “Poe birthday party pooper” (letter, by Marilyn Stults, Jan. 28):

Thanks to Marilyn Stults for eloquently reminding us that New York University, “in an overwhelming show of arrogance and greed, destroyed [Edgar Allan Poe’s] last remaining Manhattan residence.”

We like to decry the destruction of cultural sites in the Balkans, the Middle East, Tibet and Burma. Yet we a turn blind eye to N.Y.U.’s continuing destruction right here in the Village — the latest outrages being the facading of the theater world’s treasured Provincetown Playhouse and the conversion of Washington Square Park’s row houses into office spaces — more facades.

Destruction is forever. May we never forget N.Y.U.’s own heritage: the barren unsightliness its unconscionable leaders have brought to our neighborhood, forever impoverishing the lives and the cultural identity of citizens now and in the future.

But call N.Y.U. a “party pooper”? No, more apt is “culture vulture” — a ghastly force stripping the precious remnants of our cultural history in order to feed its ravenous hunger for real estate.

We don’t forget. Be assured, N.Y.U., these acts will never, ever blow over. 
Gene Borio

John, how could you?
 
To The Editor:
I was surprised to read in Scoopy’s Notebook (“Quiet buyout,” Feb. 4) that the tenants of 47 E. Third St., who are extremely grateful to John Penley, “no longer would greet him” when they passed him on the street. 

I have not seen John since late last summer, when several of us went to a protest at his building over his landlord’s harassment tactics. In fact, I have asked several people if they had seen him and if he was all right, since we had read, in The Villager and on several blogs, that he was leaving New York.

In addition, The Villager has never contacted any of us about the settlement and the difficult circumstances that necessitated it, nor did the newspaper contact anyone in our tenants association before publishing this item in Scoopy’s Notebook.

Every one of the tenants has the greatest respect and affection for John and will always be indebted to him and the community for their support. John moving to Erie, Pa., will be a great loss for the Lower East Side.
Laura Zambrano

 

A failure to communicate
 
To The Editor:
Re “Quiet buyout” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Feb. 4):

I was surprised to read that John Penley said that tenants of 47 E. Third St. “no longer would greet him.” This seems to be some sort of miscommunication. Everyone at 47 E. Third St. thinks John Penley is a great person and we are grateful for the energy he put into the fight against the Yatrakis/Economakis clan.

We were told that he had left New York — at least temporarily. Maybe that accounts for one of us passing him on the street and not being cognizant that it was him.

Also, there were several new items about our settlement in November, so it certainly was not “below the radar.”

I am sad John is moving away and I certainly hope to see him to say goodbye.
Janet Dunson

Keeping tabs on Pagan

To The Editor:
Around 10 days ago, while attempting to locate information in my journal on an unrelated matter, by complete coincidence, I happened to come upon a timely tidbit from Tompkins Square Park about the late, former City Councilmember Antonio Pagan.

A paragraph from my Sept. 27, 2004, entry reads: “Before heading for the liquor store [around 6 o’clock], I went to the park. After I had written for some time, Steve Dibbs appeared. By then, I had finished writing up yesterday’s events. In the course of our chat, Steve revealed that, because Antonio Pagan got beaten up a few months ago, he had Steve change the locks on his apartment door on Third Street.”
Philip Van Aver

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