Volume 79, Number 01 | June 10 - 16, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

‘Club DKNoise’

To The Editor:
Re “Def Jam party was deafening, Donna Karan nabes complain” (news article, June 3):

Thank you for covering the problems that Donna Karan’s studio causes for our community.

How can Donna Karan consider herself a friend to this neighborhood while she continues to erode our quality of life? I was surprised to read that she was actually present at the Def Jam concert. She was probably there for a few hours at most, while I endured two days of sound checks and two nights of thunderous music.

Ms. Karan must know that there are children living in the buildings directly across from and next to her building.

Should we really tolerate this noise because the worst of it is over by 11:30? My apartment was shaking! I made numerous calls to 311 during the daytime sound checks and the nighttime performances.

As there are frequent events in that space, it has become standard procedure for large moving trucks to noisily unload equipment early in the morning (sometimes arriving as early as 6 a.m.) and noisily reload late at night after the events. The large garage door to the main space creates a nightclub with a wall open to the outside. Even when the garage door is closed, the music is so loud that it drowns out TV or music in my apartment.

This activity does not belong in a residential neighborhood! When did she get permission to run a nightclub on this block?

Katherine Rachlin

Praying for some quiet

To The Editor:
Re “Def Jam party was deafening, Donna Karan nabes complain” (news article, June 3):

Immediately after your article and editorial hit the stands, a makeshift sign (scotch tape and white printing paper) was posted on the side door of Karan’s complex at 711 Greenwich St. at Charles St. The sign reads, “This is a sacred place. PLEASE ENTER IN SILENCE.” With this mentality, one wonders how serious the Karan camp is taking the issue. I took a photo of it. As of the morning of June 6, the sign remains.

Charles Amann

Cat was a gracious guest

To The Editor:
Re “Pretty Boy, the Mayor of E. 7th, is mourned; He was one cool cat” (news article, June 3):

My wife and I were graced by his presence one evening while dining outside at 7A about six months ago. Hizzoner Pretty Boy was a very gracious table guest and happy for any scraps we gave him from our table. R.I.P. Pretty Boy.

Adam Lenovitz

A sensitive subject

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. reveals plan for spiritual center on Washington Sq.” (news article, June 3):

When we read your article on the New York University religious center building, there was no mention of the architects involved. As one of us is a retired member of the art community, we are particularly sensitive to the absence of credit for artists of every kind. For example, in the TV coverage of the new Reagan sculpture there was no credit mention of the sculptor’s name, another faux pas. Please be more sensitive to artists.

Irwin and Marilyn Horowitz

Editor’s note: Yes, that information should have been included in the article. The architects of N.Y.U.’s new Center for Academic and Spiritual Life are Machado and Silvetti Associates, LLC

Fountain is not a pool

To The Editor:
The renovated sections of Washington Square Park look great. It is wonderful to see people enjoying the park, including the newly renovated fountain. The other day I noticed families with small children in bathing suits laying out towels in the sun for a city version of a day at the beach. Many children and adults were splashing in the fountain. I have a concern, though, about the children who play in the fountain.

I remember that when the original plans for the renovation were being discussed, someone in the Parks Department mentioned at a Community Board 2 Parks Committee meeting that the Parks Department wanted to move the steps from inside the fountain to the outside; doing this would discourage people climbing into the fountain. Councilmember Alan Gerson, among others, objected and wanted the steps to be kept in the fountain so that people could use it as a stage for performances when the fountain was off, and could also enjoy the water and splash around when the fountain was turned on.

The Parks Department argued that the water was not clean, that it was recycled fountain water that was not treated or purified. Fountains in the rest of the city have steps leading up to the fountain. People rarely enter into fountains in other parks. The Parks Department could not install water purification equipment to ensure the safety of people playing in the water because that would change the fountain into a pool. Apparently, if it is defined as a pool it causes a whole set of other problems, including the requirements to regularly test the water and have a lifeguard present.

    The popular view won the day and the steps remain going down into the fountain. On a beautiful sunny day people climb over the low wall and enjoy the fountain from the inside while many children, dogs and some adults splash in the water. The presumption by everyone is that the water is clean and safe. The presumption is wrong.

The question now is what can be done. I am most concerned about the children. It seems to me, at a minimum, the Parks Department needs to place signs around or near the fountain warning parents that the water may be contaminated. Perhaps Councilmember Gerson or others who wanted the steps to go into the fountain could come up with an idea to make the fountain safe as well as beautiful.

Bob O’Sullivan

Skeptical on scores

To The Editor:
In your editorial “Keep mayoral control, but with modifications” (May 27), you say, “[R]eading and math scores are up and the schools do seem better.”

Richard Mills, New York State commissioner of Education, said that all the state tests scores were up, not just New York City’s, which he attributed to better test prep across the state. Or perhaps the tests were easier.

New York City school test scores are administered and graded by the same entity and with no independent oversight, so it’s hard to verify the results; but school administrators have been fired for being caught changing tests results, in order that their schools are not punished, underfunded or closed down.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, a more objective and independent measure of student achievement, shows that New York City results are flat, demonstrating no improvement. As Mark Twain says, “There’s lies, damn lies and statistics.”

A. S. Evans

Mike isn’t accountable

To The Editor:
Your editorial “Keep mayoral control, but with modifications” (May 27) argues, “If we can’t hold the mayor accountable when there are problems, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.”

How, exactly, are we supposed to hold the mayor accountable? Public school parents are too small a minority in city politics to affect the outcome of a citywide mayoral election. The mayor “runs” on education only in the broadest possible sense, managing, in Bloomberg’s case, with his millions, to convince a lot of people who have nothing to do with the schools that he is doing a good job.

This is accountability?

This year, hundreds of children were on waiting lists for their own zoned kindergartens, after parents and elected officials had warned for years that enrollments were swelling. Parents went to the schools chancellor, they went to our Community Education Councils, they went to the central school board (which Bloomberg unilaterally renamed the “Panel for Educational Policy”), they went to the City Council, and nothing was done. More than 40 percent of New York City public schoolchildren attend schools in overcrowded buildings. Where’s the accountability for that?

The Bloomberg administration has taken responsibility for not a single one of its failures. For New York City public school parents, “accountability” is a word that sounds good in the newspaper, but in reality is an empty promise.  Without true checks and balances, Bloomberg, like a king, is only as accountable as he feels like being.

Ann Kjellberg

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. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.

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