Volume 79, Number 43 | March 31 - April 6, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Letters to the Editor

‘Public option’ at Pier 40

To The Editor:
The reference by George Capsis to the “private schools that now own [Pier 40] during the day” (“Pier 40 Plans?” Scoopy’s Notebook, March 17) is inaccurate. Visit the pier any afternoon, evening or weekend and you will see a mix of boys and girls of all ages from all over town: varsity public school teams, local youth league teams and pickup games everywhere they can fit them in. It is simply the most diverse and democratic place in Downtown Manhattan. 

One of the wonderful things about youth sports is the way it brings people together across social and economic divides, creating broader circles of friendship for children and families. Take a look at the Greenwich Village Little League, just one of the many sports groups that play at Pier 40: The league’s 690 players this year include students from 109 different schools, with 30 percent from P.S. 3, P.S. 11 and P.S. 41, with a total of 60 percent from public schools, and with many others from private and religious schools all over town.

Capsis’s claim that, “These are not P.S. 3 and P.S. 41 kids, these are private school kids,” is just plain wrong. 

The fields at Pier 40 have already proven how essential they are to enhancing the quality of life for Downtown residents. As one of the few playing turfs in Lower Manhattan, the fields allow for some of the best kind of outdoor recreational activity there is. Day and night, all year long, Pier 40 is in use by someone playing something — a whole lot more than just the “handful” of people cited by Capsis in Scoopy’s column. 
Susanna Aaron
Aaron is a board member, Friends of Hudson River Park

Revisiting rezoning article

To The Editor:
Re “Rezoning opponents join effort to shape new Chinatown plan” (news article, March 24):

Last week’s article regarding the Chinatown Working Group contained numerous factual errors, as the correction in this week’s edition attests. We think it is important to address a few errors, in particular, as they relate to the working group’s process.

First of all, the Chinatown Working Group has not yet determined its proposed “study area” as was reported. Each of the C.W.G.’s working teams is currently identifying study areas based on their revised preliminary action plans. All the working teams will present their proposals for review by the entire C.W.G. at the monthly, full C.W.G. meeting on Mon., April 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 pm, at American Legion Post 1291, 191-193 Canal St, second floor.

Second, the C.W.G. voting process has been and continues to be one vote per member organization.

Third, the article erroneously stated that the city created the C.W.G. The idea actually came from Community Board 3. However, the C.W.G., as a community-based planning group, was created by our community, including its three community boards. 

The C.W.G.’s independent, open, transparent and democratic, community-based planning process is of paramount importance to us. It is a major reason why so many stakeholders — 46 organizations, including Community Boards 1, 2 and 3 — are actively participating as voting members in this unprecedented endeavor.

Since our inception in fall 2008, the C.W.G. has welcomed all points of view and encouraged the participation of as a broad a cross-section of our community as possible. Our outreach is extensive and ongoing, including two well-attended town hall meetings, the last of which was conducted in five languages. Our meetings are open to everyone and “on the record” to ensure that our community is fully informed and represented.

Of most concern, The Villager article gave a false impression that important decisions were being determined without the consent of the full C.W.G. That is not the case!

The entire C.W.G. is currently engaged in preparing its proposed action plans and study areas as the basis for a comprehensive, community-based 197a plan, which we hope to submit to the New York City Department of City Planning this summer. Community Boards 1, 2 and 3 — which would be the co-sponsors of the plan with the C.W.G. — will be conducting public hearings in the coming months regarding the C.W.G.’s proposed plan; the plan will include recommendations on affordability, economic revitalization, education, immigrant affairs, parks, culture and historic preservation, transportation and zoning.

We welcome the community’s input in the days ahead.

For more information about the C.W.G., including the location and time of its meetings, please check our Web site: www.chinatownworkinggroup.org .
Jim Solomon and Thomas Yu
Solomon and Yu are co-chairpersons, Chinatown Working Group

Party out of bounds

To The Editor:
And now N.Y.U. states that it plans to expand by 40 percent. Obviously, most of that will have to be in the East Village, since there’s not much space left for their grand ambitions in the Village. 

Why does N.Y.U. have to be bigger? What’s the point? So we can choke on their destructiveness to the local population? 

God forbid they should get any part of Governors Island; do we have to kick out Bloomberg immediately to make sure that doesn’t happen? The people, the residents that is, need Governors Island for recreation! Those students can go to the Rockies or Europe or wherever they like for their time off. 

The view of the Judson Church tower has been ruined by the ugly military-style dorms atop a “law school” for which N.Y.U. tore down the Poe House and allowed Washington Square to be overshadowed. East Village, watch out for buildings around Tompkins Square — soon your sun too will be overshadowed by N.Y.U. high-rises! 

It’s a party school and that’s a big part of what residents have against this planned expansion. We in the East Village have seen blood on the sidewalk and students screaming at cops that their fathers are big shots. They’re here to drink themselves numb.
 Martin Delarue

Just call it ‘Gentrify U.’

To The Editor:
N.Y.U., or Gentrify U., has released its expansion plans. It has not released its minority stats. At the Ray’s benefit, N.Y.U. students covering the event for the new N.Y.U.-New York Times blog did not want to donate to get in. When is the last time you saw N.Y.U. students at a community board meeting, community protest or any other event except open bars?

We all know they could care less about the neighborhood because they are not really residents. Screw this new blog. The rich kids who will be working on it do not have a clue, and if N.Y.U. starts selling ads, this blog will do severe damage to The Villager. 

One more thing, forget about all minorities — how many Puerto Rican students from the Lower East Side are attending N.Y.U. now or are teaching at N.Y.U.? Can you spell zero?
John Penley

March of the purple flags

To The Editor: 
Re “New blog on block as N.Y.U., Times
team to get hyper” (news article, March 17):

It must be a dream: N.Y.U. setting up a blog to report on the local East Village. Perhaps they want to document the East Village before they eviscerate it, like they have the West Village.

The view through the arch is of an ugly N.Y.U. building. The Poe House building on W. Third St. is destroyed. In fact, almost all of the perimeter of  Washington Square Park is now N.Y.U. They have removed the Village aspect of the West Village and replaced it with ugly, monolithic buildings and dormitories.

Perhaps this blog will list places where transient N.Y.U. students are welcome to drink themselves into oblivion — or establishments that give the students discounts. N.Y.U. describes their students as a part of our East Village neighborhood, yet provides private transportation that insulates them from these “neighborhood” folks that they won’t have to rub shoulders with.

E. 14th St. is a self-proclaimed acknowledgement of N.Y.U. Replacing several landmark-worthy establishments (the Palladium and the gym) is not enough. The only supermarket on lower Second Ave. is still there as a result of enormous community pressure for almost a year. 

The purple N.Y.U. flags sway in the wind all over our neighborhood. N.Y.U. is like Pac-Man, mouth always wide open while it devours everything it can reach.

Or is this new blog going to be the opening sales pitch for the million-something-square-foot expansion they are planning?
Susan Leelike

Not none — one a month

To The Editor:
Your article “Parents can’t stomach ban on bake sales in the schools” (March 24) incorrectly refers to a ban on home-baked goods at bake sales in public schools in New York City. Chancellor’s Regulation A-812 allows parent organizations to hold one bake sale per month during the school day, during which they can sell home-baked goods.
Marge Feinberg
Feinberg is a spokesperson, New York City Department of Education

Gold shines on trials

To The Editor:
Re “Say it isn’t so, Barack! Uphold law on terror trials” (talking point, by Ed Gold, March 24):

Congratulations to Ed Gold and the editors of The Villager for taking on a vital and controversial subject that reaches beyond your usual precincts.

As my daughter, Jane Mayer, and others surmised, Mayor Bloomberg’s “rug pulling” from under Eric Holder was the result of pressure from realtors. It was truly shameful. 

I hope everyone reading your column will e-mail the attorney general to urge him to stick with trials in criminal rather than military court.
Meredith Mayer

Her mind is made up

To The Editor:
Re “Sidewalk swastika solution: Trying to pave over hate” (notebook, by Bonnie Rosenstock, Feb. 17):

I read the original column and subsequent letters with interest and increasing disgust. Perhaps I am taking this rather personally, since I know a young N.Y.U. student whose dorm is on Third Ave. between 10th and 11th Sts.

I believe that Ms. Rosenstock’s response to Ms. Momber’s letter was polite, thoughtful and well written, as opposed to a nasty and self-serving diatribe by Ms. Momber.
Marilyn R. Masaryk

Glick gets it on schools

To The Editor:
Re “The Race to the Top and its connection to class size” (talking point, by Deborah Glick, March 24):

Thank you, Assemblymember Deborah Glick for your common-sense understanding that the solution for public education is not retreading No Child Left Behind into Race to the Top while failing to address the core issues of overcrowding and the narrowing of the curriculum. 

Race to the Top also doesn’t address all the money that is wasted in the Tweed bureaucracy while resources are being squeezed in the classroom.
A.S. Johan

Bathhouse hung out to dry

To The Editor:
Re “Silver and Squadron shoot for revamp of Gulick Park” (news article, March 24):

Former City Councilmember Alan Gerson allocated $360,000 in capital budget funds for the renovation of Luther Gulick Playground, which spans 1.45 acres. State Senator Daniel Squadron has committed an additional $100,000. Half of the Gulick playground renovation alone will cost $2 million. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and others will add additional capital budget funding to completely restore this public playground, which is adjacent to the Amalgamated and Hillman middle-income-housing co-operatives on Grand St.

The Dr. Simon M. Baruch Bathhouse sits on two adjacent, city-owned lots in the center of the largest New York City Housing Authority development in Manhattan. This public bathhouse is four stories tall and is more than 100 years old and should be declared a city, if not a national, landmark. Bernard Baruch Houses has more than 1,800 kids with no community center to speak of.  If our elected officials can commit capital budget funds to restore this playground, then why can’t they restore the bathhouse?

Will someone explain to me, what is the formula that elected officials use when they decide where capital budget funds are going to be allocated?  What is the difference between this playground and this bathhouse? Is it the size? Is it the location? Is it the income level of the the population that would benefit from the renovation? Is it the history? Is it that these kids are not old enough to vote?

The bathhouse, like the park, is under the jurisdiction of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. The city looks to the local councilmembers for direction. Former Councilmember Antonio Pagan earmarked some of his capital funds for neighborhoods in the district’s northern end, like Gramercy Park and Kips Bay. During former Councilmember Margarita Lopez’s tenure, she earmarked some of her funds for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Greenwich Village — located outside of her district.

The current councilmember, Rosie Mendez, states cost as her excuse for why the Baruch kids are not her priority. What exactly is Mendez’s priority, you might ask, when it comes to her district? When it comes to her personal stipends, she makes sure that she collects them. When it comes to her discretionary funds, a.k.a. pork, she distributes it to her supporters. When it comes to doling out capital budget funds, it’s anywhere in the Council district, except for the low-income kids of Bernard Baruch Houses.
 Roberto Caballero 

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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