Volume 79, Number 50 | May 19 -25, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Control ‘outrageous rents’

To The Editor:
Re “Rent board refuses to freeze hikes, even amid a recession” (news article, May 12):

With the economy at an all-time low, I wonder, how are they getting away with this all the time? Where is our government to say, No. More people are just making it nowadays, and people are losing their jobs and families are being forced to the streets.

From tenements to city housing to Mitchell-Lamas, I think we need ownership. Why pay these outrageous rents when management doesn’t even provide services to us and leaves us living in poor conditions? If people are forced out of their homes, where are you planning to put half the city?

What it comes down to is that the city doesn’t want the working class here at all. Where will our veterans, the disabled and working, single-parent families with children go? Maybe the government should crack down on these outrageous rents.
Eric Nagy
Nagy is a member, Fathers 4 Justice

Artists aren’t the problem

To The Editor:
Re “‘Balance’ needed on vending” (letter, by James Heller and H. Jay Wisnicki, May 5):

First off, none of the artists set up close enough to the subway entrance to cause any hazards. If they do, where is the Parks Department making them move? Show me one violation written by the Parks Enforcement Patrol officers against an artist blocking the subway entrance.

Meanwhile, the Daily News has people selling their newspapers right where you come up from the steps. The Greenmarket farmers park their trucks right up against the subway entrances on the park’s west side. Yet you fail to mention that and single out the artists, who make sure they leave enough space for people to exit the subway.

You state that, “in the absence of department rules regarding expressive-matter vendors, the number of such vendors in Union Square Park has increased since 2001, to the point where they occupy almost the entire southwest corner of the park.” Yet there are already rules that aren’t enforced, and as many as 30 percent of the vendors in Union Square Park are not selling art and the Parks Department does nothing about it.

You refer to potentially hazardous and unsafe conditions. Show me all the police reports of pedestrians in Union Square being injured by a First Amendment artist.

If you want to criticize the artists, why don’t you also criticize the Greenmarket, which takes up double the space of the artists, the huge holiday market, corporate events and a pillow fight that had hundreds of people hitting each other with pillows?
Joel Kaye

It’s human nature, sadly

To The Editor:
Re “Residents’ road rage focuses on traffic and bikes” (news article, May 12):

I am not sure that licensing bicyclists will alter the behavior of that fraction of cyclists who do violate basic traffic safety rules. It may just add yet another layer of bureaucracy and yet another excuse to tax New Yorkers.

Many decades as a pedestrian and cyclist have taught me that all three groups — cyclists, pedestrians and motorists — have fractions that are very impatient, too aggressive, addicted to speed and rude, with a contempt for anyone else.

There are far too many cars, trucks and buses on the streets. Air pollution is rampant.

But as Dwight David Eisenhower said, “You can’t legislate morality.”
Michael Gottlieb

De La Vega changed my life

To The Editor:
Re “An artist calls for a boycott, and no one knows why” (news article, April 28):

I read your article regarding De La Vega and his boycott. It was disappointing.

My De La Vega story is this: He changed my life.

I was 17 years old and heading down a path that would lead me to nowhere. I was sporadically attending school and didn’t really think I had any future. I came across De La Vega’s Become Your Dream message when walking down 86th St. and it hit me — I could have a future.

I sought out De La Vega at his store and was too intimidated to talk to him. I must have walked in and out three times before he began a conversation with me, probably knowing that I didn’t have the guts to start it with him. It was as if he could see right through me. We must have spoken for an hour, something he didn’t have to do — he had other customers and I didn’t have any money to buy something, and yet he invested his time in guiding me. He spoke of the power we have inside of ourselves to become anything we want to be, that nothing in life would be without sacrifice, but that I could become a powerful woman in this world. He told me to keep in touch and check in with him.

The next day I not only was early for school, but checked in with my guidance counselor to create a plan for my future. I will be graduating with honors in May from Hunter College. Had it not been for that fateful message that crossed my path one day, my story would be different. I have been accepted into Brooklyn Law School where I will pursue a life fighting injustice and pursuing an equal footing for Latinos in this country.

I am just one person in this world whose life has been changed by De La Vega, but he is like a farmer planting seeds that will grow and nourish this world. I don’t even know if he realizes the impact he has had on so many lives, but that is the story that should be told. 
 Vannessa Chacon

Fall of the veggie Temple

To The Editor:
I was hungry but couldn’t find my favorite vegetarian restaurant. Was I on the wrong block? No, I finally saw the place. Demolition orders were pasted up on plywood boards where the front windows used to be.

Unable to pay a huge rent increase upon lease renewal, The Temple in the Village restaurant, at 74 W. Third St. near Thompson St., serving macrobiotic, vegetarian and vegan food to the general public for the past 24 years, was forced to close its doors. We have not only lost another excellent, affordable restaurant — we have also lost some of the brightest and most capable members of our Village community.

When he was already in his mid-60s, the owner of The Temple, Joseph Lee, received his license to practice acupuncture in both New York and New Jersey. His wife once confided to me that her husband had rarely if ever been sick a day in his entire life. What a remarkable credential for a physician. How many others can say the same thing?

Who will ever forget the Lees’ intelligence, vigor and good humor? I was always glad to see Dan, their son, taking over on weekends, giving his parents the weekend off, and the vigilant cook coming out of the kitchen to double-check the buffet-style offerings. The Temple was not just a job to them.

The Lees are to be congratulated for feeding the general public for 24 years — “Twenty-four years minus one day,” Dr. Lee said to me over the telephone the other day. He was never one to exaggerate his accomplishments. Thank you, Dr. Lee! Best wishes to you and your family.
Barbara A. English

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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