Volume 80, Number 15 | September 9 - 15, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Follows ‘Mosaic Man’ and trail

To The Editor:
Re “Artist’s poles are part of East Village’s glorious mosaic” (Clayton’s Page, Aug. 26):

For years I’ve been intrigued by “Mosaic Man” and his passion to decorate our neighborhood. I follow his career in your newspaper. Recently, I tried to contact him by letter at Theatre 80, offering some colorful mosaic bits and a donation. No reply. I’ll have to try online.

Not only does his lamppost art brighten our otherwise dull, gray, asphalt streetscape, it also is an environmental statement. He’s creating out of what otherwise would be discarded. Reuse. Save the planet — and he invites us to contribute to be part of the trail!

Many thanks to your newspaper for covering art, the environment, preservation — all important concerns to me. I look forward to your paper every week.

It is my hope that you will still ask readers to write letters, as well as submitting them by e-mail, giving them the choice. Please don’t exclude writing letters. I don’t have a computer!
June Hildebrand Abrams

So much harm was done

To The Editor:
It seems a shame that the tragic and questionable closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital is dropping out of the news. There is so much evidence of mismanagement by the hospital’s board of directors and C.E.O.’s. They also misled the public into believing a new hospital was a possibility when they were so heavily in debt. I filed a case regarding St. Vincent’s with the District Attorney’s Office a few months ago, but they won’t give me any information. I sent them a great deal of personal information I had from firsthand experience. There was plenty to investigate from news articles as well.

I have metastatic cancer and am being treated at the former St. Vincent’s Cancer Center, now run by Beth Israel. As with other patients, most of my doctors are spread all over the city, and this has caused great distress and dismay to many cancer patients such as myself. Other services have also been affected by the hospital’s closing.

I do not believe there will be a new hospital on the St. Vincent’s site during my lifetime, but I would like to live to see the incompetent and greedy crooks punished. The harm they did to the community, as well as the staff and local businesses, is a disgrace. Many people are serving prison sentences for doing much less harm than these unscrupulous individuals.
Myrna Posner

Bike phobia — a closer look

To The Editor:
The past couple of months I’ve seen quite a bit of anger directed toward bicyclists in this newspaper and the media in general. Most of the time we don’t see any commentary from subjects of this anger. (At least I haven’t seen it.) It’s time for some rational counterarguments and facts.

Most of the anger stems from persistent flouting of traffic signals by cyclists, which terrifies pedestrians, who feel that they have right of way and don’t need to check the traffic at that point. Having seen how some of the cyclists just pedal straight into crossing crowds (Houston St. and Broadway is a good place to observe this), I can sympathize; I’ve personally had cyclists pass by me very closely when I’ve been crossing at that location.

But I would ask the complainers to review their own street behavior. Most pedestrians arrogantly cross wherever they please, regardless of the traffic lights. (I use the word “arrogant” in direct reaction to a reader’s letter in this paper). The only thing that seems to prevent people from crossing is how fast the motor vehicles are going and how far away the cars are. It seems many pedestrians are confident that the unseen drivers would never dare hit them.

I can’t tell you how many times I see people walk out into the street without looking. Strangely, some pedestrians behave as if cyclists are always aiming to hit them. To observe pedestrian arrogance, just go to the bike lanes between 42nd and 32nd Sts. on Broadway any weekday. No way can a bike rider use those paths. Also, look at the bike path at the corner of Lafayette and Eighth Sts., in front of the Kmart; people always step into it while waiting to cross against the light. When the Second Ave. bike lane was put in, it was immediately taken over by dog walkers, people sitting on the curb with their legs in the lane and deliverymen wheeling hand trucks. Pedestrians routinely cross the lane against the light, never bothering to turn their heads to see if a bike is coming along. I admit to doing just this a couple of times while walking at the First Ave. bike lane — and as you might have guessed from this letter, I’m a bike rider myself! I almost got hit the last time I did that. It wasn’t the cyclist’s fault, it was my fault.

A person who gets on a bike to ride around in Manhattan never feels far removed from his or her pedestrian roots. Cyclists are not surrounded by a metal box, and unlike a motorcycle, they have to do all the propulsion themselves. A bike rider feels as vulnerable as if he or she were still a pedestrian. Many people can’t or won’t pedal faster than a person can run. It makes sense that a new cyclist will just continue with their pedestrian habits, which in this city means perpetual jaywalking!

As a 30-year-plus, nearly daily city cyclist, I can tell everyone why going through red lights or riding against the traffic is tempting. Going through a red light — while automobile traffic stops at it — means the cyclist can ride a block or two without the danger and hostility coming from some motor vehicles. Some cyclists might think riding against traffic means they can see potential danger ahead of time, and more important, make eye contact with approaching drivers, which lessens uncertainty; but, in fact, riding against traffic is far more dangerous than riding with traffic. These excuses don’t absolve riders’ breaking the rules of the road, but are presented for understanding.

In the long run, bike lanes reduce cyclists’ stress levels and encourage safer riding for all. After pedaling a distance without the danger presented by cars, a cyclist is more likely to obey traffic laws than after a ride fraught with cars that turn without signaling, pedestrians who walk out from behind trucks, cabs that cut off cyclists to pick up and drop off passengers, car doors that suddenly fly open into riders’ paths — I can go on.

We expect drivers to be careful of pedestrians; drivers have a dangerous, heavy machine capable of great velocity. We should also expect cyclists to be careful of pedestrians; cyclists are capable of dangerous velocity, as well. But we should also expect pedestrians to maintain a degree of respect for their fellow citizens, regardless of whether they drive a motor vehicle or are helping green the city by using a bicycle. Don’t just jaywalk! Jaywalk with care — and be aware of what’s around you.
William Hohauser

Don’t condone bad behavior

To The Editor:
Re “Christopher gay bar fights city’s effort to shut it down” (news article, Sept. 2):

I’m a person of color, gay and a resident of the West Village. I am very happy to see the city and N.Y.P.D. working toward cleaning up the Christopher St. corridor.

I have no problem with people of all kinds hanging out in the neighborhood as long as they treat the place and the people that live there with respect. Unfortunately, their behavior is far from respectful, unless you believe urinating, defecating and having sex in public or leaving garbage on people’s front stoop or vandalizing buildings and cars or prostituting themselves or dealing drugs on neighborhood corners or leaving used condoms and dime bags everywhere or talking and screaming at the top of their lungs at all hours of the night is acceptable and proper behavior in a residential neighborhood.

Frankly, this behavior should be viewed as an embarrassment to the L.G.B.T. community. As for those local L.G.B.T. politicians that have been quick to jump to the aid of these “model” citizens, most of whom are from another borough or from New Jersey, perhaps they should look at what behavior they’re actually rallying for and weigh that against the votes of actual neighborhood residents at election time.
Eric Lee

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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