Volume 80, Number 16 | September 16 - 22, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Heartbreaking ‘Hot Dog’ photo

To The Editor:
Re “Marlene, Marco and The Mayor” (Clayton’s Page, Sept. 2):

The documentarian Clayton Patterson’s photo of “Hot Dog” (Marlene Bailey) was both surprising and heartbreaking. It was compelling to see Hot Dog as a young, vibrant and colorful character in the East Village in the ’80’s, and not what has manifest into a pitiful representative of what can happen to those that lack the tools to negotiate life’s hard knocks and are eventually pushed up against the hard edge.

Mr. Patterson’s symbolic gesture of identifying Hot Dog as a street survivor soft sells her present condition: a marred, scarred and fragmented woman, within whom her distress clearly harbors a nature of anguished torment. She has not become so much an East Village “icon” as an omnipresent fixture in this vivacious neighborhood where the sight of her often reminds me life is way too precious to be lived on borrowed time, but meant to be lived for the future.
Deborah Spicciatie

‘Brain-dead’ pedestrians

To The Editor:
Re “Bike phobia — a closer look” (letter, by William Hohauser, Sept. 9):

With all the complaining going on about bike lanes and bicyclists, I wonder how many people have considered the havoc pedestrians cause.

From people crossing the street without the light while texting, to those jaywalking nowhere near a corner without looking at oncoming traffic, to people beginning their slow walk across the street when the light changes to a solid standing person, to the ones who walk in the bike lanes in the same direction as the bike path, to…well, I could go on and on about all the pedestrians walking the streets of New York oblivious and completely brain-dead to everything going on around them. Too many people take the idea that the pedestrian has the right of way to an extreme, to the point that they pose a danger.

I once saw a young woman, who despite the pace at which she was walking, nevertheless decided to continue her sashay across Union Square East without the light in her favor. She forced two cars traveling at a safe speed to come to a screeching halt. Let’s face it: There are pedestrians who are not just a nuisance, they are a safety hazard.

So maybe the state or the city should require pedestrians to pass a test, pay a fee and be licensed, as well. Just think of the revenue that would produce, as well as hopefully having some people out there who have some clue as to where they are. 
 Max Neuberger

‘Terrorized’ by bicyclists

To The Editor:
Re “Bike phobia — a closer look” (letter, by William Hohauser, Sept. 9):

Incredible!

This screed against pedestrians, who are deigned “arrogant” and “disrespectful,” as well as implied to be dimwitted and clueless, is so typical of cycling apologists.

Does Mr. Hohauser ascribe these negative traits to himself as well, since most of the time he is a pedestrian?

The fact remains that about 99 percent of cyclists do not stop at red lights; most go against traffic when it suits them, and many more ride and terrorize citizens on the sidewalks. All the rationalizations and apologies by the cycling lobby cannot refute this unsocial and dangerous behavior.

Until the N.Y.P.D. starts enforcing the blatant violation of our vehicular laws by cyclists, Mayor Bloomberg should stop construction of any more bike lanes.

Why are we rewarding rogue riders for their increasingly illegal behavior?
Penny Hansen

Ed Garcia in our hearts

To The Editor:
Re “Sports to Santa, Vladeck activist did it all for kids” (obituary, Sept. 2):

Edward Garcia was an amazing man. I knew him ever since I was a little girl and I am 41 years old now. “Fat Ed” always told me in the mornings, “That’s right, go to school,” chuckling. He was a brother, father and best friend to many. He will be greatly missed. He moved the community in such a way that his memory will be remembered always.  
Liz Chin

The skyline is ‘emotional’

To The Editor:
Re “Abracadabra! Mike and Council’s Empire vanishing act” (talking point, Daniel Meltzer, Sept. 9):

Definitely, go for it. I’m sure a movement can be started. As a New Yorker living in Europe, that skyline is one of the most emotional and comforting things about coming home, as much a part of the New York experience as street food or counting blocks as you walk. Think of how sad people are that Penn Station was not fought over more and saved. Now is the time to act!
Carla Capalbo

Take a tip from D.C.

To The Editor:
Re “Abracadabra! Mike and Council’s Empire vanishing act” (talking point, Daniel Meltzer, Sept. 9):

I lived for four years in Manhattan, and the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building always gave me a little emotional lift every time I saw them, from afar or near. To think that some monster building could diminish that experience upsets me a lot. I now live in Washington, D.C., which has a strict rule about building height so that the Capitol and the Washington Monument won’t ever be towered over. I hope New York City can find a way to create a rule that keeps the skyline its beautiful self.
Al Bradford

Enough Midtown monsters

To The Editor:
Re “Abracadabra! Mike and Council’s Empire vanishing act” (talking point, Daniel Meltzer, Sept. 9):If we don’t act now to Save Our Skyline, then we’ll have to convert the acronym to stand for Sold Our Souls! I can’t abide the thought of another monstrous monolith with no architectural integrity jammed into Midtown. Is there no end in sight to what the City Council will allow?
Marianne Sponholz

Ready to march; Waiting for love

To The Editor:
Re “Abracadabra! Mike and Council’s Empire vanishing act” (talking point, Daniel Meltzer, Sept. 9):

Where and when? I’ll protest, or better yet, march for clearing the New York City skies of yet another monstrous building. We have to keep the Empire State Building the tallest building, just in case I have my true love meet me there one day.
Edna Vera

A ‘crusty’ encounter

To The Editor:
When I read “Photog’s blog let’s park’s ‘crusties’ tell their stories” (news article, Aug. 26), I recalled the following relevant episode, as excerpted from my Nov. 2, 2004, journal entry:

“As I crossed the leaf-strewn plaza, I looked for Luis. Since he was not around, I sat down in the sun toward the far end of the row of benches. “Hi ya, buddy,” intoned a tall, blond, backpack kid as he arose and walked away. When I glanced up at him, I recalled the youth from the summer. His companion, who looked almost clean-cut, remained seated nearby.

Within a short while, the blond youth returned. When he passed, I noted that the back of his shirt was emblazoned with a Warhol-like, screened mug shot of some punk icon. When his friend asked me what I was doing, I replied, “I write a journal.” He responded, “Cool.” After a short while we got into a conversation about the park and the Lower East Side. “I’ve lived here since I was 30 and I’m 65 now,” I told him. In reply, the dark-haired guy, who did all the talking, said, “You don’t look that old.” “Thank you,” I responded.

“Where are you guys from?” I asked. Though the blond fellow muttered, “Tompkins Park,” after I said I was from Bellingham, Washington, his more-forthcoming friend commented that he had been to Seattle and Olympia. They were from Long Island, he then informed me. After that declaration, he became talkative. Since I had already indicated my long residence in the neighborhood and talked about the park riots, he asked, “What do you think about us?” “You mean the backpack guys, as I call you?” “Yes,” he acknowledged. Because he had begun to open up, I said, “What about your family?”

“My father walked out on me and my mother got married. They threw me out when I was 14,” he answered. Continuing, the young man said, “For a while I couch-surfed. If my calculations are correct, that was eight years ago.”

During our conversation, his cell phone rang until he turned it off. At considerable length, we discussed our drinking and drugs. Though I admitted to being a bar person, I told him I avoided drugs and those who use them. When I said, “I don’t like being around people I can’t trust,” he looked quite hurt. Because the young guy was very handsome and quite intelligent, I found myself being drawn into his aura.

Several of his companions had gathered a few benches away by then. Without excusing himself, he joined them. For sometime I continued writing. When I arose to leave, he called, “We’ll talk about the park some more.” “Right,” I called back.
Philip Van Aver

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