Volume 80, Number 18 | September 30 - October 6, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Beware the ‘bag people’

To The Editor:
Re “The Tea Party’s over; Wacky nominees will do ’em in” (talking point, by Barrett Zinn Gross, Sept. 23):

I’m moved to reflect on the Tea Party, or the tea baggers, as I refer to them. I wonder if they know where most of the tea in the U.S. comes from? Probably from Muslim countries: India, the second-largest Muslim country, Indonesia (No. 1) and Pakistan; Burma (Buddhist) and China (not exactly a paragon of freedom); and African countries, Muslim and animist (Oh, my God). But these bag people are in thrall to Bill Oh Really, Sarah Pain, Newt Grinch and Rush-to-Limbo. And they are backed by the brothers Koch (Coke) and other billionaires.
We must keep them at bay, maybe in the harbor of Boston, where we might gently slide them over the side into the currents and eddies of progress. No quick fix there. Even with Obama and a Democratic Congress and maybe Senate, senators representing 16 percent of the U.S. population can block anything. So much for our great system. Keep fighting.
Tom Walker

Even Trump knows: It’s Soho

To The Editor:
Re “Soho or Hudson Square?” (photo caption, Discovering Hudson Square special section, Sept. 23):

It’s south of Houston and north of Canal. It’s Soho!

Hudson Square is a brand name, contrived by Trinity Real Estate to try to con people into thinking they are getting some fancy, branded neighborhood. It is not even square!

The original Hudson Square was in today’s Tribeca in the 19th century, where the Holland Tunnel exit stands today.

Of course, it’s Soho. Trump calls his project Trump Soho. He didn’t name it Trump Hudson Square.
Sally Fried

No, it’s definitely not Soho

To The Editor:
Re “Soho or Hudson Square?” (photo caption, Discovering Hudson Square special section, Sept. 23):

I favor Hudson Square for the following reasons:

Not everything south of Houston St. and north of Canal St. is “Soho.” For example, to the east of Soho, Little Italy and Nolita are also south of Houston and north of Canal, and they are not — and should not be — considered part of Soho.

I think the name Soho should really be restricted to the area that was originally designated the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District, since I think it implies a certain kind of built environment and neighborhood.

Judging from the built environment — i.e., mostly tenements and row houses and not cast-iron loft buildings — and neighborhood, I think the area to the west of “true” Soho should be referred to as the “South Village,” which is what it used to be called before the name Soho became well known. In my opinion, the South Village continues over to Sixth Ave., and maybe even to Varick St.

I think the area west of the South Village should have its own name to reflect its own distinct identity, as it has a very different street grid and built environment — e.g., many large, early-20th-century loft buildings, etc. — in contrast to the areas to the east. In the recent past, when the area had many printing businesses, it used to be thought of as “Varick St.” the way the financial district is sometimes called “Wall St.”

I believe the open space in Tribeca that Ms. Fried is referring to was called St. John’s Park, not Hudson Square. I don’t know if there ever really was a Hudson Square.

While the name Hudson Square could be a little confusing — without there being a true, or at least well known, actual Hudson Square — it doesn’t seem that bad. Plus, Downtown seems to feel comfortable — and maybe even enjoys? — confusing place names: a W. Fourth St. subway station with no exits or entrances at W. Fourth St.; a West Broadway that is many streets over from Broadway; a LaGuardia Place that changes to West Broadway with very little fanfare; a Chelsea Vocational High School that is many, many blocks from Chelsea, and so on.
Benjamin Hemric

Dig deeper on gardens

To The Editor:
Re “Parks Dept. beefs up garden rules, adds protections” (news article, Sept. 23):

Is Mr. Amateau trying out for Fox news? This is their kind of fair and balanced reporting. Notice the remarks of Karen Washington, president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, were not put in quotes. Why? Because he never interviewed her! Rather an out-of-context snippet of an internal message was used.

After giving ample space to everyone else, the reporter said nothing of the actual coalition position statement read and distributed at the press conference. Not one gardener was quoted. If anything, our president has bent over backward to give the city a fair chance to give community gardens the legal recognition they deserve.

It was a tickle to some of us — how they rolled the bus over her in the rush for pre-primary photo-ops and the rush to get something in place before the 2002 attorney general’s agreement ended. Did you even ask when the coalition was given a copy of the rules? Shame, shame. Please don’t go with the spin next time. Your readers might trust you.

The administration tried to bully the coalition into a handshake ceremony on City Hall steps after Ms. Washington requested a meeting with the mayor. The city didn’t give the coalition time to review the document it wanted to be endorsed, nor acknowledge the need for legal review. Yeah, right — I guess citizens shouldn’t have their lawyers review documents written and reviewed by a staff of paid attorneys. Ever had a lease written to favor the tenant?

Not one reporter has done his or her homework and asked why the rules by the Parks Department were so heralded while the rules by the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development slid in so quietly.

I can’t believe you did that to this responsible citizen leader!
Steven Kidd
Kidd is a board member, New York City Community Garden Coalition

Koch is right on redistricting

To The Editor:
Re “Koch vs. Silver” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Sept. 23):

Thanks to City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, I am now a registered voter in the 64th Assembly District, where Sheldon Silver is the incumbent. I have read the back-and-forth between Silver and Koch regarding the establishment of a nonpartisan redistricting commission, which Silver opposes.

In order to understand Silver’s opposition, one needs to examine the original Assembly lines when Silver was first elected in 1976, and recognize how incumbent assemblymembers adjust their own district lines every 10 years in order to protect their claim to office.

From 14th St. south along the F.D.R. Drive all the way to
the Brooklyn Bridge was always part of the same Assembly district — the Lower East Side. When the northern end of the district started mounting challenges to Silver, that’s when the lines began to change. The East Village’s northern part — the Loisaida section — was removed from Silver’s district and placed with Stuyvesant Town.

Silver needed to split his opposition into two Assembly districts. As the decades, census and reapportionment followed, the district lines kept changing, and today the district runs all the way west to Battery Park City.

Silver uses his office in order to ensure his re-election in the same manner that he ensures that we will always have five parking lots at the foot of the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area will never be completed so long as Sheldon Silver holds his office. Take a walk along Delancey St. where these parking lots are located, and then stop and ask yourself: What is the real reason that Silver opposes their development? 
 Roberto Caballero

Nope — still hate bike lanes

To The Editor:
“Bike lanes on a roll” (editorial, Sept. 23):

Contrary to your editorial, most actual residents as pedestrians hate and disapprove of the bike lanes. From the many hits and near misses by cyclists, we all silently cheer every time a taxi evens up the score against the maruading cyclists.

The actual truth is simple: Cyclists continue to not use these special lanes; they do not follow the correct flow of traffic, and they do not yield to pedestrians at turns.

And for a newspaper with much sympathy for ordinary people, you don’t seem to get it that this is just another yuppie indulgence being catered to, and we on the Lower East Side are again being used as an experimental field for out-of-touch, liberal social planners.

One notices that there is no bike lane Uptown going down Fifth Ave., and most likely there never will be.
Thomas McGonigle

Cyclists need to earn lanes

To The Editor:
“Bike lanes on a roll” (editorial, Sept. 23):

I believe that your editorial “Bike lanes on a roll” is slanted in favor of the cyclist. The editorial applauds bike lanes “simply because they make it so much safer to ride in the city.” What about those not on bicycles? New York City is a “pedestrian city” first and foremost. The rules of behavior for motorists and pedestrians are established.

You state that local residents are angry with the behavior of cyclists but that “These concerns, again, will be ironed out as we all learn the proper ‘street etiquette’ needed for this new roadway infrastructure.” Etiquette is defined as the conventional rules of social behavior. What are the established rules for cyclists? You suggest: “Stop at red lights [and stop signs?], don’t ride on sidewalks, go the right way, use a bell, have a light at night.” These are very sensible rules but in my experience they are rarely, if ever, adhered to.

As a pedestrian I must remember to look both ways, not only in the direction of traffic. At night, without lights or bells on the bikes, crossing a bike lane is a fearful experience. It’s a rare cyclist who stops at the light if he or she can get across. What are the consequences to cyclists of disregarding the rules? If a car or pedestrian ignores the established rules there are consequences. Cars can be identified and ticketed. Pedestrians can be ticketed, although they rarely are.

I’m sure it’s the intention of most cyclists to bike safely. It’s in everyone’s best interest. I don’t argue with the benefits of cycling. However, until the rules are known, accepted and adhered to, until there are enforceable consequences for disobeying the rules, I support a moratorium on adding new bike lanes.
David Lewis

The straight poop on pet food

To The Editor:
Re “With fresh meat, ‘It’s a dog’s life’ is sounding good” (news article, Sept. 23):

As a holistic healer and animal advocate I caution all pet owners to beware of commercial dog and cat foods sold in supermarkets, bodegas, grocery stores, etc.

First, most contain “meat byproducts,” which is a phony euphemism for cancerous meat and poultry, feathers from chickens and birds, the hoofs of horses, etc.

Second, most contain chemical dyes, colorings and preservatives. All these can and do hurt dogs and cats.

Seek out the higher-end, commercial pet foods to avoid the above. Avoid tap water by using pure spring water or filtered water.
Michael Gottlieb

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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