Volume 80, Number 19 | October 7 - 13, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the editor

Sorry, drivers: It’s our time now

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

Hear, hear! At last, some sanity and perspective on the great mode-share debate. Your acknowledgment that “it’s not cyclists who are ‘setting the tone’ on the streets, but motorists with their aggressive driving” is a breath of fresh air.

Those whose first reflex is to blame cyclists for street confusion — and to equate every cyclist with the most reckless ones, the high-speed “Lycra louts” — need to recognize that when it comes to being rewarded for bad behavior, the auto and its addicts take the cake. Always have and always will.

They also need to recognize that from certain important perspectives (not limited to the environmental one, but that’s a good place to start), every car is an offender, including the ones being operated legally. That’s not true of cyclists or pedestrians.

The days when the windshield perspective always took precedence are over. Sorry, drivers, if getting used to that is a little uncomfortable, but your crowd stuck it to everybody else for decades, and it’s time for a little accountability. Time to start paying your way for the damage you’ve done to cities and the planet. Time to suck it up and humble up. And maybe time to outgrow your insufferable attitude of entitlement, bullying and whining.

Thanks, Villager, for an honest and progressive editorial.
Bill Millard

Plans protest on bike lanes

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

I am writing against Mayor Bloomberg’s bike lanes and the many bikers who do not follow directions of the bike lanes, even though they know them; nasty bikers that fly through bike lanes and into traffic even though there is a bike lane. Many pedestrians have been hit by bikers without warning. I do walking and running, ice skating, rollerblading — in parks not streets.

I read your editorial that you support bike lanes — that’s a shame and a mistake on your part. I also find many bikers who are rude and feel they’re entitled. Do you know how many merchants are losing business due to the bike lanes? Just look at First Ave. below 14th St. Many families come into the city to shop and eat from the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island who use cars not bicycles.

You say cyclists should follow the rules of the road. Are you kidding me? Most bikers don’t follow rules and do what they want. Good luck trying to change bike messengers and bike delivery people to get them to go in the right direction.

Drivers are angry with the loss of parking spaces and the elimination of turns in Manhattan, making drivers go out of their way, causing traffic. Loss of lanes for drivers causes more traffic nightmares. Also, there are people in the East Village who feel bikers are being rewarded for bad behavior — because it’s true.

I just want to let you know that we’ll be holding a protest about the bike lanes on Fri., Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. at 14th St. and First Ave. The press should be there covering it to get the word out to millions of New Yorkers who don’t support you or Mayor Bloomberg.
Leslie Sicklick

Give road peace a chance

To The Editor:
Re “‘Anti-Critical Mass’ bikers have ‘upright’ attitude” (news article, Sept. 23):

The goal of the Upright Bicycle Ride was more than a metaphor. The hope was, and is, that we can all, pedestrian, motorist and bicyclist, learn to be more kind and friendly with the roads we all share — to behave kindly to one another. Hard at times, but worth the effort.

If cyclists don’t “self-police” themselves and put a happy face on bicycling, we cyclists will face a growing pressure from anti-bicyclist groups. These groups will ask cities to require and enforce new laws, licenses, road taxes and insurance to use the roads. These are things which no bicyclist wants. So it is up to all of us to be “Upright Cyclists.”
Matthew Modine

Close calls with cyclists

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

The bike lanes, in my view, are sort of the cart before the horse. The civilian cyclers (as opposed to the messengers and delivery people) seem to be out of control and running amok. There is a need for effective enforcement and regulation. 

I live on 14th St. and Third Ave. and walk almost everywhere. On numerous occasions, I have been nearly hit by bicycles going the wrong way, on the sidewalk or running red lights. This situation needs to be brought under control. I am one run-in from being anti-bike.
 David W. Ford

Whose park? All of ours 

To The Editor:
Your article “C.B. 3 says nabe is getting punk’d by loud concerts” (Sept. 30) left out quite a few details, and worse, gave the impression that a large segment of the community is in agreement with the “community” board, and failed to include anything from anyone hosting the events in Tompkins Square Park that are being targeted by the community board.

At the Community Board 3 subcommittee meeting of Sept. 16, C.B. 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer floated her proposal to limit the number of events in our park, as well the sound levels of some of those events, citing complaints she claims she has received from area residents.

We clearly have one person here attempting to create a conflict where none exists.

I have been co-organizing political and countercultural events in Tompkins Square Park with friends and allies in our neighborhood every year since the park reopened in 1993, without a single problem. We have always had a positive relationship with the Parks Department and with the local police precinct. Our events are spread over a six-month period each year, and run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. That time frame doesn’t wake anyone in the morning and doesn’t prevent anyone from sleeping at night.

Events and shows in Tompkins Square Park are not limited to punk. I enjoy jazz events, the HOWL Festival, performances by Theater for The New City and sometimes even the Christian rockers. The shows that I co-produce go beyond punk. We’ve had political speakers, feminist rockers, poetry readers, folkies and a wide variety of artists and performers. Tompkins Square Park is for everyone, not just for those who like what they like and everyone else be damned!

Though the availability of a portable band shell promised by the city when the standing band shell was demolished in 1992 would direct sound away from E. Seventh St., out of respect for our neighbors, we have already taken steps on our own to muffle sound emanating from drums and speakers, all without the intervention of an unelected, political appointee, wannabe crusader falsely claiming to speak for the entire stretch of Seventh St. across from the park.

The bottom line is that we love our neighborhood (we’re here for life), we love our park (we’ve fought long and hard to keep it free) and we respect our neighbors.

Accordingly, the events and shows will go on!

If Susan Stetzer would stop making so much noise about music in the park that she calls “noise,” there would be no problem.
Chris Flash

The Tao of Westbeth

To The Editor:
Re “Secrets of surviving an art commune: Westbeth at 40” (notebook, by Kate Walter, Sept. 30):

Great piece. It’s nice to know the “yang” about a place that I thought was mostly “yin.” One of my professors from The New School lived at Westbeth and in the ’80’s a friend invited me to a Japanese wedding reception in someone’s apartment there, where I met my former painting teacher. When I took classes with him, he wasn’t very impressed with my work. I had since moved from the area and was in New York showing slides to someone, so I had them with me at the wedding reception. He asked to see them and held them up to a lamp, and showed a lot of approval now that my work had progressed. At once, I became visible to the people who had previously ignored me as an outsider, because they wanted to see the work that K approved of. I showed them my slides, and then was relegated to being invisible again.
Janet Paparelli

Scream till you’re clean

To The Editor:
Re “Painting a roof white, working on keeping clean” (news article, Sept. 30):

Substance addictions can be healed with the proper tools and motivation.

Personally, I suffered from alcohol, food and sugar addictions. While 12-step programs were helpful, only primal therapy and counseling and herbal therapy really helped.

It is absolutely vital and lifesaving and life-giving for folks to acquire a copy of Dr. Arthur Janov’s book “The Primal Scream” (1970) and engage in self-primaling.
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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