Volume 80, Number 31 | January 5 — 12, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Painful chapter in his life

To The Editor:
Re “Tompkins Square Park dog owners get some training” (news article, Dec. 23):

As the following excerpt from my Nov. 27, 2003, journal entry indicates, one does not have to be in Tompkins Square Park to be attacked by a pit bull:

“At Kamaran I bought three cans of Budweiser on my way home. Since the nearby bars and restaurants were closed due to Thanksgiving the streets were almost deserted.

Instead of strolling home along the south side of Sixth St. and crossing midblock, I walked past the shuttered Sidewalk Cafe. As I approached the Gladiators Gym I saw two guys from the park bedding down for the night on the sidewalk under the windows. During the afternoon I had seen the younger man in death row [the chess tables area in the park]. He had crudely cut straw-colored hair.

A black pit bull on a leash attacked me as I passed. When the dog bit my arm, the second man, who wore Indian-style braids, pulled the dog away from me. Neither man seemed at all apologetic or reactive. ‘This is no joke,’ I cried. While I walked away I could hear the men arguing about the dog. Turning around, I called, ‘I’m not your f---ing enemy; I see you guys in the park. This dog is going to hurt somebody.’

When I got home I undressed. Though my raincoat and sweater were not torn, I had ugly scratches and teeth marks on my arm. Thinking that Nora would know about dog bites, I called her. Since she was not at home I opened a can of beer. A few minutes later I got the number of the Ninth Precinct from the operator. When I called the station, a rude-sounding woman said a car would be sent by.

Despite my presumption, soon the doorbell rang. Two young cops appeared when I opened the door to my apartment. After I described what had happened and said that I was concerned that someone else might get bitten by the black pit bull, the officer who had said nothing as I spoke and looked somewhat stupid, said to the cop I had talked with, ‘Should we ask for his ID?’ Since I must have looked angry and upset, the brighter of the two shushed his partner.

Before going to bed I drank the three beers.”
Philip Van Aver

Save 5C Cafe and Center

To The Editor:
I want to thank you for publishing the Peops Project cartoon by Fly in your Dec. 16 issue that featured the 5C Cafe and Cultural Center and Trudy Silver.

I hope this current eviction — unjust and unfounded in my opinion — against 5C will be dismissed by Judge Scarpulla once and for all, so that this cultural and community center can continue to thrive and be part of the rich artistic heritage of this city.

The original members have worked so hard to sustain this amazing place for the past 15 years.

The 5C Cafe and Cultural Center serves a multitude of artists and a diversity of people — from a wide range of cultures, classes and ages — in the community and from around the city. I have met 80-year-old regulars who love the food and music. I have heard everything from gypsy music to Juilliard-trained musicians to legendary jazz artists, such as Charles Gayle and William Parker, to high school students reading their poetry and elementary school kids showing off their budding piano skills.

Performers at 5C have gone on to brilliant careers working with the likes of Dawn Upshaw, Yo-Yo Ma and the Kronos Quartet. The 5C Cafe has opened its doors to both well-known musicians and less-established artists, and has provided a rare thing in New York City these days — a noncommercial, community performance space for artists and students.

The space at 5C is also warm and inclusive and welcomes people from the neighborhood, providing community and fellowship — and the food is healthy and delicious!

I also know 5C has been hugely conscientious about volume, even though they are fully soundproofed — taking great pains, routinely, to ensure musicians understand that volume must be limited. They have always focused on booking acoustic and low-volume performers and those who appreciate playing the cafe’s tuned grand piano.

If the Lower East Side loses 5C it will be a huge loss, not just to the neighborhood that directly surrounds it, but to the city at large and the many musicians, artists, audience members and community members who care about the space and have gained so much from it.
Silvia Ravelo
Ravelo is a board member, 5C Cultural Center

St. Vincent’s fallout

To The Editor:
Re “New Year’s wishes” (editorial, Dec. 29):

My wish is for Christine Quinn, Thomas Duane, New York State Health Commissioner Daines and Bloomberg to get into a fender bender on the West Side Highway bike path. They look for a hospital for their skinned knees, only to be told they have to go to New Jersey for the closest treatment center.
Tim Schreier

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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