Volume 80, Number 39 | February 24 - March 2, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

C.B. 2 messing with success

To The Editor:
The residents and merchants of Little Italy have maintained the San Gennaro Festival for 85 years, delighting scores of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world.

Equally important, San Gennaro represents both a cultural and economic tradition that has sustained a neighborhood, providing real jobs for a cherished community.

Rather than tamper with an iconic, historic, amazing, unique, one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable community asset, Community Board 2 should be writing resolutions praising the hard work of the Little Italy community over all those years and offering its help in making it bigger and better.
Jean Grillo
Grillo is Democratic district leader, 66th Assembly District, Part B

Cartoonist in rough shape

To The Editor:
Re “‘Bitchin’ (cool) artists and cartoonists, then and now” (Clayton’s Page, Feb. 17):

Great to see the “Old Boyz” from 20 years ago at that show. I’m now married to S. Clay Wilson, and would like your readers to know what has happened to him. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in November 2009, and has been home for just over a year, after being hospitalized for a whole year. He is now severely impaired, and needs 24-hour care. Please take a look at www.sclaywilson.com to read about his injury, and how he is doing now. I’ve posted some photos of him and his drawings on the site as well. He also has a Facebook page, under S. Clay

Wilson. Thanks!
Lorraine Chamberlain

BID out of step with Soho

To The Editor:
Re “Soho residents strike back, slam business district plan” (news article, Feb. 10):

We are 40-year residents of Broadway between Prince and Spring. Sts. We run a dance company out of the loft, and live in the back. We have seen the neighborhood go from derelict to thriving. We are two of many who saved the district, having participated manually and financially in the complete restoration and residential legalization of our building. We have been following the proposal for the BID and see no virtue in it whatsoever. Not even the promise not to tax those who live here would alter our opinion. This grand manipulation of power is to the benefit of neither the merchants nor the residents.

We urge widespread support of the many longtime, faithful inhabitants of this wonderful part of Manhattan who oppose the BID. 
Valda Setterfield
David Gordon

Woe is once-wonderful Soho

To The Editor:
Re “Soho residents strike back, slam business district plan” (news article, Feb. 10):

I am very deeply opposed to the new invasion of our once-wonderful Soho. It is heartbreaking to see what commercialism brings to a quiet, residential area under the guise of the word “improvements.”
Michelle Stuart

Yo! Shout-out to M. Chin!

To The Editor:
Re “Soho residents strike back, slam business district plan” (news article, Feb. 10):

Please publish a shout-out to Councilmember Margaret Chin: Tell her to stand by Soho residents by unequivocally opposing a business improvement district for Soho. Streets that used to be a contemplative refuge for artists and intellectuals who live here have been commandeered by rank profiteers and their shopping-bag-toting zombies, who eat and drink and cell-phone their way from one watering hole to the next. How did a neighborhood designated for creative producers get gobbled up by mindless consumers? This trend needs no encouragement in the form of a BID, which would turn Soho into a frieze for a touristy commercial theme park.
Georgette Fleischer
Fleischer is founder, Friends of Petrosino Square

To BID or not to BID

To The Editor:
Re “Soho residents strike back, slam business district plan” (news article, Feb. 10):

I have been a resident of Soho for more than a decade. My building is an artists’ co-op, formed when Soho was a neighborhood of artists, mostly, and galleries; the neighborhood supported the residents, and the combination was so successful that Soho became known worldwide as a center of art and culture.

Now it is known as a center of high-end shops — a fancy shopping mall — and people come from all over the world to spend a lot of money here. Fine. It happens. It’s a shame, of course (except to the real estate developers), but it happens. Developers everywhere have invested in areas, raised rents and driven people out. Soho’s situation is regrettable, but not unique.

But now they are trying to make Soho a BID. Business improvement districts are for struggling neighborhoods, to give them needed support so that they can flourish and grow. Detroit, for example, could use a few. Soho is not Detroit. It didn’t lose its industry (unless you count art, which I doubt the City Planning Commission does). It’s a prosperous neighborhood, to put it mildly.

Having lots of tourists is not grounds for a BID. Being annoyed about giving these tourists directions does not mean that Soho needs a BID — it means that there are too many tourists. Already they crowd the sidewalks so thickly the city had to add pedestrian lanes in the street and even then it’s so impossible on weekends — try walking a dog or two down Prince St. on a Saturday — that I long ago started going far out of my way to avoid my own neighborhood. I’d rather not do that.

Please, let’s preserve what’s left of Soho. The residents have lost enough over the years. Let’s leave our neighborhood in the hands of the people who live here, who pay taxes — which fund sanitation — and don’t need, or want, another agency to fund.

All of this is a long way of saying: I do not support a Soho BID.
Caroline Treadwell

Better not force BID

To The Editor:
Re “Soho residents strike back, slam business district plan” (news article, Feb. 10):

As a longtime resident of Soho I have watched the area change, almost always against the wishes of the community.

Now the City Planning Commission is once again disregarding the wishes of the community and trying to force this BID into a community that has continually lost services — such as our post office — and is overrun with tourists.

My husband and I are emphatically against having a BID. 
Marcia Godosky

Soho is getting unsafe

To The Editor:
Re “Soho residents strike back, slam business district plan” (news article, Feb. 10):

As a longtime, 32-year resident of Soho, I’m very troubled that commercial interests are taking over what was supposed to be a mixed-use neighborhood. The mix has instead devolved into a grand outlet, with sweatshop-fed retail stores that make landlords and developers — and in the end, city entities — salivate at the residents’ expense.

The bottom line is density. The only solution is rezoning Broadway into a vendor-free zone. The city does not enforce the very laws it puts in — such as administrative codes to free pedestrians from obstruction, or to ban unapproved vendors.

The situation has become dangerous. Density causes danger, not only because residents can’t get out of their buildings on Broadway, but, according to the Fifth Precinct, theft has gone up exponentially because the thief is lost so easily in the crowd. There was a gunpoint robbery at Dean and Deluca last year.

The Soho BID has given us nothing that will assure us that they will fix this situation other than cleaning our streets. The more people, the more garbage, the more need for extra sanitation services: a beautiful concentric circle.
Pier Consagra

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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