Volume 80, Number 40 | March 3 - 9, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

‘Cappuccino Party’ and its clout

To The Editor:
Re “Gennaro ‘reso’ has Italian blood boiling; Fashion show offer fails” (news article, Feb. 24):

How mystifying that so many elected officials endorse a cultural constituency absent from the district it claims. How very strange that none of New York City’s notable Italian chefs, none of Zagat’s top 10 Italian restaurants, none of New York City’s hundreds of Italian designers (fashion or furnishings) can be found on Mulberry St. — much less, be enticed to exhibit at the Feast of San Gennaro.

And how very sad that 95 percent of the population of a neighborhood is expected to turn the other cheek as the bullying continues. (A Feb. 22 New York Times article reported that, according to the latest census figures, Little Italy’s Italian-American population has shrunk to just 5 percent.) We are quite sure that at its last evolution from an Irish to an Italian community in the 1920’s, the newcomers were not nearly so compliant nor were their small business owners.

The “Cappuccino Party” has reduced the possibility for a viable, realistic, income-generating, community-collaborative event to the worst kind of non-constructive dialogue — intimidation — complete with a virtual “crosshairs on a map” and a Facebook page with more than 3,000 friends, very few of whom vote, live or operate a business in the district. This is not only bad marketing, it is bad politics — on every level.

Thank you, Community Board 2, for being so conspicuous a voice for reason.
Zella Jones

Amazing San Gennaro process

To The Editor:
Re “Gennaro ‘reso’ has Italian blood boiling; Fashion show offer fails” (news article, Feb. 24):

Lincoln Anderson’s article on San Gennaro’s fight to remain in its entirety was very well done except for one thing. I did not say that “with the setup and breakdown the feast really takes up Mulberry St. for 15 days.” If memory serves me correctly, I said that the feast opponents are saying Mulberry St. is closed for 14 days for the reasons mentioned.

As a Figli di San Gennaro board member, I am aware of setup and breakdown times, but Mulberry St. is not closed for 15 days to my recollection. Especially during the breakdown — between the rapid takedown of the stands and the incredible garbage pickup — one can hardly believe an amazing 11-day feast took place there the night before. The transformation is actually quite amazing.
Emily DePalo
DePalo is a board member, Figli di San Gennaro

Editor’s note: The Villager stands by its reporting.

We’re ready for Fratta and Co.

To The Editor:
Re “Gennaro ‘reso’ has Italian blood boiling; Fashion show offer fails” (news article, Feb. 24):

Thanks, Villager, for a fair, balanced article — something we aren’t seeing much of in other coverage. It’s interesting to note that Mr. Fratta plans a protest demonstration. If he goes through with that dumb idea, he can expect a counterdemonstration to welcome him back to a neighborhood he fled many, many years ago — to escape the same quality-of-life horrors he now seems so nostalgic for.
Elliott Hurwitt

Be honest on 35 Cooper Square

To The Editor:
Re “Hamill decries ‘vandalism’ of old Cooper Sq. house” (news article, Feb. 24):

When writing an accurate account of 35 Cooper Square and why it has not been given landmark status, it requires some honest evaluation of the building’s recent history. The writer contends that the reason landmark status was not given was because of the brownstone coating applied to the exterior. This is the least impacting of the changes.

In 1998 records show that the entire ground-floor facades on the west and north elevations were severely altered. A series of doors were added, opening up the existing masonry walls on these two elevations. The interior was also completely gutted in 1998 at all floors, with the only remaining elements being an interior brick wall in two locations on the second floor. All that remains of this early-19th-century building is its profile, and I feel this is not enough to warrant landmark status. A photo found on Wikipedia taken in 1957 clearly shows an earlier, revised version of the front-entrance facade.

Therefore, let’s look at the entire history and paint an accurate condition of the building and where it now stands. I would be the first to fight for saving a historic structure, but let’s be honest with all the facts so that a true appraisal can be made.
Mark Strayhorn

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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