Volume 80, Number 42 | March 17 - 23, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Playground devil’s bargain

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. gives a preview of its superblocks open-space plan” (news article, March 10):

I sold my soul and son to N.Y.U. for $15.

That was the price of the coveted key to the gated playground that everyone calls “Key Park.” The N.Y.U.-controlled playground is located in Washington Square Village, on the north superblock, where N.Y.U. wants to build the two “boomerang buildings.”

It has been three-plus years since N.Y.U. last bestowed a key on anyone in the community. The official line was that N.Y.U. was reviewing “the usage of the park and its capacity.” Uh…sure.

Then, a few weeks ago, more than 100 families on the years-long wait list were granted access to the park. The timing was uncanny, given the anticipated application of N.Y.U. to build on the superblocks.

I was elated for my almost 3-year-old son. I immediately signed up for a key.

But my soul will burn in hell. I expect that N.Y.U.’s building application will tout the scores of families served by the park. I have a funny feeling N.Y.U. may forget to mention its poor stewardship and that many of us were excluded until it was opportune for N.Y.U. to use us.

Please forgive me for the sin I have committed in the name of my son.
Chris Lopata
Lopata is a resident, 200 Mercer St. Apartment Corporation

An environmental disaster

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. gives a preview of its superblocks open-space plan” (news article, March 10):

Not very intellectually stimulating plans being presented by N.Y.U. Wherever they go they seem to not only uproot longstanding community facilities (and their members) but to have really no concern for the environment in the Village. As anyone knows who’s ever watched the sun during the day, the new 17-story building replacing Coles would be blocking sun from the east in the morning and then cast long shadows from the west onto Mercer St. Aside from factors such as radioactivity [sic] from N.Y.U. faculty and student cell phones, there would be a diminishment of Vitamin D from the sun’s rays. Not very intelligent from an educational community!
Sylvia Rackow
Rackow is a member, Neighborhood Preservation Committee, 505 LaGuardia Place

Chin’s Soho cred is eroding

To The Editor:
Re “Soho residents wrangle over BID, artist-in-residence” (news article, March 10):

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Though your article carried the essence of the issues discussed by the 104 Soho residents at the Puffin Room community meeting, it gave short shrift to Councilmember Chin’s failure to meet her constituents. I remember well, in the summer of 2009, Chin campaigning at the Soho Spring St. No. 6 train entrance in the morning, eagerly seeking to shake anyone’s hand or pet any dog. To brush off this meeting because it was organized by a critic (me) is truly disturbing, and the meaning was not lost to anyone at the meeting.

Chin’s absence compounded by her discretionary budget released last week that gives zero dollars to Soho and nothing to ACE — coming on the heels of her talking point column in this same paper two weeks prior where she stated her concern for ACE — reduces her credibility in Soho and around the district even further.

For the umpteenth time, Soho residents are unanimously against this BID pig no matter what color lipstick you put on it. See you on April 2.
Carl Rosenstein

A prisoner of conscience

To The Editor:
Re “Pot activist still in the joint: ‘It was all medical marijuana’ ” (news article, March 3):

I really enjoyed Lincoln Anderson’s cover story on Dana Beal. It had a bit of everything: controversy, a strong local character, and a whole lot of interesting angles to consider — including the promise of ibogaine’s curative properties for people suffering from addiction, as well as the rights of an individual to decide on how to appropriately medicate her body.

If Mr. Beal had been carrying a trunk full of booze in the car, we’d call it a tailgate party. But since it was marijuana, we call it a felony. If we take Mr. Beal at his word, that he wasn’t in transit to some regional Rainbow Gathering, but rather, was transporting medical marijuana for the benefit of people living with AIDS, M.S. and other chronic illnesses, then he is a prisoner of conscience.

In experimental programs at top universities across the country, war veterans have alleviated post-traumatic stress disorder with the use of M.D.M.A.; patients with advanced-stage cancer have eased their existential anxiety with psilocybin; and people with chronic pain and nausea have benefited tremendously from the use of marijuana. And yet, our knee-jerk, draconian laws don’t just prohibit people in need from accessing the benefits of these medications — they also muffle the very essence of debate.
Tim Doody

Free Beal, and the medicine!

To The Editor:
Re “Pot activist still in the joint: ‘It was all medical marijuana’ ” (news article, March 3):

Free our brother Dana Beal! Don’t withhold the medicine. The revolution will deal with the neo-nazi enemies of medical marijuana.
Aron Kay, a.k.a. “The Yippie Pie Man”

Rock on Dana Beal!

To The Editor:
Re “Pot activist still in the joint: ‘It was all medical marijuana’ ” (news article, March 3):

Free Dana Beal — let him out of jail!

Let him free! Let him free! Let him free!

Legalize medical marijuana, now!
Peace.
David Peel & The Lower East Side

Hearings stoke our fears

To The Editor:
Representative Peter King is holding hearings to root out terrorists — but only of the Muslim kind. Christian extremists and neo-fascists can relax. It’s paradoxical, since King was a staunch supporter of the Irish Republican Army while it was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S.

“Paddy-get-lucky-come-home.” It’s a phrase my friend Margaret taught me. It was her way of describing well-off Irish-Americans who visit Ireland with heads full of romance and a longing to feel a part of the “old country.” She was a lovely human being with a generous heart, though no love for the British empire’s historic occupation of her ravaged her homeland.

But she also took issue with Irish-Americans who furnished guns in a battle whose consequences they would never have to deal with. They would not be among the “collateral damage” killed “accidentally.”

It is hard to sort out. Someone once said, “Terrorism is the war of the poor and war is the terrorism of the rich.”

I think about the bravery of Mohammed Salman Hamdani the young Muslim E.M.S. worker who chose to join the rescue attempts on 9/11 and died doing so.

There is such a stark contrast between the sacrifice of Mohammed and the rhetoric of Peter King, who touts his loyalties from the safety of an armchair.

How does it feel for Mohammed’s mother to hear the religion that nurtured her son’s moral compass slandered wholesale? Hasn’t every sacred belief been used to excuse attacks of pitiless slaughter? When do we have an honest assessment of our own history in Muslim countries? Do we need to know what it takes to twist the human heart into a “terrorist”? Violence is force without thought; does it ever make sense to use it, no matter the “righteousness” of the cause?

But back to Irish history. Thanks to the aforementioned British empire, the Irish were once considered an inferior “race.” There was a point in our history when many Irish chose the promise of a free Ireland and a desire to be accepted in America over solidarity with enslaved Africans. It’s a cautionary tale of how quickly the oppressed can be seduced into the role of oppressor.

It’s a classic manipulation: “security” in return for losing one’s most precious resource — oneself — and, eventually, everyone else.

These “hearings” require us to decide if we allow our fears to determine how we treat an entire people. This is just the latest hunt for the “enemy living amongst us.” But as our history reminds us, if we choose wrong, the sad results are ever predictable.
K Webster

Urgent care is growing

To The Editor:
Re “Off on the right foot, urgent-care sees first patient” (news article, March 10):

I am an emergency physician, an owner of Urgent Care Manhattan and have lived in the West Village for more than 20 years. Urgent-care medical practices are a source of immediate and convenient access to medical care for minor emergencies and other occasions when you need to see a doctor now. There are now six independently owned and operated urgent-care offices in Manhattan. Four months ago there were none!  

Urgent Care Manhattan is located on the corner of W. 69th St. and Amsterdam Ave., on the Upper West Side, a short trip up 10th Ave. from the Village. We offer immediate care, a convenient location and superior service for all kinds of minor emergencies without any wait at all! All care is rendered by board-certified emergency physicians. New Yorkers should and can have better access to medical care for unanticipated illnesses and injuries.

Visit us in person (212-721-4200) or on the Web at www.urgentcaremanhattan.com .
Dr. Mark Melrose

Alphie one of the greats

To The Editor:
Re “Saint Patrick, the banner, the hat and the F.B.I.” (notebook, by Alphie McCourt, March 10):

Alphie McCourt is New York’s Brendan Behan.
Pat Fenton

Keep attacking fracking

To The Editor:
The future of New York is at stake if we choose to allow gas companies to drill in our backyards. Just recently a congressional committee issued a report revealing that gas companies have been illegally using diesel fuel in their operations, a clear violation of the Safe Water Drinking Act. Obviously, we can’t trust these companies with our welfare.

Josh Fox — director of “Gasland” and an Academy Award nominee — is calling on Barack Obama to order a nationwide moratorium. But here in New York we have a wonderful opportunity to become the first state to ban gas drilling. Governor Cuomo should honor his promise to protect the people of New York, and permanently ban all gas drilling!
Catherine Feliz

A true, twisted original

To The Editor:
Re “Cartoonist in rough shape” (letter, by Lorraine Chamberlain, Feb. 24):

S. Clay Wilson is a true original — a driver; one who puts things in motion; a gritty, besmudged captain of imagination; one of the reasons why we are who we are today. What a lovely, twisted mind he has. What a lingering influence he has. Captain Pissgums, I salute you.
Lawrence White

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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