Volume 80, Number 50 | May 12 - 18, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the editor

Are buskers really to blame?

To The Editor:
Re “Crackdown on crowds and loud music in Wash. Square” (news article, May 5):

How is it that a performer is responsible for the crowd that might stop to listen or gawk in a public place? Does this law apply to a mime or Philippe Petit or even someone with a cute animal pet that draws public attention? Curious crowds seem to be spontaneous and not the responsibility of anyone but themselves. Twenty people might conceivably gather to watch a hawk circle and kill its prey. Who gets the ticket then? This regulation has nothing to do with noise.
Karen Brooks

Ended on a sour note

To The Editor:
Last Saturday [April 30] around 5 p.m. my husband and I were enjoying a New Orleans band in Washington Square Park. Toddlers were dancing and a friendly gathering took delight in the entertaining band. However, all that changed in a moment when two park guards wrote out a $250 summons to one of the band members for “unlawful assembly.” The guard explained that any gathering of more than 20 requires a permit in the park. He told the clearly upset band member that he could go to court in June and the ticket would probably be dismissed.

Can this really be true? Since none of this is posted, how are park entertainers supposed to know about this? How could they possibly control an “unlawful assembly” of more than 20 people? Issuing a summons for park entertainment is an assault on the historic spirit of Washington Square Park.
Desiree Perez Rodriguez

Fuming over smoking ban

To The Editor:
Re: “No butts about it: Park ban” (news brief, May 5):

This law will be paid the respect it deserves. For good measure, we will be holding a “Smoke-in in the Park” on Sat., May 28, at Brighton Beach, on the boardwalk at Brighton Sixth St., at 2 p.m. Rain date is May 29. Contact C.L.A.S.H. for more details.
Audrey Silk
Silk is founder, N.Y.C. Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.)

Couldn’t rob their spirit

To The Editor:
Re “ ‘Bernie’s Blues’: Couple sell cherished memories for a song” (news article, May 5):

What a caring and sensitive article about a wonderful couple. So many of us were robbed of our investments, our IRA’s, our 401(k)’s, our jobs, our homes in this financial thievery over the past five years. And we watched as our taxpayer dollars bailed out the privileged.

But they could only take material things, not the wondrous spirit that Cynthia and Ted and the rest of We the People carry inside us! God bless them.
Jacqueline Kroschell

Not buying Chin’s bag bill

To The Editor:
Re “Concerns rise over vending; Chin targets fake bag buyers” (news article, April 28):

So, 20 years after trying to become a city councilmember to represent Chinatown and Lower Manhattan, Margaret Chin finally won. It was a victory, one this writer was happy to see.

So, now it troubles me that she has taken on what I believe to be a non-issue, the selling of fake bags in Chinatown. She seems to be joining the mayor and the Police Department in claiming that it is or would be a major victory to eradicate the selling of these so-called fake bags. Now Councilmember Chin even wants to arrest the people who buy the bags.

I have some questions:

Wouldn’t spending this energy instead on eradicating the sale of illegal drugs be a much greater objective?

Wouldn’t spending this energy on bringing landlords who prey on tenants of rent-regulated apartments, trying to drive them out, be a much greater objective?

Why is protecting the so-called trademark infringement of, say, Louis Vuitton or Gucci more important than protecting the citizens of Chinatown and Lower Manhattan from real crimes?

Who of the buyers of these bags would go up town to, say, Bloomingdale’s and pay $2,000 for one bag? Whose sales are they hurting?

Why hasn’t there been a proposed law to arrest the buyers of the services of prostitutes, for instance, if one wants to target buyers? What about the buyers of illegal cigarettes? The tax loss from that industry hurts New York State and City tax income far greater than fake bag sales.

How do we know that the sale of these bags supports terrorism? Where is the proof? Yes, we know that these bags — and probably legally made bags, clothing and many other items — are made in factories that are sweatshops. Why not go after the sweatshops that make all items sold here?

In fact, some of these bags might be the real thing, and come from a side business run by the owners/workers of the factories that actually make the bags. Not that I am in any way advocating the stealing of bags from factories, but get the facts straight before making claims of terrorism support, for instance.

Since 9/11, Chinatown has suffered economically. By targeting the tourists and others who go to Chinatown to allegedly purchase these bags — who then go to restaurants, and also spend money in the shops that sell many other items — these tourists will stay away. That will have an even more economically devastating effect on Chinatown.

I want my tax money to support a police force and a government that make a priority the protection of the citizens who need protecting from illegal drug sales in their communities and the crimes resulting in drug addiction, unscrupulous landlords, child pornographers and on and on. The crackdown on trademark infringement to protect companies who do not hire American workers is not my priority.
Anne K. Johnson

Politicians must do more

To The Editor:
Re “We’re facing an even bigger problem than fracking” (talking point, by Jennifer Davis, April 21) and “Activists lament city’s disappointing ‘benchmark’ ” (news article, April 28):

Yes, the people I speak to from the West Village are irate. Our elected officials show the movie “Gasland” but they don’t educate their constituents about the dangers of fracking or methane pipelines. And they don’t rally their colleagues in elected positions to take positions against these.

We need real leadership from elected officials (Stringer? Gennaro? Duane?) and not just easy condemnations or introduction of legislation in some committee so they can say later, “You see, I was against it.”

I don’t understand why the “green” mayor continues to allow purchases of rainforest wood.
Linda Turillo

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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