Volume 81, Number 14 | September 1 - 7, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Inhumane to relocate seniors

To The Editor:
Re “Seniors and staff fight to keep open E. B’way residence” (news article, Aug. 25):

Very generous of the Bialystoker board of directors that “nobody is being thrown out into the street.” Is that the new bar one must meet in caring for the poor?

The only problem is that anyone who has ever had to place a beloved in a nursing home knows the crucial need for our most vulnerable citizens to have stability and confidence in their homes and the people around them.

How do they even begin to deal with the fear of leaving everything they know at such an age? As any administrator or staff member at a good nursing home knows, to make it a viable residence you need relatives and friends and community nearby with regular, steady access.

The fact that Bialystoker’s former and current board chairpersons, Winston and Meister, had their parents and grandparents enjoy their final days here makes it even more egregious. Do the current seniors and their families deserve less than these men’s family members did?

And a board member would benefit from the building’s sale? Really?

At the end of their days, elders deserve mercy, above all, from those of us in a position to dispense it. There is no excuse for tearing elders out of their neighborhoods. None.

When it profited Winston’s and Meister’s families, this place mattered to them. Now they need to work with elected officials and billionaires to find a way to make this work. I believe that is what a board does.

On the other hand, they can help move these people into their new “state regulated” rooms with no one they know, and fewer visits from people they do know.

How about they look into these seniors’ eyes and tell them that it’s really for the best — so some new condo can be built.

Unconscionable that this would even be allowed to go this far.
K Webster

More than a nursing home

To The Editor:
Re “Seniors and staff fight to keep open E. B’way residence” (news article, Aug. 25):

Soon there will be few examples of Jewish history and culture on the L.E.S. Gone are such institutions as Gertel’s, Ratner’s, Bernstein’s on Essex, the Eighth St. Shul, Young Israel and the First Romanian Synagogue. Anshei Meseritz synagogue could possibly be next, and on and on.

And now the Bialystoker Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. The building reflects the people who live in the community. It shows how we care for our community’s health and the elderly. It carries a legacy which continues over decades. It’s a building that comforts and services hundreds of people — a whole community. It carries the memories and the history of the people of the area. The architecture reflects a golden age.

The money after the property is bought and sold gets divided among a few people, gets lost in the mix. The money goes into fat pockets — and the community loses — again, and again and again. Does anyone care about the people?

Re “LA II story seems dubious” (letter, July 21, by Paul Thomas Martin):

It doesn’t seem to matter which esteemed author researched, fact-checked and did a Keith Haring history book — LA II, Angel Ortiz, is missing credits. I am sure you would be offended if it was your name left out — again and again. And let’s not argue about the Whitney Museum tour; although I believe LA II’s story, let’s just mention the oversized, expensive, authoritative Whitney Keith Haring book — check those omissions.

It’s easy to see the influence of LA II on Keith Haring. They were like twins. Working with LA II, Keith goes from a graphic artist to a fine artist.

But LA II is not the P.R. person Keith was. In fact, one could say it was the opposite. LA II and the lawsuits — that’s a story in and of itself. I’m not sure, though, who Paul Thomas Martin’s friend is with the story about LA II and the “six figure” sales of his artwork. Interesting. But where can this be verified?
Clayton Patterson

BID will be a big burden

To The Editor:
Re “Back the Chinatown BID” (editorial, July 21):

We, the Chinatown Business Improvement District opponents, do not believe the Chinatown BID steering committee’s claim that everyone will be paying a small amount for large benefits. In their own formation documents lie the keys to their power and ability to increase their collection of much more money from the taxpayers, if they so desire.

This fine print in the BID documents (“Chinatown BID N110156BDM Source of Funding”) places the property owners in the vulnerable position of potentially being liable for increases up to 20 percent. An additional 20 percent in taxes is a frightening prospect for anyone, let alone for small property owners who have had to pay steadily increasing property taxes, water bills, utility bills, fuel bills and maintenance costs, as well as for Local Law 11 compliance.

If the BID is mismanaged and fails, the BID’s backers can smile with their hands in the till while the property owners are stuck scrambling to pay the bill in perpetuity. The property owners will face even more difficult times ahead if they cannot pay for the levied taxes assessed by the BID.

Considering how the pro-BID organizers have prevented their opponents from legally voicing their opposition to the BID, attempted to distort their own ballot results, and bashed us in the press when we have tried to educate the community about a BID, how can we trust them? We cannot. Therefore, it is likely they will use similar deceptive tactics in the future when attempting to persuade the City Council to increase their BID fees up to the 20 percent maximum, if they so desire. At that point, the property owners and businesses will be devastated!

Unlike other BIDs that have many large properties or a large number of commercial tenants that can help offset the costs, many of the Chinatown properties are small. There is a limit as to how much the owners and businesses can realistically afford the BID fees/taxes before pulling up stakes, thereby leaving fertile ground for developers, who will, in essence, force the small businesses and Chinatown residents out. The BID is steering our Chinatown community not toward boom — but bust!
Eugene Leung

Wrote the book on Jewels

To The Editor:
While I was reading Scoopy’s Notebook for Aug. 11 (“Turning over a new leaf”) the photograph of L.E.S. Jewels reading his anti-gentrification poem reminded me of when I first took note of him. As described in the following excerpt from my Aug. 10, 2005, journal entry, he was participating in a poetry event in Tompkins Square Park:

“Because the area is is semi-shaded in the late afternoon I found a seat by the Avenue A side of the horseshoe walk. While I wrote I noticed that rows of folding chairs were being set up on the plaza. When I had written for a requisite period of time I decided to investigate.

“Will Brown was among those who had taken a seat under the trees. After I had sat down I noted a sign reading: ‘Park Lit — Grass Roots Literature — Readings of New Works by New York Writers.’

“Moments later a competent looking woman stepped forward to speak. While she was discussing the history of the park she said the first big riot of the current era occurred in 1989. After she announced the first reading by a female poet, one of the tattooed punk park druggies materialized to recite the beginning stanzas of ‘Howl.’ His diction and delivery were oddly effective.

“Though I considered writing a note to the lady who was conducting the program to tell her the big riot in the park took place in 1988, I decided that would involve staying to the end of the reading. Edward McCain was the next scheduled poet. He read ‘Ode to a Lake’ from his collection ‘Moon Garden.’ When the punk guy began to heckle him Edward McCain looked all shook up. By then I was ready to go home.”
Philip Van Aver

Wide streets, tall buildings

To The Editor:
Re “Landmarks trims height off Washington St. addition” (news story, Aug. 18):

This article made me think of the two apartment houses on the east side of Sixth Ave. north and south of Washington Place. These buildings are both six stories tall, but are designed to appear even shorter; the top floor of each is set back and can only be seen from across the street. The buildings would look beautiful on a different street. On Sixth Ave., a broad north-south artery in Manhattan, they look inappropriate to the point of being ugly. If they were twice as tall — or four times as tall — their beauty could be appreciated.

Fifth Ave. is so much more attractive than Sixth Ave. One of the reasons is that the buildings there are tall enough to frame a wide street.
George Jochnowitz

Old-school political muscle

To The Editor:
I noticed your sidebar “Bucks for Bam” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Aug. 18) and it hit me. I saw it right after your front-page feature on the Department of Consumer Affairs’ effort to take Jerry Delakas’s newspaper kiosk on Astor Place.

To me, this is an example of how the reformation of New York County’s Democratic Party has failed its citizenry.

Had Jerry been a member of a regular organization club back when, all he would have had to do is pay his dues and his problem would have gone away, since the Consumer Affairs commissioner, were one needed based on the club system, would have been a Democratic district leader appointed by a Democratic mayor.

New York County’s fancy Democrats today embrace President Obama to serve their interests.

They enthusiastically donate money to fund TV spots.

Us less-than-fancy Democrats, however, can only hope that things will change — that we’ll get some of that money — so that an immigrant, one who has been our good friend and neighbor “for almost 25 years,” won’t be evicted.

After all, fancy Democrats don’t raise money for judges, and reform Democrats can’t bring commissioners to their knees.
Billy Sternberg

Here we go again!

To The Editor:
Re “Schnabel scaffold looks like it’s going for the full Chupi” (news brief, Aug. 25):

I’ll be sorry to see the faded paint — which I happen to like — covered and primed for another artistic assault! I painted an 18-inch-by-24-inch poster map of Greenwich Village and his building is on it. Guess I’ll have to update.
Lynn Lieberman

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, 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, 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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