Volume 73, Number 45 | March 10 -16, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Oh, now we’re getting concerned

To The Editor:
We commend the “Stop the Over Development of the Far West Village” meeting on March 10 at 7 p.m. at 75 Morton St., but let’s not fool ourselves. For at least the past 15 years (I’ve been here longer) this has been going on and now we wake up to the “Oh baby! They’re over developing the Far West Village?” Give me a break!

I have a question. Where was our community board — and the whole cast of characters that were supposed to be protecting our community? Did our local leadership just fold up and go home? Am I supposed to believe we “just” realized that we are being overdeveloped?

The fact that the Meat Market has been designated historic and not the Far West Village indicates something’s not right here.

Please don’t misinterpret me; I am in favor of our community’s development and improvement, but within limits. That is, not creating a high-rise fortress wall on the “Gold Coast” of the Hudson and the proposed big-box store that will eventually be on Pier 40 — or, who knows, will it be a stadium? Why exactly wasn’t a plan approved for Pier 40? Ever wonder? Nothing surprises me anymore.

Re “Concern historic lane being ‘obliterated’” (news article, Feb. 25):

“It’s a construction procedure to control water flow to the street. The architect and developer of Charles Street are dedicated to preserving and maintaining the historic characteristics of the site.”

Translation: “Keep rainwater out of our construction pit and worry about the cobblestones later....”

By the way, whenever I speak of the Richard Meier-designed towers on West St. I refer to them now as the “Projects.”

Barry Weiser

Calls foul on Basketball City

To The Editor:
Re “Basketball City is becoming a political football” (news article, Feb. 25):

I was disappointed to read in The Villager that Bruce Radler, president of Basketball City, has reversed his publicly stated position as to when Basketball City will leave Pier 63 in the Hudson River Park. I am president of Chelsea Waterside Park Association, an organization established 18 years ago to secure a park on the water, including the location where Basketball City has an interim use. The agreement between the Hudson River Park Trust and Basketball City was that at the end of its lease Basketball City had the option to extend its lease twice if H.R.P.T. was not ready to start construction in its area. Basketball City has now extended two times, and the second extension ends on Dec. 31, 2004.

Mr. Radler attended a Community Board 4 Waterfront Committee meeting several months ago to introduce his new subtenant, the Manhattan unit of the Mounted Police. At that meeting of the Waterfront Committee, of which I am a member, I asked Mr. Radler twice if Basketball City was leaving at the end of 2004. He assured me both times that he was. I asked him twice because there is a long history of Basketball City not doing what it said it was going to do. The Mounted Police captain at that meeting stated that there would be a new stable for his horses at a different location by Dec. 31, 2004. He also assured us if the stable was not ready by that date, there were backup facilities available.

Basketball City has always known that its use was interim and that its location is the keystone of the Van Valkenburgh design for Chelsea Cove. Mr. Radler should be required to adhere to his original legal contract and his verbal agreement.

Robert Trentlyon
Trentlyon is president,
Chelsea Waterside Park Association

Villagers’ kindness was appreciated

To The Editor:
As many of you know by word of mouth or through The Villager’s obituary, my beloved wife, Betsy, died at our home on Morton St. on Feb. 9 after a long battle with breast cancer. She was much loved in the neighborhood, but because she insisted that her illness not control her life, many people were aware that she was ill but few knew how seriously. As a result her death came as a shock.

Over the past few years she relied on the incredible kindness and discretion of hundreds of friends, neighbors, shop owners, restaurants and countless others in our neighborhood to help her live her life to the fullest until close to the end. To be able to walk around her beloved Village and never have her disease a topic of conversation was a relief and a joy. These were simple but very profound acts of understanding and compassion.

It reminded us constantly of what a very special place this neighborhood is. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for such a precious gift.

A memorial service for Betsy is planned for April 3, 2004, at 2 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House on Stuyvesant Place. All are welcome.

Jeffrey, Gardner and Lucy Lydon

You can’t trust an old Yippie

To The Editor:
  Based on one of the mottos of the Yippies — that you can’t trust anyone over 30 — I had some difficulty believing the promise expressed by aging Yippie Pie Man Aaron Kay in his letter to the editor, “Convention campers vow nonviolence” (March 3), that the 2004 Republic Convention in New York City this August will not be a replica of the infamous 1960 Democratic Convention in Chicago.
Arnold Korotkin

Voter bristled at poll treatment

To The Editor:
Re “Dogged voter” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Mar. 3):

I was happy to see your story about the poll workers. I’m going to give copies to the people I know who were not allowed to vote on Tuesday so we all can show it to the staff the next time we vote if our dogs are again barred. I’ll let you know if there are problems again, but I did speak with John Ravitz, who promised to deal with the “misinformation.”

Thanks for your quick work.

Wendy Schwartz

Con Ed neglects basic safety

To The Editor:
I am from Pennsylvania and have been reading about the unfortunate death of Jodie Lane. After reviewing numerous articles from numerous New York newspapers, I find it disturbing that none of the respondents (Con Ed, city officials, etc.) discuss the possibility that the wiring was installed improperly. For example, any homeowner must bond and ground their electrical circuits according to the National Electric Code. If an electrical circuit is properly bonded and grounded in accordance with the code, non-current-carrying conductive parts, such as metallic poles and box covers, should not stay energized. I hope my children do not have to rely on taped or insulated wire. Any well-trained electrician could describe the purpose for and requirements for proper bonding and grounding.

John Kaldon
Kaldon is an electrician and president,
Broad Run Consultants, which trains industrial electricians.

The happy goose of Gansevoort

To The Editor:
I love seeing waterfowl as I walk along the Hudson River. I am particularly fond of a large white goose that I have been seeing for several years on the north shore of the Gansevoort sanitation pier. First I observed a bowl of water near her usual spot on shore, then vegetables and grain appeared, and, by wintertime, a little cage shelter. The shelter has become more elaborate — it is now a three-sided wooden house, open on the sunny south side, with straw bedding.

One Sunday afternoon last spring I passed by at feeding time, so I introduced myself to the sanitation worker who was feeding her, whom I recognized from service on my block. He explained that when “Goosey” appeared, one of the men took her to a vet and learned that she had an injured wing. They believe she is a New England goose. She does not eat garbage — the trucks collect vegetables from local produce stores for her.

She has been sitting pretty, looking satisfied all this time. Flocks of geese and ducks come and go, looking enviously at her domain, but do not threaten it.

In late January, when the river was frozen to within yards of New Jersey, I did not see Goosey and felt worried about her fate. She has not reappeared since, and I do not have the heart to ask about her.

Mallarme wrote a haunting sonnet, “Le Cygne”— of a swan trapped in the ice because it did not flee. If this was Goosey’s fate, I’m glad that she was given these good years by the Gansevoort crew.

Barbara Chacour

‘Third Man’ has countless gems

To The Editor:
Re Jerry Tallmer’s article on “The Third Man” (“Orson Welles retrospective at Film Forum,” March 2):

Mr. Tallmer highlighted some of the fleeting, almost unnoticeable gems that help make the 1949 film a classic. There are others sprinkled throughout, such as when Major Calloway’s sergeant, after punching out Holly Martins for threatening his superior officer, learns this “drunken scribbler” — a hack writer of Western pulp fiction — is his idol and proceeds to rattle off the titles of a few of his favorite works that nobody every heard of. Or when Martins, invited to lecture on modern literature, becomes befuddled when asked his thoughts on “James Joyce and the stream of consciousness.” Later, when questioned on the writer who had influenced him the most, he nonchalantly replies, “Zane Gray,” as the lecture’s moderator lamely tries damage control by calling it “Mr. Marlins’ little joke.”

There are some little-known aspects of the film. While it is based upon the novel — more of a novella, as I recall — Graham Greene acknowledged he wrote that first based upon Alexander Korda’s idea for the movie because he had difficulty writing directly for the screen. Also, separate versions of “The Third Man” were distributed for American and British markets. They were virtually identical except for the opening scene that pans a war-weary and grungy Vienna with separate voiceovers — Trevor Howard for the British version and Joseph Cotton for the American.

For whatever reasons, following the death in 1965 of David Selznick, who co-produced the film, the copyright for “The Third Man” was never renewed and fell into the public domain, at least in this country. It became a royalties-free staple on television, probably contributing to some of Mr. Tallmer’s two-dozen viewings.

Martin Fox

Art war ‘stooges’ and ‘radicals’

To the Editor
Re: “Downtown art war rages” (letter, by Larry White, Mar. 3):

Larry White’s letter reveals that he has ultimately come around to agreeing with what I’ve been writing for 10 years: That Community Board 2 is anti-street artist. Now that Downtown is the focus of at least four new vendor restrictions aimed at artists, we are going to see the art wars heat up like never before.

C.B. 2 was the community board that in 1993 initiated the controversial street artist arrest policy that later became one of the more embarrassing highlights of the Giuliani administration. Then-councilmember Kathryn Freed and her longtime C.B. 2 cohort, Soho Alliance director Sean Sweeney, joined forces with the BID’s in an effort to eliminate street artists from all public spaces. In response to their persecution, A.R.T.I.S.T. members filed and won numerous lawsuits guaranteeing street artists their rights on all streets and in all New York City parks.

Since then, Freed’s successor, Councilmember Alan Gerson, has continued C.B. 2 and the Downtown Alliance’s misguided efforts to undermine the rights of street artists, albeit in far more subtle ways than Councilmember Freed, Sean Sweeney or Mayor Giuliani ever tried.

Please don’t call Homeland Security, but I’m the “radical” that Councilmember Gerson’s street artist surrogate, Larry White, keeps alluding to in his various letters to The Villager. My “radical” position and that of A.R.T.I.S.T. is that we insist on full First Amendment rights for all street artists.

It’s nice to see that despite Mr. White’s colorful language comparing our advocacy efforts to a “monkey virus,” Larry’s finally beginning to realize that giving in to people who want nothing less than to eliminate you is a losing proposition. If Larry still has the right to sell art on the street after this next round of legislation, protests and lawsuits, it will be us “radicals” that he’ll owe it to.

Robert Lederman
Lederman is president, A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists’ Response To Illegal State Tactics)

Don’t blame Bush for economy

To The Editor:
John Kerry is misleading America. It is egregiously dishonest for Kerry to politicize the employment issue and blame President Bush for job loss that began under the Clinton administration and was exacerbated by 9/11 — an issue that John Kerry refuses to acknowledge or discuss.

The recession that John Kerry blames President Bush for began in the third quarter of 2000, on Bill Clinton’s watch. According to the Joint Economic Committee, severe job loss began in July of 2000, also on Bill Clinton’s watch. Bill Clinton did nothing to remedy the situation, and it is blatantly dishonest for John Kerry to blame President Bush — and for the media to happily repeat this fallacious charge.

John Kerry is lying, and the media must stop perpetuating this lie. An honest, objective media would question Kerry’s assertions instead of repeating them, unchallenged.

Jonathan M. Stein


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