Volume 73, Number 4 | May 26 - June 1, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Glick: Let protest use Great Lawn

To The Editor:
I am in complete agreement with last week’s excellent editorial, “Manhattan can fit protesters and the G.O.P.” (May 19). It is outrageous that United for Peace and Justice’s application to hold a rally on the Great Lawn of Central Park before the Republican National Convention has been rejected ostensibly for protection of the grass. Meanwhile, the city has, in the past, approved applications for numerous commercial events and concerts throughout Central Park, reflecting their belief that the benefits of certain events outweigh the risk of damage to lawn. Certainly the protection of citizens’ First Amendment right to free speech is such an instance.

The city’s proposal of Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens as an alternative site for the rally is ridiculous. While this site might be appropriate if the convention were held in Shea Stadium, it is not an appropriate location for a convention to be held in Madison Square Garden. Not allowing protestors to assemble near the convention site is a blatant attempt to restrict protestors’ interaction with delegates and the media.

During the Giuliani administration, the city faced similar crises of convenience when certain groups were denied the ability to express their political views. It is regrettable to see the Bloomberg administration embrace these policies wholeheartedly. When New York City applied to be the host city for the Republican National Convention, organizers certainly understood that, along with many visiting delegates, the convention would draw a large number of protestors. If the city is incapable of handling the accompanying protestors in a manner that honors their right to free expression then it should not have bid to host a convention that would necessarily draw large protests.

Deborah J. Glick
Glick is assemblymember for the 66th district

Praying we get along this summer

To The Editor:
As a resident of the West Village, I have been struggling with and sometimes against my neighbors over issues pertaining to the quality of life in our community. The concerns most adamantly expressed to me are the increased presence of drug dealers and sex workers, and the insults incurred and perceived from their presence in residential neighborhoods. What troubles me are not the safety and noise issues and feelings of apprehension that have been raised and that are being discussed, but the line of attack that seeks to categorize who belongs in the West Village and who will be the recipient of a historically tolerant community’s hospitality.

What is called for is a movement beyond tolerance and condemnation. The ultimate goal is to be able to accept — not merely tolerate — the diversity of thought and expression that shapes a vibrant community.

As residents of the West Village, we must assess our level of vulnerability. We must determine how community and neighborhood have been defined and who has gotten to participate in shaping it.

My fear is that we will spend yet another summer in an “Op Ed war.” As we exert energy name-calling and hurling accusations, there are over 8,000 L.G.B.T. young people living on the streets of New York City. There is a dangerous lack of L.G.B.T.-friendly shelters in our city for this vulnerable population. Will our quality of life debate improve the lives of marginalized populations like street youth, sex workers and the homeless? We cannot seek to improve the lives of some at the expense of others.

Perhaps this will be the summer when we jump the barrier of tolerance and make connections.

The Rev. Karen H. Senecal
Senecal is minister at Judson Memorial Church

Wilson’s war with the squirrels

To The Editor:
Re “Some tips on handling squirrels” (letter, by Marion Osmun, May 12) and “Squirrels! Let me tell you about ’em” (letter, by Cynthia Crane Story, May 19):

Marion: Thanks for your suggestions, but I’ve tried putting out plants they don’t like — since they were “unappetizing” the evil squirrels destroyed them in spite/on purpose.

Perhaps I’ll try your chopsticks trick one day (adding razor blades). One (or more) of the “rats with bushy tails” left a bone on my fire escape — a large, white rib that looked like it had been soaked in formaldehyde. And just yesterday, something placed a cracked acorn shell in the same place. This is voodoo! And I so doubt that putting up “flimsy” birdfeeders would keep these squirrels out — don’t think I haven’t seen the Duncraft catalogue that sells all these anti-squirrel feeders/devices; they must be making a fortune. I did, however, hear one successful defense strategy that makes sense and I am very much looking forward to testing: surround your plants with cacti!!

Cynthia: I’m glad someone else has experienced the frightful occurrence of full-frontal and challenging eye contact with a squirrel. The nerve of them! And is it my imagination or what; don’t you think they’re getting bigger, fluffier in the tail…BIGGGER?!

Having had numerous funerals, may I offer you my most sincere condolences for your magnolia tree, ferns, hostas (and mourning doves). I was shocked/totally depressed to hear that not even your feral cat has been able to catch these “moving targets;” I guess I won’t be putting my loud seal point cat out on the fire escape as punishment. Instead, I’ll have to threaten “triangle head” with Chinatown and roasted duck references.

And to the scary and wicked-looking woman I met in the Jefferson Market Garden, who in advising me the best way to get rid of squirrels, pantomimed the wringing of a squirrel’s neck, may I offer you even further enjoyment — recipes — squirrel cookery like Granny from “The Beverly Hillbillies” would make.

There’s Burgoo, from Kentucky, a squirrel stew of sorts (which Thomas Jefferson and other Southerners called Brunswick stew). Check out “Southern Food” by John Egerton, “Soul Food” by Sheila Ferguson and “Cajun Cuisine” by Beau Bayou Publishing Corporation, which has a lovely sounding recipe for squirrel gumbo. Furthermore, according to “The Food Journal of Lewis & Clark” by Mary Gunderson, Seaman, his dog often caught squirrels for Lewis’s dinner; his corps ate them as well.


Brit enjoys reading Villager online

To The Editor:
I live in the United Kingdom, and would like to say that even though your online newspaper is based so far away, it is written in a way that makes me feel part of the community.

It is so well laid out and easy to read.

The way the photos of some of the week’s less fortunate incidents, like the Fire Department dealing with the car fire (“Hot Wheels,” by Bob Arihood, May 19), are taken in black and white seems to intensify the moment, and create more genuine emotion.

Keep up the good work, and looking forward to reading the next issue.

Nigel Pennington

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