Volume 74, Number 9 | June 30 - July 6, 2004



Letters to the Editor

N.Y.U.-Book Country collusion

To The Editor:
Re “Board 2 throws the book; votes no to fest in square” (news article, June 23):

We take exception to Aubrey Lees’ statement in last week’s article by David Ellis on the full Community Board 2 meeting. The board voted down the request from New York Is Book Country for using Washington Sq. Park and the surrounding streets for a two-day event in October. Lees was quoted in the Ellis article as saying, “Those people don’t care about the park” — which is ludicrous! The Washington Pl. Block Association cares enough about the park, our neighborhood and the residents’ rights for a quality of life to show up in force at the C.B. 2 meeting to voice strong objections to paralyzing our community with an annual event that is much too large to be accommodated by our Village streets and would monopolize the park for two weekend days for a commercial endeavor.

For 25 years, the successful and worthy event has used nine long Fifth Ave. blocks, from 48th to 57th Sts., with wide side streets for truck and van parking. They also had an arrangement with a troop of 50 young Sea Scouts who each year erected the specialized tents for the exhibitors, delivering them on flatbed trucks from a warehouse in Connecticut and taking care of the breakdown and cleanup after the one-day event for return to the warehouse. According to the commodore of this Sea Scout troop, the fees earned from this endeavor allowed the scouts to spend each summer sailing and practicing sea safety. They have been told that their services will not be required in the Village, and they are stuck with the tents and equipment in the warehouse and are waiting for payment. This annual book fair, with its reported 100,000 attendees, just will not work in our narrow Village streets.

N.Y.I.B.C. is presented to the city by no less than The New York Times. The chairperson for the event is Alyse Meyers, who lives in the Village. This event will block traffic, preventing fire trucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles, not to mention the problems for anyone trying to get around blocked streets in taxis. The noise level we suffered during N.Y.U.’s Grad Alley and graduation during the setup and breakdown was horrendous, and there were possibly 10,000 attendees for those events. We cannot imagine the disturbance 100,000 attendees and hundreds of exhibitors’ tents and trucks would cause during setup and teardown stages. But no consideration is being given to the community during this planning. There seemed to be no logic to the relocation of this event.

A new executive director of N.Y.I.B.C. came on board last year right before the 2003 event, Ann Binkley, an N.Y.U. graduate student. This is a young woman with a dream of creating a totally new New York Is Book Country extravaganza. Although N.Y.U. has denied any connection to N.Y.I.B.C., Ann Binkley’s Web site tells us that this year the presenters will be The New York Times and New York University. She has recently announced on her Web site that this year’s event will be held in Washington Sq. Park and on the N.Y.U. campus and surrounding streets, despite Community Board 2’s decision to the contrary. N.Y.U. insists that that they “have absolutely nothing to do with any street fair,” but Binkley tells us that N.Y.U. is supplying all the inside space, their campus and their tents, platforms and equipment, etc. needed for the event.

Ed Gold’s recent column about N.Y.U.’s lack of consideration for the community (“Appetite for expansion: N.Y.U.’s seems insatiable,” talking point, June 16) was quite timely and on point. An event of this size is not acceptable in our Village streets for two days, and it is not acceptable to the many exhibitors who travel to the city by truck with their books. They will now have no place to store their books or their trucks overnight. This has always been a one-day event and the exhibitors are not prepared for a two-day event, and are opposed to the move.

The Greenwich Village Block Associations, representing more than 30 separate block associations, is strongly opposed to the relocation of N.Y.I.B.C. to the Village and it agrees with Community Board 2’s decision. N.Y.U. is staying in the background, so far. If N.Y.U. was considerate of the neighborhood and developed an honest communication with the community, there would be much more respect for the university, but they continue to be underhanded and evasive in their dealings with the Village community.

Ann Binkley will keep pursuing her dream of a campus Disneyland for the book fair, and with N.Y.U.’s backing, the Village community will be ignored. It seems The New York Times has decided to take a backseat this year while this continues. The community residents have voted a resounding “no” to move this traditional Fifth Ave. fair to our neighborhood.

Lezly Ziering
Ziering is president, Washington Pl. Block Association


Why Mosaic Man hates HOWL!

To The Editor:
Re “Glorious Mosaic (tirade)” (Scoopy’s Notebook, June 23):

Your Scoopy’s Notebook piece about Jim Power and his obsessive concerns about the HOWL! Festival obscures the fact that Jim has done a lot more than a few lightpole mosaics. His wall mosaics are among the best examples of public art in the city and his work reminds us of what a mecca for the visual arts the East Village used to be. 

In 1986, I remember being unable to get a show for my work, so I strapped my large paintings to my back and became a traveling art show (People magazine, October ’86). It was during this time we had our first conversations. While I do not always agree with the various causes he is embroiled in, he is a great artist whose work is an inspiration to myself and others. 

By the way, Art Guerra’s fall departure from 13th St. to Williamsburg points to yet another low-water mark for the E.V. art scene. A friend once compared the E.V. to the land of broken toys in “Rudolph.” While I admire the excellent production value of the well-meaning HOWL! Festival, the true artistic zeitgeist of the E.V. belongs to those nonconformists to whom such organization is repugnant. 
 
Jay Wilson


Stonewall book disses Veterans

To The Editor:
I am writing you regarding David Carter’s new book on the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion.

As the former president and co-founder of the Stonewall Veterans Association, over the years, I and other Stonewall Veterans have had numerous negative interactions with Mr. Carter. These “informal” meetings have never been positive ones. While I have no objection to giving interviews, I do not trust Mr. Carter and feel that, as a participant in the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, he should never have written this book. Mr. Carter has done nothing but add to the tragedy, the friction and the continuing problems that the surviving Stonewall Veterans have experienced and continue to experience over the years.

I called St. Martin’s Press last year and spoke to the book’s editor and asked to see a copy of the manuscript. He refused, even though galleys of books are routinely sent out. Are the veterans of a series of incidents that Mr. Carter is supposedly documenting historically, chopped liver? Hardly. But the editor treated me with great disdain and was clearly not interested in accuracy! Let me remind the public that St. Martin’s Press publishes “gay” books and makes money off of the “gay” public who made them what they are today. The editor clearly did not want to deal with the Stonewall Veterans and has published a book that may indeed be a distortion and riddled with inaccuracies and misinformation. So far, I’ve not had the energy to pick up the book to thumb through. After losing several Stonewall Veterans this year to a heart attack and cancer, my heart is full of sorrow.

Again, my dealings with Mr. Carter have always been negative and I suspect his book is a reflection of Mr. Carter’s lack of ethics and not really wanting to know the truth. Instead, he writes “his version” of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. To those interested in finding out more, go online and don’t buy this book. And to St. Martin’s Press, shame on you!

Jeremiah Newton


It’s the apple of his eye

To The Editor:
This weekend I went to the waterfront park at Charles St. to check out the late Stephan Weiss’s brass sculpture “The Apple.” I love it! It is a wonderful, and lively piece of art perfectly placed in a small sitting garden at the water’s edge. I never met the artist, but this piece speaks volumes about his playfully creative and exuberant spirit. I am certain his essence will live on through his art.

If I was able to, I would vote to make it a permanent installation. It graces our neighborhood in a most appropriate manner, and I personally wish to thank Donna Karan for sharing it with us all.

Lawrence White

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