Volume 74, Number 23 | Octuber 6 - 12 , 2004

Letters to the editor

Thanks, from La MaMa

To The Editor:
Re “The show will go on, and on, for E. Fourth Theater Row” (news article, Sept. 29): 

What a beautiful surprise for La MaMa — my picture on your front page. I wish to thank you for honoring us in this way. We will try, as we have always tried, to be worthy of any acknowledgement that you give to us. And because you do find a way to let everyone know that we exist and that we are trying, we thank you for everything that you do. 
Ellen Stewart
Stewart is founder/artistic director, La MaMa E.T.C.

Book fair was novel attraction

To The Editor:
This weekend’s book fair was a most welcome event. Authors were there to sign books and make reading a personal experience for people of all ages.

This kind of program in the park enriches our neighborhood and harkens to the literary history of Greenwich Village.

Anne-Marie Sumner
Sumner is president, The Washington Square Association

The Village is really book country

To The Editor:
As a longtime resident of Greenwich Village (who lives just a few blocks from Washington Sq. Park), I was delighted to have New York Is Book Country in our community and in our park this past weekend. I enjoyed the panel discussions that took place throughout the weekend. What is more “Village” than discussing literature, current events and politics? In addition, I was struck by what was happening in the park. Children were running around with books in their hands, listening to authors reading and asking their parents to buy them books. I can’t remember the last time I went willingly to Washington Sq. Park and enjoyed it. And to have our community play host to such an interesting, cultural event was heartwarming and reminded me of the rich literary history and tradition that used to be such an integral part of Greenwich Village.

Thank you to New York Is Book Country, the Parks Department, N.Y.U. and all the sponsors who brought this rich, lively event to our neighborhood. I very much look forward to next year.

Eve Stuart

Overrun by ‘bucks fair’ and N.Y.U.

To The Editor:
I hope that one of your fine writers will find out how a two-day New York Is Book Country was allowed in the park. As I recall, Community Board 2 was against it, but was overruled — by whom? What happened? Can N.Y.U. just take over the park for these days? Does N.Y.U. pay any taxes?

As a resident living on the park, I am in despair. No one can stop the overrun by N.Y.U. Not only has N.Y.U. ruined the physical appearance of the park — Bobst, Schimmel and the soon-to-come law school — but it is now flooding the park with a crass, commercial hustle — N.Y.I.B.C. This is not about books, it’s about bucks. Please try to find out and expose how N.Y.I.B.C. occurred, so that it can be stopped.

N.Y.U. is allowing and promoting N.Y.I.B.C. as another P.R. stunt to try to rise above its “also-ran, commuter school” reputation. Using N.Y.I.B.C. to bring in known authors, it gives the impression they are products of N.Y.U.

Quantity not quality seems to be N.Y.U.’s motto, but it is overwhelming many residents with the blatant destruction of the neighborhood.

Mimi Green

Noise drowning out good sounds

To The Editor:
Re “New noise plan silent on smoking law’s impact” (news article, Sept. 29):

While I agree that noise and smoking in front of bars may have some relation, I believe you should do an article on the myriad of noises that confront New Yorkers beyond the one stemming from people gathering outside of bars. You also need to address the issue of impacts of noise to people’s health and well-being. Furthermore, New York has some wonderful sounds that should be retained, but these will only be heard when the overall din is lessened. I do research, write, lecture and advise anti-noise groups on hazards of noise. I also chair the Noise Committee for the Council on the Environment of New York City. You can learn about impacts of noise on people’s mental and physical health by going to www.cenyc.org; click into “noise.”

Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D.

Ready to puke over bar blasts

To The Editor:
Re “New noise plan silent on smoking law’s impact” (news article, Sept. 29):

Once again, the sleazy New York Nightlife Association rails against the mayor’s noise and smoke quality of life initiatives as if somehow residents in the city did not want business to thrive. Typically, we have heard that group justify the abuses of their patrons as a necessary evil for their economic contribution. We have seen noisy, drunken and violent behavior trivialized and rationalized as the city’s fault for not zoning properly. What kind of zoning are they necessitating — a demilitarized zone?

We hear about the lost income to the establishments. What about the health and financial damage to residents routinely subjected to the scourge of these nightclubs? We all want the city to succeed economically, but when the hell did we invite NYNA constituents to smoke, puke and blast their sound systems in our apartments as a precondition? Isn’t it also possible that patrons and workers in these places don’t want their health affected by these pollutants?

Residents should be immune by now to the despicable posturing by the NYNA. They have entrenched a ubiquitous presence to deny and rationalize the quality of life abuses of its members. Haven’t we really heard enough out of their trap? Must we rush to quote them? It is like going to the tobacco industry for health commentary.

Robert Bookman of NYNA asserts the city has created an irresolvable problem, as if the city opened up the offending establishments. You are allowed to be on the street, but disturbing the peace is not, as he suggests, a difficult constitutional issue. He then gets into subterfuge about places with sound systems being unfairly singled out.

The transparency of his argument is obvious. A small bistro without a sound system may attract a crowd of louts who shout and scream and disturb the peace and clearly could be cited. Logic dictates to anyone without a spinmeister agenda that the establishments that are enabled for amplified sound that indiscriminately blare onto and rumble the streets, while encouraging bar crawls and karaoke, are not the innocent victims here. Bookman is also asserting, on what basis and of what pertinence I do not know, that half of the noise complaints to 311 are about neighbors not businesses. So, if we give credence to that statistic, does he expect the residents to quit their incessant complaining and like Emily Litella say, “Never mind”?

Robert Weitz

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