Volume 74, Number 30 | December 01 - 07, 2004

Letters to the editor

Club won’t be Chelsea scapegoat

To The Editor:
As an owner of Viscaya, I would like to respond to the article in the Nov. 10 issue of The Villager entitled “Chelsea neighbors want Viscaya nightclub shut down,” by Albert Amateau. It would be much appreciated if you gave Viscaya a chance to be properly heard.

When the E.P.A. responded to a noise complaint called in by Lien Corey, they found the so-called “catastrophic weekend” noise registered less than 40 db on their meters. Based on the New York City Noise Code, Viscaya’s noise level was well within the city’s limits and no violation was issued.

Before Viscaya opened, there were homeless men sleeping and urinating in front of the storefront. In the last six weeks, I have spent numerous nights outside Viscaya and I have not witnessed any such behaviors — nor have the security personnel. We have also never witnessed any sex acts taking place in the vicinity of Viscaya, and we hope not to be the scapegoat of sexual deviancy in all of Chelsea. The only bad habit indulged outside of Viscaya is smoking, and if that bothers Mr. Borak, I suggest he take it up with the mayor.

Viscaya has made the street cleaner and safer than ever before, based partly on the fact that most of our security men are ex-police officers. For instance, this past summer, a couple — pedestrians, not Viscaya patrons — walking on the west side of Seventh Ave. got into a fight. The male began to physically abuse the female and Viscaya security came to her rescue.

Viscaya is not a motorcycle bar and we do not cater to bikers. I urge people to recognize that Seventh Ave. is a busy street and we are not responsible for New Yorkers’ mode of transport.

Viscaya hosts many private catered affairs for prominent clients. Our doormen thoroughly check everyone’s ID, twice. Speaking of checking, that motorcycle accident occurred after Viscaya had closed for the night.

Authorities have informed us that the commercial space of Red Rose is being illegally used as a residence.

The day after the October meeting, outside security was beefed up and signs urging our patrons to respect residents were posted.

We have never been introduced to Ms. Moskowitz or Mr. Weaver and would like to meet with them to see if we can resolve each of their problems.

The police have complimented us on our efforts. 

Demey Partridge

Editor’s note: The Villager called Viscaya for comment for the Nov. 10 article, but the club did not respond by press time.

Low marks for Columbia column

To The Editor:
Re “Anti-Semitism or free expression of ideas at Columbia?” (talking point, by Ed Gold, Nov. 24):

Ed Gold’s talking point dismisses the charges of extraordinary anti-Israel bias that have been leveled, actually for many years now, concerning the faculty at Columbia University. His basis for dismissing these charges appears to be (1) his own failure to examine the matter in any detail, (2) the fact that some students have not experienced such bias and (3) the notion that such concerns represent “limits to free expression.” Well, even a simple Google search turns up serious accusations that are not even mentioned, let alone refuted, in Mr. Gold’s article. Is a university obligated to support the teaching of ethnic hatred based on half-truths, distortion, misrepresentation and outright lies? No, it is not, and claims of “free expression” are hardly sufficient to justify such support.

Art Altman

Adult video stores are spreading

To The Editor: 
I am writing to you about the proliferation of adult video stores in our neighborhood. I am referring to the West Village area. 

In the recent past, adult video/bookstores have been opening everywhere in our neighborhood. There are two on Eighth Ave. between 14th and 23rd Sts., two on 14th St. between Sixth and Eighth Aves. and another one on Sixth Ave. just below 14th St. One just opened across from the Associated Supermarket at 14th St. and Eighth Ave.

Apparently, there is another one that is that is slated to open on Eighth Ave. just below 14th St. where the Lumber Store used to be, 71 Eighth Ave.

There is a school right around the corner on 13th St.; aren’t there some zoning laws that could protect the neighborhood?

Please let me know if there is some action that can be taken to stop this latest bookstore from opening at 71 Eighth Ave.

Kevin McKiernan

Be thankful we live in the Village

To The Editor:
Re “Blogging it till media dispels doubts on election” (talking point, by Jane Flanagan, Nov. 24) and “The autumn of my years...and Bush sure isn’t helping” (notebook, by Wickham Boyle, Nov. 24):

I am third-generation Villager on one side and fifth-generation Lower East Sider on another. My family has been a subscriber for over 40 years and will continue forever. I am writing in response to both articles listed above. I know, just do one article. But they really are very similar and belong to a very strong current running through our five boroughs and your paper. And that is: not being able to look at results objectively. You quote exit polls as being accurate and results fraudulent? When the opposite is true. Get over it!  Bush really won and Kerry really lost. Stop watching the TV for your news and start using the Internet. Get many views, not just the ones that make you feel good. It’s O.K. to be wrong. We live in the greatest neighborhood in the greatest city at the greatest time in the history of the world! We have seen good leaders and bad leaders and history will judge this one more accurately over time. Stop the hating and realize the media is not going to give you the answers. Be thankful you live in the Village! Be nice to your neighbors.

Tony Brill

Shwarma, shwarma chameleon

To The Editor:
Re “Secret shwarma” (Scoopy’s notebook, Oct. 27):

One of your columns recently mentioned the Yatagan restaurant. It was a mistake to cite that establishment as in some way useful to society. This restaurant breaks the Health Code laws every day! They put piles of old bread out on the sidewalk and street so that dozens of pigeons can feed, as well as rats. The Health Department has told them to stop, but they don’t. These people don’t deserve to have a business in New York. They don’t understand our health laws and the reasons for them.

Don Munde

Not ready to trust N.Y.U.

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U to use Waverly buildings for its new life sciences center” (news article, Nov. 17) and “N.Y.U. does better, but more is needed” (editorial, Nov. 17):

While the announcement of N.Y.U’s plans to reuse existing buildings on Waverly Pl. for a life sciences building removes one alleged option for the Morton-Williams site, there is still no information from N.Y.U. as to what their development plan is for the site, or the rest of Greenwich Village for that matter. Although a science building would have added a number of environmental concerns to any potential development, the issue of size and scale on the Morton-Williams site still remains.

N.Y.U. has only fueled speculation that they are looking to maximize their development potential at the Morton-Williams site by blocking the efforts to transfer the Department of Transportation strips into permanent parkland and their unwillingness to discuss their use of the community facilities zoning allowance. Although meetings with planners are often promised, N.Y.U. has yet to engage the community in a real discussion of the university’s development needs over the next 10 to 20 years.

While there may be elements of this recent announcement that are welcome, N.Y.U.’s potential future plans, and continued lack of consultation with the community, still remain a cause for great concern.

Carin Cardone
Cardone is a member of 505 LaGuardia Pl.’s board of directors

Thanks, but a few pointers

To The Editor:
Re “Howard Schoenfeld, 89, fantasy writer, pacifist” (obituary, Nov. 17):

Although the obituary of my husband was nicely written and generally well done, there were a few inaccuracies I’d like to correct.

I was misquoted as saying Howard Schoenfeld had a history of liver disease. What I said was that he had had several medical problems over the past few years, which I didn’t specify. (The gall bladder/liver illness that led to his death, which I did not discuss with your reporter, was sudden and short.)

David Dellinger did not lead the group of 10 that refused to register for the 1940 draft. David was one of eight divinity students who decided not to register; Howard and Stanley Rappeport were not divinity students, and were not led by David. They all served time in Danbury federal penitentiary.

Howard’s brief sojourn in California in the 1950s was not for a few years, but for less than a year. He was very happy to return to the Village, which he considered his home.

Dorothy Brigstock Schoenfeld

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