Volume 74, Number 37 | January 19 -25, 2005

Letters to the editor

Koch broke critics’ cardinal rule

To The Editor:
I thoroughly enjoy my Villager subscription, and often bring the paper into the office to share with my coworkers. I’ve lived in Soho for almost 15 years and in New York City for almost 30 years, and I like the intimate, neighborhood approach to the news that is reflected by most of your columnists and contributors. After all, this is our “village.”

Not every writer will speak to the reader’s sensibility or convince the reader that what he or she has written represents fact. That’s fine. All opinions should be represented. However, there are some rules that should be followed in order to present the community with a quality publication.

Ed Koch’s review in the Dec. 29 Villager made me absolutely irate. It’s not that he overuses the word “flick.” It doesn’t bother me too much that he has absolutely zero credentials as a film reviewer — we all know he’s just a New York City “personality” at this point and his interpretations are less than nuanced. Fine. It’s a free country. You can have whoever you want writing film reviews — even a self-impressed, political hack like Ed Koch who has demonstrated his inability to see all sides of any issue unless it’s officially endorsed by Israel.

Mr. Koch broke the cardinal rule of any film reviewer who has an ounce of respect for his readers. He gave away the ending of a film. Not just a hint — the entire ending in detail. I’m talking about his review of “Million Dollar Baby.” Perhaps he felt it didn’t matter because he gave it a “minus.” I mean, who would possibly want to see something without Ed Koch’s imprimatur?

Mr. Sutter, please give Ed Koch the boot and hire someone with a little integrity and appreciation for your readership. If you cannot get someone else, ANYONE else — then I must ask you to cancel my subscription.

P.S.: I went to School of Visual Art. Why not ask someone in their film department — or N.Y.U.’s — to take over the column?

Joan Scholvin

Ed Koch responds: Your letter reeks of animus and bigotry. Clearly you are not simply upset with my movie reviews. You just don’t like me or my politics. Do I care? No. Do I receive many more compliments on the reviews than negative responses? Yes.

Will The Villager cave to your threat to cancel your subscription? If it were to submit, do you doubt that I would get another job? I also believe that you would not get a better reviewer.

Rezoning doesn’t solve problems

To The Editor:
Last week the City Council announced a rezoning plan for the Hudson Yards, which de-linked the West Side Stadium from the plan. While this action appears helpful and reinforces the unpopularity of the stadium, no one should be fooled — the stadium is not dead, and the success of Lower Manhattan’s redevelopment is still greatly threatened.

The 24 million sq. ft. of commercial space slated for the rezoned area will compete directly with and overrun the interest that businesses have in returning or moving into the tens of millions of square feet of new or rebuilt commercial space in Lower Manhattan. In addition, the mega-development allowed by the Hudson Yards rezoning will continue the process of walling off the Hudson River, providing impetus for developers to create large, out-of-scale buildings along the entire West Side. Traffic concerns persist with this new plan and only add momentum to extend the # 7 train, without any commitment that the Second Ave. subway, desperately needed by current New Yorkers, will maintain its priority position in the capital needs of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Large-scale rezoning and development cannot be done in isolation. The effect on other large, previously planned development, such as that in Lower Manhattan, must be considered. Similarly, the consequences on transportation and other projects that will benefit residents throughout the city must be taken into account. Though the rezoning plan is an improvement from the one originally set forth by the mayor, it unfortunately fails to address these crucial concerns.

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

Cars, not bikes, pose most danger

To The Editor:
Re “Slow down, you move too fast” (letter, by Landre Goldscheider, Dec. 22):

Some 286 people were killed in New York City traffic accidents last year, according to an article on Dec. 29 in AM New York. No statistics were given for injuries.

I am a pedestrian and a bicyclist. I agree with the description of excessive speed and dangers to life and limb on the streets and sidewalks. I was struck by a bicycle while trying to cross Delancey St. With a mixture of humor and anger, I can report that the bicyclist tried to blame me for “not looking both ways” when he was riding against traffic.

My only disagreement with the letter was to lump in cars and bicycles as equally dangerous. Cars are obviously far more lethal.

Michael Gottlieb

We’ve got a bigger problem now

To The Editor:
For more than a decade, elements of the Soho Alliance have tried unsuccessfully to rid Soho of street artists, while posing to the world at large as patrons of the arts and defenders of free expression.

Like former City Councilmember Kathryn Freed and Soho Alliance Director Sean Sweeney’s efforts to get rid of street artists, Councilmember Alan Gerson’s efforts have been 100 percent ineffective. It was Freed and Sweeney’s tireless efforts to turn Mayor Giuliani against street artists that led A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists’ Response To Illegal State Tactics) to go to court and officially win the constitutional rights to which we were always entitled. Four federal lawsuits later, all of which we’ve won, our rights are stronger than ever.

The biggest irony behind all of Gerson’s shenanigans is that the Bloomberg administration is about to give the anti-advertising Soho Alliance something to get legitimately upset about for once. Bloomberg, Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra, Gerson and key members of the City Council allowed the deceptive Street Furniture Initiative to be passed in 2004. Public-space advocate Gerson said nothing to his constituents about what this law would really mean. After the contract is assigned in March, 4,000 brand-new sidewalk advertising kiosks will begin sprouting in commercially viable areas of the city, with Soho being among the three most desirable locations to place these ads.

Those who bitterly complained about a street artist selling paintings on the weekend or a plastic billboard on the side of a building will be able to enjoy an electronic billboard with audio pitching beer, designer panties and high-class vodka right in front of their front door 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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

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