Volume 74, Number 46 | March 23 - 29, 2005

Letters to the editor

Pier lights are on; anybody home?

To The Editor:
How much longer is the Hudson River Park Trust going to drag their feet!

Enough is enough. This whole hoopla about the fields at Pier 40 makes me want to puke. The courtyard fields at Pier 40 were supposed to be open for play beginning sometime in January according to what I was given to understand by the local community leaders’ self-congratulatory proclamations. Hurrah! Hurrah!

Excuse moi? I believe we passed that January date by several months. Snow, schmow, the lights are on but nobody appears to be home over there. I park my car on the roof of the pier and the lights blare out to a sea of green plastic. Beautifully illuminated to say the least, almost as if it was a new Jets or Giants Stadium on the Hudson. Amazingly enough, given the energy and heat output of those lights one would expect the snow to be melted as it falls. Why are they illuminating that plastic-cloaked “field of dreams” when nobody is using it?

Yes, I know there will be those from the “organization” that will say the field isn’t ready because it’s not prepared for use because of yada yada yada, and I say bollocks. There are soccer players up on the roof that will prep the field in subfreezing temperatures with snow up the wazoo and they use that facility at 1 o’clock in the morning, so why cannot the big field be prepped?

Additionally, the courtyard field at Pier 40 was meant to be a temporary recreational field from the get-go, and if Home Depot or some other big-box store can provide the community with a better, a more permanent and a more expeditious solution to recreational space for the community, I welcome them. Obviously H.R.P.T.’s governing body and their associates are not up to doing the job.

Lou Scrima

Hey, he’ll speak for himself!

To The Editor:
Re “District 2 spin” (Scoopy’s Notebook, March 16):

My name is Michael Lopez and I am running for City Council. I want to go on record as stating that Mr. Robert Caballero has absolutely nothing to do with me or my campaign. Mr. Caballero is the campaign manager for another candidate and should focus on their candidacy.

Michael Lopez

Not on the fence about fence

To The Editor:
Re “Villagers hit a wall over park fence plan” (news article, March 9):

Parks Commissioner Bill Castro’s words — “Now that we have a consensus” — prompted my question at the Community Board 2 Parks Committee meeting on March 2. I asked how in light of the overwhelming opposition against the fence at Alan Gerson’s meeting, that consensus would factor into Castro’s decision-making process. Despite numerous and varied objections to the fence, Castro seemed anything but on the fence about the fence.

Nobody I know wants the park securely closed at night. We’ve all snuck in a time or two, because cutting through the park is a lot easier on our tired ol’ bones. Many feel the drug dealing will simply move on to the streets where we live. And, my goodness, with a police van and dozens of cameras in the trees, why can’t the drug dealing stop? And I have never witnessed anyone trampling on the tulips!

I also inquired as to the price of the fence per square foot. At that time Castro did not have that information. Does he now have that figure? In answer to my question as to fence height, Castro answered 4 ft. I then asked about the height of the platform on which the fence stands. Castro answered 8 in., making the fence closer to 5 ft., than 4. He also stated that the first phase of construction would include the fence, and that Parks hopes to start in June.

This issue must be resolved before the “refurbishing” begins. Castro identified the two areas of consensus in which he is working with the public; dog runs and playgrounds. I suggested because of the objections raised against the fence at the Feb. 16 meeting, that logically the fence should be the third consensus. It is nice to have all these meetings to hear the views of the people who actually use the park, but nobody wants to feel like these meetings are merely a waste of time.

Those of us who have moved here from small towns consider the park our back yard. And original New Yorkers have a long history and love affair with the park. We need to know the views expressed are actually factored into the final decision that will benefit and reflect the wishes of those of us who actually use the park as a vital living space. We are happy to share our space with tourists and transient N.Y.U students. But regardless how much money is donated by other interests, it is, if there ever was one, a people’s park. Greenwich Village is not known as a gated community! Dog runs and playgrounds are negotiable issues of size, location, type, etc. But either there will or there won’t be a fence. In view of your willingness and desire for consensus, which is it, Mr. Castro?

Sharon Woolums
Woolums is a public member, Community Board 2 Parks Committee, but her views expressed herein are independent of C.B. 2.

Gerson doesn’t represent artists

To The Editor:
I am a street artist who helped defend artists’ First Amendment rights against numerous attempts by the Giuliani administration to suppress and nullify them. I’ve participated in many rallies and done much to overturn the decisions (all unconstitutional) that threatened freedom of speech.

I am outraged to hear when some politicians claim to speak for artists — I am a member of A.R.T.I.S.T., by the way — and say that they want to change the existing statutes to “protect” artists’ rights from, for example, multiple vendors or people selling other people’s artwork. I have been working under these regulations for years and find them enough and sufficient to allow me my First Amendment rights to show and sell my work. Councilmember Alan Gerson does not speak for me, or for any artist/vendor that I know of, when he claims that the laws must be changed to protect the rights of “original” artists. The First Amendment protects all. Leave it alone.

Patrick Christiano

There’s no joy in ‘Sohoville’

To The Editor:
Replying to Doug Lunn’s letter, “Gerson’s cloudy view on artists “ (Feb. 16), I have to admit I’m a “whiner;” not about the legitimate artists on W. Broadway but about the other vendors who have illegally taken over our streets and not for art. Try walking on Prince St. any weekend and one sees no vestige of the quality of life our neighborhood once had — just wall-to-street vendors leaving no room for either tourists or residents — and Spring St. will be next.

There is no joy anymore walking out on the streets of Soho.

Bonnie Lynn

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