Letters, Week of March 13, 2014 | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Letters, Week of March 13, 2014

Bronx bummer

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. cries foul” (letter, by Philip Lentz, Feb. 27):

Apparently, Mr. Lentz was not an N.Y.U. employee when N.Y.U. owned the Bronx campus. Indeed, Mr. Leguizamo is quite correct that the university had a large Bronx campus. But, like so many mistakes the N.Y.U. administration makes, with the sale of its Bronx campus in 1973, N.Y.U. lost, along with academic buildings and dormitories, its athletic facilities and fields.

N.Y.U. said it needed the site on Mercer St. to build Coles gym as a replacement, to attract students and maintain financial viability. Current N.Y.U. public affairs employees seem to have little grasp of the university’s 20th-century history.

It’s also odd that N.Y.U. does not recognize it needs to go back to the drawing board. Its 2031 ULURP plan has changed significantly with Judge Mills’s decision, and the new N.Y.U. committee report released recently that now asks for housing for 500 students and 100 faculty families, plus 80 classrooms — all of which will add thousands of people daily traversing the area and requiring multiple city services.

Certainly, a new environmental impact study should be required. We call upon Mayor de Blasio to rescind the city’s appeal of Judge Mills’s decision on N.Y.U. 2031 and require N.Y.U. to submit a new ULURP that takes into account land use and requires a major impact study.
Sylvia Rackow
Rackow is a member, Committee to Preserve Our Neighborhood

We know the truth

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. cries foul” (letter, by Philip Lentz, Feb. 27):

Philip Lentz should have asked the people on the superblocks about N.Y.U. and its history — we are a living archive.

May we invite Philip to join us for coffee or tea and a brick-by-brick, store-by-store history from those who lived it? Seeing brings feeling.

Do any of those who are making decisions about our lives know Paul McGee and Arthur Vanderbilt and Leon Shimkin and Julius Silver? We did.

We lived and studied and worked with a purpose at N.Y.U. We had tiny work spaces, limited access to major office equipment, a small bookstore and smaller libraries and trekked to work from all over the city because there was no university housing for anyone.

The first N.Y.U. classes were held at Clinton Hall near City Hall in 1832, and in 1835 N.Y.U. moved to Washington Square.

N.Y.U. opened its University Heights campus in the Bronx in 1894, the same year it began construction on the Main Building (now known as the Silver Center) on Washington Square.

The Heights Campus was sold in 1973 and we lost a beautiful campus and an amazing school of engineering.

John Sawhill was named president of New York University in 1975, serving until 1979. He was best known for bringing about an academic and financial turnaround at the country’s largest private university. He cut to the bone, repurposed buildings (he was a consummate recycler), and spent no money on window-dressing — just focusing on students and their studies and having the best faculty.

How much space did Bill de Blasio have when he attended N.Y.U.? He should withdraw the city’s notice of appeal of Mills’s decision on the N.Y.U. 2031 plan and work with us to start over with a mutually beneficial plan.
Judith Chazen Walsh
Walsh is a member, Washington Square South Citizens Action Committee

Clear collusion

To The Editor:
Re “Little trust is left” (letter, by Cathryn Swan, March 6):

Three cheers to The Villager for printing an important letter from Cathryn Swan. To get a clear picture of the collusion between the Parks Department and the four ladies who have taken over the running of Washington Square Park, it is imperative to read Ms. Swan’s Washington Square Park Blog. Here we can follow the continuing saga of the arrogant takeover of the park by a coterie of Fifth Ave. types with little or no feelings for us “common” Villagers who enjoy eating hot dogs in the park.
Vahe A. Tiryakian

Save the pavilion!

To The Editor:
Re “Opponents want Bill to block bistro in Union Square pavilion” (news article, Feb. 22):

Under Bloomberg, the Parks Department and the local business improvement district, Union Square Park’s historic pavilion was viewed as prime commercial property to be leased for 15 years by a for-profit restaurant — the highest bidder. Bloomberg viewed parks as cash cows required to pay for themselves — forget about parks’ free use under the Public Trust Doctrine that says they are for public use to benefit children and the community. We need everyone’s help to stop a commercial restaurant from taking over our pavilion.

The Union Square Community Coalition’s 10-year fight and expensive litigation against commercial use of the park’s pavilion now is in jeopardy, after losing the last round of our court fight. But we still have options. U.S.C.C. will not stop our efforts to keep the pavilion a free place for all of us. Our determination to succeed is supported by numerous elected officials, as well as local and citywide organizations. Mayor de Blasio has the absolute power to secure the pavilion as public space by canceling the Bloomberg-era contract designed to privilege the restaurant at the expense of our children and the community.

Please help us stop this takeover of the pavilion. Call A.S.A.P. or write to Mayor de Blasio and the City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, urging them to do the right thing and cancel the contract.
Edith Shanker
Shanker is a member of Union Square Community Coalition and was a plaintiff in the pavilion lawsuit

I just don’t get it

To The Editor:
Re “HealthPlex E.R. opening June at St. Vincent’s site” (news article, March 6):

All this language about emergency care, comprehensive care, “vast” capabilities, still means we don’t have a hospital. There’s an awful lot we are being told — smoke and mirrors — but still no hospital. When are we getting our hospital?

That “new concept” of care without a hospital is just to mask what we are not getting. It is a slap in the face to the community, a puppet show. “Emergency care” in this case is as much a misnomer as “urgent care.” In a true emergency this medical McMansion won’t help you. Heart attack? Stroke? Nope. You need hospitalization.

“New concept”! Fie! We need a hospital. You know, sometimes we need to lie down and get real care, just as much as those who live in that hospital magnet for rich people, the Upper East Side.

Rudin’s condos on the St. Vincent’s site are now encouraging neighborhood rents to skyrocket and people are being forced out of their homes. Perhaps when we’re sufficiently rich-ified, ah! — then we will get a brand new, real hospital.
Carol F. Yost 

Better brain care

To The Editor:
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Since 1997, I’ve tackled the ongoing daily ups and downs of my own wholly life-altering traumatic brain injury — caused by exposure to Con Edison’s now so-called stray voltage when I was speaking on a street pay phone in the Village.

Many of the injury’s symptoms are often recognized only by its survivors or the most sensitive care providers, who themselves are likely to be baffled by the overwhelming and even contradictory array of systemic challenges.

Professionals and the public at large need to educate themselves about these injuries so as to improve prevention and care for this devastating, yet often preventable menace, for which everyone is at risk.
Phil Vanaria

S.L.A. is listening

To The Editor:
Re “Lower East Side: A livable neighborhood in progress” (Progress Report, March 6):

Over the past year the LES Dwellers have made numerous appearances before the State Liquor Authority. We are so fortunate now to have a considerate and open-minded commissioner heading the S.L.A., one who takes the community’s interest to heart. Our S.L.A. commissioner has made numerous statements indicating that he is well aware of the problems in Hell Square.

Hopefully, this message is now getting through to the liquor-license applicants’ attorneys who have been in attendance at these hearings. When the attorneys start honestly advising their liquor-license clients that this neighborhood is done — no more licenses, don’t waste your time and money — then our neighborhood will be safe again.

And many thanks to Michael at the Meatball Shop, at 84 Stanton St., for his efforts to put together a community-friendly restaurants group in the Hell Square area. Please support his business and his efforts to be one of the many good neighborhood businesses that we are lucky to have in the community.
David Troutman

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