Letters, Week of March 6, 2014 | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Letters, Week of March 6, 2014

Sad about Savoia

To The Editor:
For a number of years Michele Savoia’s clothing and tailor shop was in a small space on E. Seventh St. between First Ave. and Avenue A, across from where I lived. He was a familiar and noteworthy sight, even by East Village norms.

Neither my wallet nor my less-flamboyant style made me a prospective customer, but that did not stop him from being as friendly and neighborly as you can find in the neighborhood. On nice days, he was often at the door of his shop, keeping an eye on things and delivering cheery greetings. I felt my two young children were especially safe because I was sure he would watch out for them.

I was saddened by the news of his death at such an auspicious point in his career, and we offer our condolences to his family and friends.
Michael Claes

Hardworking man

To The Editor:
Re “Johnson takes lulu but says process has been reformed” (news article, Feb. 27):

Corey is working very hard and deserves to earn a decent salary.
Tom Connor

Little trust is left

 To The Editor:
Re “Taking another bite at the park conservancy” (editorial, Feb. 20):

Thank you to The Villager for your coverage of this important issue. A few points:

The “agreement” mentioned is not just any agreement. This is a “license agreement” that would give the Washington Square Park Conservancy tighter rein over maintaining and operating the park.

Remember, these four ladies came before Community Board 2’s Parks Committee in June 2013 stating they were really “just a little friends’ group.”

Yet, clearly, they planned to become a full-fledged conservancy, like the Bryant Park Corporation, Central Park Conservancy and Madison Square Park Conservancy.

These women said they had “no budget” at the one Community Board 2 Parks Committee meeting in early June dedicated to their organization’s “formation,” when, in fact, they had submitted a four-year, projected budget, vetted by the Parks Department, to New York State six weeks prior to this meeting.

The fact that C.B. 2’s leadership isn’t acting more outraged about all the information withheld from the board is alarming. At the least, they should be calling for a hard  — and new — look at this issue, as The Villager editorial also advises, stating that “this represents a chance to fully vet this group” and that “a thorough grilling is in order.”

How can there be any degree of trust in this private organization when so much information was misrepresented and intentionally withheld from the public? The conservancy (via Sarah Neilson, their executive director and also a city employee) told The Villager the conservancy doesn’t plan to do the things that it put in its 501(c)(3) documents — at least not now, that is. Well, isn’t that convenient? When will the truth ever be told?

I believe the four Washington Square Park Conservancy founders — Betsey Ely, Gwen Evans, Veronica Bulgari and Justine Leguizamo — may have started out “well-meaning,” as The Villager editorial (perhaps too kindly) portrays them. But they allowed themselves to collude with city Parks Department officials and deceive the public, their neighbors, again and again.

It’s time for the ladies to separate themselves from the city’s Parks Department — they are very much connected to it by “sharing” an employee — and act as an independent entity, without special privileged, insider ties (which they have now), part of what makes this “arrangement” so troubling. It’s time for them to make themselves as public as possible, and also to offer an apology to their neighbors — and to the park.

They need to go back to the level of existing groups, like the Washington Square Association, and raise money but be given no control — or possible future control — over the park.

In addition, the Parks Department owes the public an apology for Parks’ officials role in promoting this deception to the public. I hope C.B. 2 will now take this matter of Washington Square Park and who controls this public space very seriously. The public and this iconic park deserve more.
Cathryn Swan
Swan maintains the Washington Square Park Blog

Working too hard

To The Editor:
Re “They’re work horses” (letter, by Olga Humphrey, Feb. 13):

I’m not a member of NYCLASS. Just saddened by the anachronistic spectacle of depressed, withdrawn horses in our streets, denied a healthful, natural life — for our “entertainment.”

I know horses. This issue isn’t about whether or not horses enjoy working. It’s specific to dense conurbations like 21st-century New York City, no longer safe for horses — and where carriage horses have nothing but relentless work: seven days a week, heavy pulling in dangerous streets — noise, crowding, asphalt, fumes, fearfulness — and too-cramped stalls. No turnout to pasture with other horses; no setting hoof on grass, prisoners to our desires.  Work shouldn’t preclude welfare. Clayton Patterson fears we’re nature-deprived; horses must never be.

Smoothie, Spotty, Juliet, Misty and 15 other carriage horses died from accidents, collapse, work-related ailments, and 46 people were seriously injured — that we know — from 1982 through 2009.

Charlie died in the street in 2011, but the fates of most horses involved in accidents or collapse are withheld from us.

We do know that “nose-to-tailpipe” toil on asphalt in extreme weather and humidity induces lameness (from arthritis, hoof problems, infections, tendon issues), heat stoke, respiratory distress. These and hardship can shorten their lives. Some carriage horses are harshly overworked. Some end up at kill auctions.

“Nine hour workday”? Work restrictions (hours, temperature, breaks, watering) are routinely transgressed; and the ASPCA has relinquished monitoring duties.

With only one exception, every poll for years has shown the majority favor a ban on carriage horses.

Homes and sanctuaries await them all (per ASPCA and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries). New Yorkers care. It’s time to free them.
Casey White

Ted’s tender care

To The Editor:
Re “Uncle Ted’s is putting a modern spin on Chinese food” (news article, Feb. 13):

Recovering from an illness, I suffered a near-blackout at Uncle Ted’s. I tried to keep it cool, but they could tell something was off, and the entire staff was extremely solicitous — which, even in my haze, I greatly appreciated.

Good, caring people!
Gene Borio

A way to fund pre-K

To The Editor:
The governor and the mayor may be able to compromise on pre-K funding by granting the city limited taxing authority to cover only any verified funding deficit not covered by state funds. A budgetary mechanism for financing along these lines might be difficult to achieve, but the goal of universal full-day pre-K is worth the effort.
Jules Kohn

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