Letters, Week of June 19, 2014
Shirley Hayes be praised
To The Editor:
Re “Finally! Officials and kids cut ribbon in renewed park” (news article, June 12):
There is no doubt that Jane Jacobs was a charismatic leader who inspired others to engage in activism, not just in Greenwich Village, but in communities all over the United States and probably Canada. She was the undisputed leader here in the fight to keep Robert Moses from bulldozing a large section of the far West Village as part of a Title I “slum clearance” initiative and in the campaign to stop the Lower Manhattan Expressway.
But the decade-plus years that started in the late ’50s and went through the ’60s and beyond were full of major changes in Greenwich Village. There was the saving of the Jefferson Market Courthouse; the effort to stop the building of Verrazano St. that would have meant the bulldozing of houses on Carmine, Bedford and Downing Sts.; the campaign to designate the Greenwich Village Historic District; the effort to stop Westway; the sponsorship of the moderate-income West Village Houses; and, of course, the killing of the roadway through Washington Square Park.
Jane participated in these efforts — even led the West Village Houses campaign — but she was not the woman who killed the roadway through Washington Square Park. The woman who started it all, who organized playground mothers, who galvanized the community, who screamed out loud and made others listen, who was so successful that some men sought to take over the campaign, saying she was too strident — that woman was Shirley Hayes, aided by Edith Lyons.
I don’t like to see history omitting Shirley Hayes’s valiant and successful efforts. There ought to be a plaque in the park honoring her activism. Anyone interested in joining the Shirley Hayes campaign?
We deserve much better
To The Editor:
Re “C.B. 3 problems loom large in chairperson race” (talking point, by Anne Johnson, June 29):
As a lifelong Lower East Side resident and an L.E.S. advocate, I have applied to become a member of Community Board 3 for the last five years. I have helped leaders of this community on more projects than I care to remember. Yet, I have not been given the opportunity to serve on the community board, as a resident who has stood up against the current practices within C.B. 3.
As a community advocate, I’m certainly happy to hear that these practices are currently being looked into by our Borough President’s Office. May divinity be her guide.
Furthermore, after reading Anne Johnson’s column, I can say from firsthand experience that the practices that are alleged at the community board do exist, and, yes, there is a lot of backroom politics occurring that will hinder the true diversity of this great, historic community.
This problem needs to be addressed and corrected, now! I certainly feel that C.B. 3 needs more minority leadership, and, yes, that more minorities need to be appointed to the board. There have been many upstanding residents who have helped the community’s struggles over many years to keep this wonderful community’s diversity alive. Yet their work will have been in vain if this practice by C.B. 3 is not legally addressed now. Has the time come for real change? I will continue to observe from the outside.
L.E.S. living levee
To The Editor:
Re “‘Living barrier’ will protect East Side from storm surges” (news article, June 5):
We are very pleased that the construction for this area will take place very soon and that it will be completed in less than four years!
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