Letter to the Editor

Volume 80, Number 29 | December 16- 22, 2010

West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

N.Y.U. can grow — in cyberspace

To The Editor:

Re “N.Y.U.’s towering blunder inspires us to fight on” (talking point, by Miriam Kaplan, Nov. 25):

Well-written and hits the important reasons that we must all continue to oppose the N.Y.U. 2031 plans. Doesn’t New York University realize that by 2031 most of academic studies will be Internet based? Already many universities are preparing for that educational method, offering online courses toward degrees. For a so-called “progressive” university, N.Y.U. is way behind the times.

Sylvia Rackow

How the Working Group works

To The Editor:

Re “In Chinatown, groups battle over a proposal for a new BID” (news article, Dec. 2):

Rob Hollander is not a “member” of the Chinatown Working Group. He is listed as a “Friend.”

The Chinatown Partnership is a voting member. Wellington Chen has been the co-chairperson of the Economic Development and Revitalization Working Team, and thus has been engaged in the efforts of the Chinatown Working Group from early on.

The levels of endorsement are:

Voting Member: An organization that has endorsed the Chinatown Working Group mission statement. The organization’s appointed representative (including alternates appointed by the organization) will cast the organization’s vote at stated meetings.

Friend: An individual not representing an organization, or an organization/entity/firm that works with the Chinatown Working Group or supplies services, such as consulting, meeting space, etc.

Supporter: An individual not representing an organization, or an organization/entity/firm that may sign petitions, postcards, etc. advocating the mission or subsequent principles.

K Webster

Squash players: Game not over

To The Editor:

The Printing House Fitness & Squash Club, located on Hudson and Leroy Sts. in the West Village, has been sold to Equinox, a chain of gyms run by a large nationwide corporation. Printing House was a privately owned health club that was an enclave, an oasis and a home away from home for many New Yorkers. I know this because I was one of them.

It is important to know what is being lost. Printing House was once one of the best boutique health clubs in New York City. Members often lasted there for years, if not decades, and friendships that began in the classes or on the gym floor often extended into the neighborhood. This was particularly true of the squash players at the club, of which I was one.

The squash program at the Printing House was successful for a few reasons: It had the most courts (five) of any public club in the city and yet was extremely affordable relative to the other clubs. There was no waiting list to get in, no dress code and no strict club rules. And the experience was addictive — being in a totally relaxed atmosphere, having a hard game of squash with a friend and enjoying the health benefits of a super-aerobic sport as an alternative to the other fitness options that are available at many other clubs.

The physical benefits aside, squash’s social aspect was also a huge drawing card. The sport is extremely inclusive. There were regular round-robins where players of any level could sign up for two hours of vigorous competition on the court and then all go out for a drink afterward at a local watering hole. Playing in a Printing House round-robin was a complete experience.

Unfortunately, despite this vibrant community of more than 250 players, the Printing House recently announced the end of its squash program. Equinox does not offer squash as part of its business model, and hence, the courts were scheduled to close permanently on Dec. 15 of this year.

Some people may not be surprised by what has happened. They say squash is on the decline worldwide; that squash clubs in London and Sydney and South Africa that were once bastions of the sport are being left to die slow painful deaths, or are simply being converted for other uses. I am afraid that this may actually be the sad truth. That trend, however, does not apply to the U.S., where squash is growing rapidly. So what is happening to the Printing House is not indicative of squash in New York or in the U.S., generally. The closure of the last remaining genuine squash club in Downtown Manhattan is owing to factors external to the sport.

Not surprisingly, the New York squash community is devastated. Several avid squash players I know moved to the Village to be near their beloved club. These same members are not taking Equinox’s decision lying down. A committee was quickly formed in the interests of keeping squash in Downtown Manhattan. They are currently exploring options for a new home.

Would it not be great if New Yorkers could develop a player-owned squash club and buck the trend by remaining independent and reincarnating what they had at the Printing House? There will be many challenges, not least of which is finding an available space in which to build the new club. But if anyone can make this happen, it is this group of people — from artists and writers to attorneys and accountants — all of whom are passionate about this sport and will do all they can to preserve it.

We sincerely hope that a new squash club will be developed, one with the vision of community as its foundation.

Brett A. Erasmus

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.