Letters to the editor

Many are deserving of thanks

To The Editor:

Thank you to The Villager for your coverage of the designation of the Gansevoort Market Historic District (“Landmarks designates the Market,” Sept. 10) and for several years of consistently strong support for our effort to landmark and preserve the Meatpacking District. 

There are so many individuals and organizations who have been instrumental in securing the designation of the first new historic district in Greenwich Village since 1969. We want to thank them all, but there are too many to name here. Certainly we must cite all of the Village preservationists and community leaders who have worked so diligently from the 1960s to today, to expand landmark protections along the Greenwich Village waterfront and in Gansevoort Market; our elected officials who have been tireless advocates for preservation in our community; the state, national, and local preservation organizations who worked with us so closely from the beginning of Save Gansevoort Market; and all of the business and property owners, residents and neighbors who rallied to the cause.

Perhaps most important, however, we would like to thank everyone who wrote letters or sent postcards or e-mails in support of this effort; who turned out for hearings; who volunteered their time; and those who generously contributed money to the campaign. The sheer volume of support was overwhelming, and was truly the key to this victory. These people gave Save Gansevoort Market the strength and numbers to succeed. We can all take great satisfaction in this remarkable grassroots accomplishment.

Finally, we want to acknowledge the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the administration. Their decision to add this unique corner of Greenwich Village to the more than 80 designated historic districts in New York City, which help preserve our city’s heritage and history for future generations to appreciate and learn from, is most welcome, and will, we believe, benefit us all.

There is of course much more to do from here — ensure approval of the designation by the City Planning Commission and City Council; work diligently to see that the designation is appropriately enforced; and fight to protect the blocks taken out of the historic district from inappropriate development. In the meantime, however, we want to thank everyone who gave so much to help get us to this point, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to preserve the special character of this neighborhood.

Save Gansevoort Market

Save Gansevoort Market is a project of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Little oasis lifts our spirits

To The Editor:

Re: “Gated Community (Park)” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Sept. 3):

I was a trifle bewildered when I read Scoopy’s rather sour comments concerning the new green space at the corner of Charlton St. and Sixth Ave. Many long and hard hours went into turning the little pocket park from what was essentially a garbage dump and noisome eyesore into a pleasant sliver of urban garden that complements the other green spaces up and down the avenue in our area. I applaud the city and especially the volunteers who have so markedly improved Sixth Ave. over the last few years by replacing blighted asphalt with spirit-lifting flowers and plants. May they continue and flourish.

Philip Hoffhines

Garden smells a lot better, too

To The Editor:

Re: “Gated Community (Park)” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Sept. 3):

I want to write on how pleased I am with the Charlton St. Garden and how it has turned out in such a short period of time. The summer before last the area was a local urinal and hangout for various drug users, etc. Now it is a lush park with flowers and other plants to be viewed by passersby, though, unlike your article I would hardly call a four-ft. fence “tall,” nor would I consider a machete part of the attire one should wear when passing the park. The lush bushes, donated by the Parks Department, and flowers are hardly overgrown weeds. I would rather see and smell what is there now than what was there two summers ago.

Johannes Familton

Loving care transformed a blight

To The Editor:

Re: “Gated Community (Park)” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Sept. 3):

With reference to Scoopy’s comments about the vest-pocket park at Charlton Plaza, I am enclosing a delightful photograph of this park taken during the year by one of this park’s volunteers — a member of the Charlton St. Block Association, which helps maintain this park. If you would like to publish this photograph your readers will be able to see that this park is hardly “overgrown.”

The Parks Department kindly planted flowering rhodedendrons along an otherwise ugly black wall, with small red-twig flowering bushes in front of them to provide a pleasing green backdrop to the many flowering bulbs (tulips, daffodils, narcissi, etc.) in the spring; and later in the year day lillies, black-eyed susans, daisies, impatiens, etc. Ground cover and ferns have also been brought in, which have been paid for mainly by the members of the Charlton St. Block Association through their donations and fundraising activities. I would also like to acknowledge that a few volunteers from King St. have also joined in from time to time.

Admittedly this vest-pocket park is little more than a viewing garden as it now stands, and not yet as beautiful as the older viewing gardens farther north on Sixth Ave.; but please give us time and I am sure you will see a fascinating little garden emerging from the old concrete area of broken bottles, used syringes, toilet paper and other debris that made this area so unsightly and dangerous in past years. How can you call a little fence designed to keep out litter “a gated community”?

Don’t you think that the volunteers from the surrounding area in the Village deserve a little praise for all their work in this little oasis of beauty in the Southwest Village? During last year’s drought these volunteers were even seen carrying buckets of water over to the park (from the river) every day so that the plants would not wither and die — I am sure they will be astonished to hear you say the park is now “unusable.” Is a thing of beauty unusable?

You should hear the praise from numbers of the surrounding community:

“Oh! What a joy to see flowers here!”

“I don’t feel frightened anymore by the drug addicts who used to hang out here.”

“Keep up the good work — bless you!”

Etc., etc.

Please spare us your “machete” — we will try and do some more pruning if this will satisfy you; but give the volunteers a round of applause, if nothing else. Any positive criticism is welcome, and any donations from you or anyone else will be used to buy more flowers, so that we can thin out the bushes which you so strongly object to.

O. I. Michael

Don’t dump on our new garden!

To The Editor:

“Scoopy’s” Sept. 3 report entitled “Gated Community (Park),” referring to the narrow strip of land on Sixth Ave. between Charlton and King Sts. is nasty and pathetic — so like what this “park” once was before the Parks Department finally responded to those of us who live nearby to do something constructive with it. Rose Marie O’Leary is right to say that the neighbors are “pleased.” It has been transformed, in a very short time, into a lush and lovely garden. Before, walking past it was a constant assault on the senses.

Human feces and piss were the predominant smells emanating from it. The smell was so bad that on warm days one avoided walking that way entirely. During the last five-plus years it became a haven for drug users, and some were pretty damned scary. One early evening, I was assaulted by a screaming, half-able-to-stand-up woman telling me I “had” to give her some money, “now!” After this, it took weeks before I would walk by that area. This same woman was constantly there with her drug cronies.

With the limited resources that the Parks Department has, they were kind enough to recover this patch of land so that my neighbors could make a garden. It is a “community park” as much as it is a Parks Department park. One of my neighbors, Harry Schroder, works tirelessly during his limited free time tending this garden, as well as the planters on Charlton St. Scoopy’s thoughtless blurb about it being “overgrown” is an insult to the loveliness he and others in the neighborhood have created there. What a difference it is to pass by it now without the stench of human shit and piss permeating every bit of one’s senses.

But even the four-ft.-“tall” fence does not keep out the crappers. Apparently people still, on occasion, manage to climb this “tall” fence to dump their loads. Maybe Scoopy should get a scoop and help to keep it clean rather than criticize so unfairly an improvement to the neighborhood’s environment.

Dee Vitale Henle

Feels C.B. 2 backs development

To The Editor:

It seems increasingly apparent that the current administration’s pro-development agenda has deeply affected our community board.

Anyone who questions the appropriateness of a new building or dares to speak out against re-zoning is eventually dealt with by dismissal.

At a recent meeting of Community Board 2’s landmarks committee, I watched as the few remaining knowledgeable members who expressed opposition to the applications that were clearly detrimental were aggressively challenged by a certain “huff and puff blowhard” who apparently has been put in place to assure that each and every item is approved, irrespective of its merits.

Gardner Rankin

Comic spin on political letter wars

To The Editor:

Regarding Chad Marlow’s letter in the Aug. 27 Villager and the several responses printed the following week, dare I say it? O.K., I will. Your subtitle for those letters might have been…“Hanging Chad.”

Here’s hoping we can all keep our senses of humor.

Dale Davidson

‘Dear mayor’ is right on target

To The Editor:

Re :“Koch on Film,” Aug. 27:

I was delighted to read my dear Mayor Ed Koch’s perceptive review of “American Splendor.”

I totally agree with you. It astonishes me that there’s such a wave of enthusiasm for such a mediocre flick.

I’m a longtime, long-going film buff and a longtime, “mature” Villager, and I have seldom been so painfully bored. Leaving the Sunshine Theater with a well-read friend who said she loved it because “there were no car chases,” I felt guilty because I hated it!

I, too, asked several gray-haired ladies what they thought of the film and they adamantly informed me that they in no uncertain terms loved it. (Maybe they were the same women you spoke to.) Perhaps they were caught up in the intense frenzy of the critics. Who cares about Harvey Peker or his overblown pompous pronouncements? He’s neither an orator, artist or admirable character. The actors, I thought, were above par and wasted on this trash.

Jessica Dublin