Letters to the editor

Ice-skating rink is not cool

To The Editor:

Re “Whoa! Covered ice-skating rink for Hudson Park had no review” (news article, Oct. 1):

Where did this concept of an enclosed ice-skating rink, or any skating rink, come from? The “permanent” structure evokes an aura of “permanence” and “quality” equal only to a golf-outing hospitality suite of a sponsor who really can’t afford being there but needs the exposure because someone in the organization said they did. I don’t believe that this blatant piece of gratuitous crap is being thrown at our community. Even the rendering stinks. At least they could have gotten the perspective correct.

Perhaps I jumped the gun in my evaluation of this “concerted” effort, but is this rink the size of a hockey rink, or is it a mockup of Central Park’s rink, or is it modeled after some LaLa-land rink? Laugh though you may, someone thinks that this is a good idea. In its present presentation, I think not.

Lou Scrima

Flugtag flew in face of quiet

To The Editor:

I am writing to complain about the Red Bull Flugtag event in Hudson River Park on Oct. 5. The earsplitting volume, which could be heard blocks away, ruined Sunday afternoon for thousands of West Village residents. Why was the noise level so incredibly loud? Why wasn’t the sound lowered in response to the complaints made that day to the city’s 311 line?

While I personally don’t have any interest in watching flying contraptions get pushed off a ramp and nosedive into the river, others seemed to enjoy watching. But there was no reason for the volume to be so loud. This event was a quality of life disaster and the police should have stepped in and done something about the sound. Shame on Red Bull and Hudson River Park for inflicting this upon the West Village

Kate Walter

The Village needs AIDS memorial

To The Editor:

I recently learned that the long-awaited AIDS memorial was planned for a site along the Hudson River Park between Bank St. and W. 11th St. I walked over there to see what the planners had in mind. Reaching the site — a semicircle, grassy area bordered by a stone walkway, which unfortunately is interrupted by two unsensibly-place lampposts — I was pleased with what I saw. But the view to the west was more visceral and emotive for me. Old wood pilings in various sizes and degrees of deterioration, which once supported a vibrant pier, stretched out endlessly into the river. I leaned against the railing for a long time, looking at the pilings out in the river. I thought about all those who died from AIDS and especially Drew, who passed away almost 10 years ago. While this setting is very powerful and in many ways perfect, it needs a formal designation. Community Board 2 and the Hudson River Park Trust should make this a priority. In William Hoffman’s 1985 play “As Is,” the hospice worker says of AIDS, “It is the Village.” It’s about time we acknowledged that. The Village needs this memorial now.

Andrew Marber

Koch gets a (-) for backing Bush

To The Editor:

Former Mayor Ed Koch deserves a big (-) if his position supporting President Bush’s war on Iraq is as reported in The Villager’s Sept. 24 article, “What’s he doin’? Koch backs Bush.” Either his logic is so impaired that he is blind to the facts, or he takes outrageous positions just to garner attention.

1. Bush has a tiger by the tail and can’t let go until Saddam Hussein is found — dead or alive. That’s why the administration will not give a timetable for our troops to come home. If we leave before Saddam is captured, then there’s a good chance the Iraqi people will once again embrace him as their leader. We will have sacrificed so many lives, and spent billions to rebuild the oilfields and the neglected infrastructure by that time — to what end? To solidify Saddam’s position and make Iraq another sanctuary and center of fanatical terrorism?

2. Iraq’s interim representative to the Arab League has vowed to embrace that organization’s position on Israel. That is to drive that nation into the sea. Help Israel? Think that over, mayor.

3. Iraq’s potential for producing oil will mean it will join and strengthen the OPEC cartel, which will continue to use the money from oil profits to fund the terrorists’ causes and prevent us from winning the right “War on Terror,” which no doubt has been harmed by Bush’s preemptive war, and alienated 99 percent of the world’s powers.

4. The Bush administration has failed to cut into this country’s gas-guzzling culture by decreasing the minimum miles per gallon by two times and pushing alternative, non-polluting energy production (solar, wind, etc.), which would be easy ways to cut into OPEC and its resulting power.

So, Mayor Koch, please reevaluate your position, and consider carefully how you can help return sanity to the White House in 2004.

Irwin Fruchtman

District leader’s favorite subject

To The Editor:

It was good of you to provide Arthur Z. Schwartz an opportunity in last week’s paper to write at length on a subject about which he cares so deeply: Arthur Z. Schwartz (“Trying to balance the personal and political,” Talking Point, Oct. 1).

A better title, however, would have been “Everything you always wanted to know about Arthur Schwartz…and more!”

In a business (politics) that tends to attract the self-enamored, Arthur truly stands out from the crowd.

Karen Ginsberg

Election coverage seemed biased

To The Editor:

The Villager editorial staff has a right to endorse whomever they want for whatever reason they want to. Under freedom of the press, they even have a right to turn their news coverage into partisan advocacy, but in so doing, they risk losing the trust of their readership.

The Wall Street Journal editorial staff has been criticized for disputing facts in that paper’s news coverage. At least the two are independent. Yes, you have given “equal time” to Arthur Schwartz in an Oct. 1 Talking Point, but:

1. Did you give permission to the Village Independent Democrats to run off copies of The Villager’s endorsement and distribute them?

2. Have you given the V.I.D. permission to post selections from Scoopy’s Notebook on the V.I.D. Web site?

3. How do you explain the difference between reporting on V.I.D. President Chad Marlow’s negative campaigning and aiding and abetting it?

4. Who authorized the placement, order and content of The Villager’s biased front-page story on the female district leader race just prior to the election? I am really confused — was the primary election a referendum on the survival of the V.I.D., or a sick test of The Villager’s influence?

Barry Drogin

Drogin and his family campaigned for Cynthia Smith in the female district leader race

Advertising vs. kids’ safety

To The Editor:

Re “Gertie the guard provides safety with a smile” (news article, Oct. 1):

Your photographer, Elisabeth Robert, captured much more in her photo than she is aware of. The image of our crossing guard, Gertie, guiding a family safely across the street is priceless. After all Gertie is also responsible for guiding the kids from St. Anthony’s School as well, so her burden is great, and her story important.

However, if you look into the background of the photo you will see (directly behind the young mother’s head) a huge billboard/phone booth that is the root of our problems in this situation. As your article mentioned, there is no crosswalk for Gertie and the kids to use. This of course puts the kids at increased danger from the cars speeding along Prince St. to catch the light.

Why would there be no crossing at this most obvious intersection? It is clearly because this obtrusive billboard/phone booth (referred to officially as “street furniture”) was placed right in the middle of the crossing area in spite of there being at least six public phones within a half block. The reason for this absurd placement is so that product advertising on the billboard can be seen by the cars coming down MacDougal St.

The lesson here is that life may be cheap (even the lives of schoolkids), but advertising revenue is priceless. It is interesting to note that the three products presently being displayed on this billboard at the cost of the safety of schoolchildren are; hard liquor, People magazine and the film “Intolerable Cruelty.” I would say that this combo is perfect poetry for such a ghastly kiosk.

In the future, when you hear the term “street furniture,” flash back to the image of this billboard in the school crossing, and consider that everything that you now use as a public convenience will soon become public advertising….at a priority.

Lawrence White