Letters to the editor

People’s pavilion preference

To The Editor:

Re “Opponents pile on Union Square pavilion plan at rally” (news story, Dec. 13):

My thanks to The Villager for your coverage of the community’s fight to get a great new playground in Union Square Park. May I take the opportunity to add a few points I didn’t get around to mentioning at our press conference?

Perhaps our main argument with the Parks Department is its denial that the pavilion was ever used recreationally, and its insistence on turning it into a commercial venture. Parks would actually deprive the public of a recreation facility it once enjoyed; two of the many mothers who organized a play group back in the ’70s described working with park employees to utilize the pavilion for rainy-day play, for birthday parties, etc. And they told us of the fond memories their now-adult children have of the happy times they enjoyed in the park, despite the rundown conditions of the pavilion.

The fact is that the Parks Department has drastically cut its recreation staff over the years and it has allowed the pavilion to deteriorate. (It now seems to be mostly a storage area for park equipment.) So while these actions have discouraged recreational use, we now have a glorious opportunity to restore the pavilion for a unique purpose — one that could be a model for the rest of the city. We can turn it into a multi-use recreation space, providing a variety of programs, and also serving as a sheltered play space during sudden summer thunderstorms or wintry blasts. Union Square is fortunate in having an existing building capable of serving an augmented recreational need; maybe future parks should be designed from scratch with a similar amenity.

As for a restaurant, there are 18 right on Union Square, just around the perimeter of the park, and well over 100 eating places within a block or two. As many elected officials and community activists have stated: “A restaurant in Union Square Park is the last thing we need!”


Carol Greitzer

Greitzer was city councilmember for the Village, Chelsea and Midtown from 1969-’91

The monster within

To The Editor:

Re Charles Komanoff’s talking point (“Greenway deathtrap: More accidents will happen,” Dec. 13):

To a degree, I share his anger and outrage concerning the deaths and injuries to so many bicyclists in New York City and on the West Side bike path. I am a veteran bicycle rider and speak from personal experience and observation that many motorists are mentally and/or physically unfit to operate an 8,000-pound vehicle. Alas, I could say the same about my fellow bicyclists. Many are rude and aggressive. Pedestrians, too, are rude, impatient and reckless.

In other words, we have built a Frankenstein society. Mayor Bloomberg and his administration are really not the primary source of the problem in New York City.

Our leaders — local, state and national — to a very large degree, reflect the consciousness and values of the American masses. Our society is a Frankenstein monster of aggressiveness, selfishness, mean-spiritedness, congestion, pollution and noise.

Another favorite target is the New York Police Department. Again, it is mostly a mirror reflection of the consciousness and values of the masses of people. The Bloomberg administration, the Police Department, President Bush et al. certainly are far from perfect. But we need to be honest and wise. The vast majority of our fellow citizens are corrupt in their consciousness and values. Cynicism, bitterness, almost a contempt for strangers and outsiders dominate our city and our society. This is the real cancer. Lip service is given to the Judeo-Christian values taught in the Bible. But in people’s hearts and in their thoughts and in their actions, we have built a Frankenstein society. No matter how many scapegoats we seek, there is no escaping the truth.

Michael Gottlieb

E-mail letters, not longer than 350 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.