Letters to the Editor, Week of Feb. 4, 2016

Letters to The Editor, Week of Jan. 3, 2018

Chin wrong, disingenuous

To The Editor:

Re “City readies to request developers’ proposals for Elizabeth St. Garden” (news article, Jan. 28):

Councilmember Margaret Chin is flat-out wrong about the so-called “padlocked” heritage of access to the Elizabeth St. Garden, and disingenuous about the city’s prior commitments to this precious open space.

Community residents presented a 1981 commitment for the garden site to be maintained “exclusively for recreational purposes,” as well as Special Little Italy District zoning requirements dating from 1977.

“Would you consider tearing down the High Line to build affordable housing?” asked Renee Greene, 84, who lives across from the garden and said she has found it a comfort since her husband died and her arthritis worsened. “Why, then, even think about destroying the magical space that is the Elizabeth St. Garden?”

Theresa Collins


Congratulations, Claude

To The Editor:

Re “How I helped free Fernando, an innocent man” (talking point, by Claude Solnik, Jan. 28):

Congratulations, Claude. I know you worked long and hard to prove this man was innocent. You never wavered in your belief in his innocence. You knew that the system was not working, yet you believed you could right a wrong. And you did. Again, congratulations. We need more people like you.

Clayton Patterson


What about his daughters?

To The Editor:

“Purple: Paragon or pariah?” (news article, Jan. 28):
I must note that none of the Purple supporters mentioned the rights of his daughters to have their voices heard and the bravery it took for them to speak out. I think that, for them, it is part of the healing process and I hope it did help them.

I also think that if Bill Di Paola or any of those who spoke out for Purple had been molested by their parents, they would not be defending him.

John Penley


Plants (literally) over people

To The Editor:

Re “Purple: Paragon or pariah?” (news article, Jan. 28):
Excellent story on the community’s reaction. As to George Bliss’s comments about Adam Purple’s “visionary ideas” about building housing underground, he fails to note that this was Adam’s idea of a compromise on his garden of Eden: Build the affordable public housing underneath the Garden of Eden.

Plants were more important than people in needing light and air. Bury the people underground! You should have asked the New York City Housing Authority residents about Adam’s visionary proposal.

Valerio Orselli


Purple rage

To The Editor:

Re “All Purple’s daughters” (news article, Jan. 21):

He is lucky not to have touched my daughter.
I would have broken his legs.

Aron Kay a.k.a. The Yippie Pie Man


Bucking the ‘attack herd’

To The Editor:

Re “Purple: Paragon or pariah?” (news article, Jan. 28):
Instead of pursuing corrupt politicians and other criminals who need to be exposed and brought to justice, as a genuine community newspaper should, The Villager has taken a cue from the National Enquirer, choosing twice to go after community gardening activist Adam Purple, presenting graphic allegations of sexual misconduct committed by Adam as David Wilkie 50 years ago — after Adam was dead, when he could not respond or defend himself.

What was the point of The Villager doing this? Is assassinating Adam’s character after his death a bigger story for The Villager than going after those persons and groups who are betraying the public trust and destroying our city — or is it just a whole lot easier?

The responses to your articles on Adam Purple reveal something very disturbing abut human nature that ought to be addressed, as well. It seems that the more severe an accusation, the more eagerly people will attack the accused. And then they will attack those who do not go along with the program and fail to join them in the attack; those who dare to raise questions or doubts; and those who dare to require a higher standard of proof and a higher assumption of innocence before guilt.

Well, I dare to say that I am going to honor the memory of Adam Purple, regardless of the attacking herd. In the almost 30 years that I knew him, Adam was an inspiration to the rest of us as an urban survivalist, living off the land and using what was already here to create wonderful things. Adam Purple was a brilliant and witty guy who freely shared his insights with us. Adam Purple was a sort of elder statesman, living by example, showing us that we can live here and anywhere simply, without polluting or overconsumption.

Before joining the attacking herd, Villager readers ought to ask themselves how they would want to be remembered after they pass: for their accomplishments and contributions during the last five decades of their lives, or for the worst deed or deeds they are alleged to have committed 50 years earlier?

Chris Flash
Flash is editor, The SHADOW


Purple’s emotional wreckage

To The Editor:

Re “All Purple’s daughters” (news article, Jan. 21):

Your front-page photo of the Willkie “family” — featuring four uncomfortable-looking girls trying to smile for the camera — is horrifying and heartbreaking with the hindsight of knowing they were all being molested by their father at the time. Not just molested but trained with fanatical zeal (i.e.: the “dildo” training) to fulfill their “purpose on earth” — which was to “please men.” This is the patriarchal and misogynist vision of the “visionary” Adam Purple.

And he was not alone in his beliefs and actions. During the ’60s, there were many cults in which a patriarch dispensed sexual favors through the women he controlled — much as Adam used his daughters as “spectacle” and “pleasurers” for his orgy gatherings.

Purple left a huge amount of emotional wreckage, but never “got it” — he was still proposing threesomes to his adult daughters, well into his garden period. In the ’60s we used to say: “You are either part of the solution or part of the problem.” Those who think this is all made-up or trivial — a small stain on a great man’s reputation — are part of the problem.

Fran Luck
Luck is producer, “The Joy of Resistance,” a multicultural feminist radio show on WBAI


Holy horse manure, Batman!

To The Editor:

Re “The dark side of Purple” (news article, Dec. 31):

Holy horse manure, Batman!

Well, one would have to be naive beyond naive not to assess that there was a complex picture and past behind the man I knew as Adam Purple. When I was a 16-year-old, Adam allowed me to live on the third floor at 184 Forsyth St., with the only other people there when I arrived being Adam and Eve (i.e., Eve I, Diane).

They were certainly nice to me. I spent a fair amount of time in their apartment and was treated well. We read and I was fed! I certainly hope that Diane and Nova Dawn succeeded in every way possible and have lived a full life. You were nice and supportive to me when I was but a struggling teen. And now I realize you were probably less then a decade older than me, which means back then you were young too!

I had many teens visit me over the years I was there, and I believe both my friends Sorale and Lynne babysat for Nova Dawn on a few occasions without ever anything but positive experiences.

I was never made to use the garden as a lavatory and I likely wore leather sneakers daily, and at no time was Adam ever less than a educator and a protector, given the neighborhood at that time, where the term “war zone” was insufficient.

I appreciate all of Lincoln Anderson’s efforts and research 100 percent. I cannot speak to Adam’s life from before my time but only of my experiences, and they were positive. There are 8 million stories in the big city and this is certainly a complex one, indeed.

Larry Friedman


Shocking part of Purple

To The Editor:

Re “The dark side of Purple,” “All Purple’s daughters” and “Purple: Paragon or pariah?” (news articles, Dec. 31, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28):

These three articles have been a real shock to many of us who knew Adam for so many years and had no idea that this was part of who he was. I know that it is uncomfortable for us to have to adjust how we think of him, but our comfort is not what’s important here. These stories of healing and survival are far more important.

I am so very grateful to Adam’s daughters for coming forward with this information. And I am ashamed and deeply sorry for the disbelief and negativity that doing so has engendered from some vocal members of my community. Adam’s legacy is forever changed by these revelations, and that’s as it should be. Secrecy and denial are and have always been the tools of predators like Adam Purple. It’s a necessary part of how they are able to get away with this type of extreme violence right under the noses of unsuspecting friends and supporters. This series of articles is one important step in breaking down that silence. Thank you to Lincoln and The Villager for that.

I’d also like to amplify something that Adam’s daughter Jenean said in a comment to the first article: “Love is the reason the story was revealed…love and compassion for myself and for all the other children whose spirits were (and are) crushed by cruelty, objectification, neglect, violence, abandonment. This story is NOT uncommon.” Her whole post is wonderful, but this really struck me.

Thank you, Jenean. I knew your father for 30 years and had no idea. He’s actually the reason I first came to New York City back in 1985 — to help defend the amazing garden I’d heard about.

This is such an important lesson for us all to be aware that, just because we think we know someone and may even have seen him do great things, it does not mean that he is not also capable of horrific violence. And it does not absolve us of the moral obligation to refuse to be complicit in the conspiracy of silence that typically surrounds this type of behavior.

Sarah Hogarth
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, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.