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Westviews: Correspondence, Commentary, Corrections

WestView News Fighting the Good Fight!

Dear George,

So when your guy approached me about an ad in your paper for my new gallery, I was a little reluctant. I hate to spend $ unless it is on beer, or donating to progressive political candidates.

But when I realized I had gone to PS 41 with your son Doric, I said why not support a local business (and a newspaper at that!).

The ad looked great, and a few copies of the July edition were out and available to guests at my gallery, Art of Our Century, on 14th St.

Then, to my surprise, three separate visitors to the gallery commented to me about the paper they had picked up on my table. “This is pretty good,” was the consensus. All then lamented the end of the Village Voice, and the total bastardization of The Villager by its new owner.

Not everyone who spoke to me agreed with every point of view in every article in your paper, but that is what makes newspapers great—spurring conversation, thought and community involvement. With newspapers dying off at an alarming rate, it is comforting that the Village has at least one local outlet still fighting the good fight, informing people, entertaining people, and bucking the awful trend of media consolidation and cutbacks. Keep it up. And maybe I’ll see you up at the gallery sometime soon.

Voluntarily, and warmly,

Timothy McDarrah

Police Parking Attendants?

Why have cops from the 6th Precinct become the city’s highest paid parking lot attendants this summer?

While the idea that Black Lives Matter made many in the NYPD retort with “Blue Lives Matter,” the 6th Precinct’s response to this summer’s protests seems to be “Parking Spaces Matter.” Soon after the protests over police brutality against people of color began, the 6th Precinct closed off both Charles St. and W. 10th St. between Bleecker and Hudson to all pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The important crosstown bus route along W. 10th St. has been reopened but Charles St. remains closed to traffic, with cops guarding the barricades night and day. These blue uniformed attendants violate the city law that forbids cars from idling for more than three minutes at a time by continuously running the engine of their Smart police car so its air conditioner can keep them cool while they peruse their phones.

Inside the precinct’s new lot, and parked on the sidewalks, are the private cars of officers and various NYPD vehicles, most of which are decorated with three words: “Courtesy,” “Professionalism,” “Respect.” The irony of this situation surely must be lost on the 6th Precinct, which has employed uncourteous, unprofessional, and disrespectful actions toward its West Village neighbors in its quest for easy parking.

It came as no surprise when the cops’ union, the PBA, recently endorsed for re-election as president a racist, ignorant, sociopath. What is surprising, however, is that our local politicians have not raised any objections to the 6th Precinct annexing an entire block in our neighborhood for its personal use. What’s going on?

—Charley McKenna

Buy Stamps

To the Editor:

Walking down Hudson Street the other day, I saw a bunch of stamps taped up to a store window. Underneath were the hashtags #buystamps and #savetheusps. With what’s going on with the Post Office, this sounded like a good idea. I went into the post office on Hudson and bought 100 first class everything stamps and made a point of telling the worker that I wouldn’t need the stamps until Christmas but I thought I should buy them “considering everything that’s happening.” He appreciated and nodded.

When I got home, I read a letter to the editor of the NY Times that to save the Post Office we should buy stamps. Is this becoming a movement? Buying lots of stamps won’t dig the PO out of the hole it’s in but maybe this can spread throughout the country, including the Republican states. If their own constituents are being screwed by the sabotage of the PO and complain to their elected officials then maybe the spineless Republican enablers in the Congress will actually do something about it. We can only hope. Buy stamps.

—Alec Pruchnicki

Hagia Sophia

I have enjoyed your WestView News for a number of years having lived in the west village for over 20 years and am now living in Chelsea. The several articles which you added in the August issue on Hagia Sophia were wonderful! I have always wanted to see this church, but have more frequently gone to other parts of Europe because of my interest in pipe organs. Now such a visit is becoming impossible as my age becomes 90 in September and I am not traveling as I once did. Many Thanks for an interesting newspaper.

—Martin

To the Editor:

I’ve enjoyed the articles on the Hagia Sophia.

I used to have a big picture book on this building, part of a series on beautiful buildings—put out by either Time-Life or Newsweek. One of the things I noticed in the interior photos, and I see it in the WestView photo, too, is that those huge circular placards in Arabic with Muslim messages violate the gorgeous lines of the architecture. A real mosque would never have that, and there’s much great Muslim architecture too, of course.

As I recall from my reading, someone who wasn’t even Muslim put up those placards. They were left there when the building became a museum. They should be removed, no matter how the future of the building turns out to be.

A friend has written me that museums have never caused wars, but religions have. My response is that religions get their power by teaching love and kindness, each in a particularly inspiring way. No museum, which nonetheless is often full of great religious art, ever has that power or life-changing effect. It’s only when religious power becomes corrupted, and people loyal to one religion decide to be intolerant of other religions, that war takes place. No true religion teaches war, but the opposite, and any religious war violates those principles that made the religion so loved in the first place.

—Carol Yost

I’ll write this like I feel it. First, Hagia Sophia, built by Christians, was in Christian hands for 916 years, according to my calculations. Then, it was a mosque for 481 years. After that, it was a museum “established in 1935,” as you indicated, for 85 years. Now, the Turkish hierarchy has switched gears to its being a mosque, once again.

I feel that this latest metamorphosis by the Turkish government is clearly bellicose saber-rattling directed at Christians, who might be erroneously considered “soft targets” because of some well developed concepts, like “Love your neighbor like yourself.”

I call upon President Erdogan and government to make Hagia Sophia once again a museum for all peoples, and not to just give that lip service.

—John F. Early

Mark That Katie Keith!

Thank you for your article. For me, there was no skimming over sentences; my eyes were glued to each sentence. Nothing coy or ego driven about this piece. Only straight-on observation of Life’s circumstance. Mark that Brilliant.

—Max

Remembering Mia

Dear Liza,

It is a sad day for the Village.

Mia belongs to the ages now.

But she continues to inspire us … see her picture in our bedroom mirror.

With sadness and sympathy,

—Tom

Mr Capsis:

Would you be so kind as to pass along our sympathy to Ms. Whiting for the loss of her beloved dog, who was also no doubt, a community friend to many. We have enjoyed Mia’s presence in the newspaper. She had many admirers and was quite the charmer. Wise, too.

Thank you. MLF

Flood Gates

Dear Editors,

Malcolm Bowman’s thoughtful advocacy of flood gates stretched across New York harbor between Queens and New Jersey fails to address several essential corollary impacts on the lands flanking the gates. These shoulders, well over 50 feet high and several miles long, would require millions of yards of fill to be trucked over local roads in suburban communities. The Sandy Hook National Seashore, a federally protected wildlife sanctuary where he and I cannot even walk, would be buried in possibly contaminated landfill. On top of that, this enormously expensive artificial barrier may leak at the edges along the Jersey Shore, allowing flood water to move up through Barnegat Bay into the harbor. Many houses along the shore were destroyed by the Hurricane Sandy tidal surge.The levees along the Jersey coast had been left with tunnels to allow parking on the beaches.

Preparing for the next tidal surge is important and I’m glad that Malcom Bowman is giving this challenge such thoughtful attention, but our approach as a city should be resilient, not defensive. For example the city has proposed artificial oyster reefs at the foot of Manhattan to absorb the brunt of the storm.

Building a ten foot high berm around lower Manhattan blocking views of the harbor or a tall concrete wall around East River Park are not answers either. The city has carefully mapped the shorelines subject to flooding. Anyone who builds in those fragile zones has to either flood proof their facilities or build in such a way that the facilities can be dried and reused.

When the recreation piers along Hudson River Park emerged from the high tides of Sandy, some, because of poorly thought-out original construction, required rebuilding, while others did not. There were lessons to be learned here. We have to think long term and build resiliently. We will then have a more beautiful and affordable community.

—Barry Benepe

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