I would like to respond to the four-page untitled “Advertorial” which was placed by Barbara Honegger’s “Lawyers’ Committee” in the September issue of WestView, which sorely needs the $4000 advertising income (as much as 2000 monthly subscribers, which we don’t have).
The committee is desperately striving to have our readers believe that over 3000 lives plus the entire World Trade Center were destroyed, not by two hijacked passenger air liners, but by government agents in black suits scurrying around secretly at night planting little bombs in three or more of the buildings 1-7. They refuse to believe that buildings 1 and 2, the North and South Towers, were struck so violently as to cause them to collapse and cause fires that spread throughout the entire World Trade Center site. Virtually, every standing building on the entire site burned or collapsed to the ground. Since World War II, there have been no attacks of this magnitude.
In the current case of fires in Oregon, there are also conspiracy theorists that those fires were ignited by Antifas members. President Trump blames them on states not raking the leaves or removing the accumulated brush.
It is a profound insult to the memories and losses experienced by the families and friends of those who died during the crash and collapse of the towers and the fires that followed to look for conspiracy theories rather than the facts behind the tragedy. What is the Lawyers’ Committee seeking? Some compromise, saying that thought the twin towers probably did collapse because of the planes, but the collapse of Building 7 “resembled” controlled demolition. In fact, films showed to me by Dusty Berke showed almost the entire non-fireproofed building containing large quantities of inflammable interior partitions, furniture and materials in flames before collapsing. She pointed out the presence of thermite in the ruins, a molten material which is a product of welded steel buildings, which is just the way Buildings 1,2 and 7 were constructed.
Why is so difficult to accept this evidence?
Bleecker Street Homeless
The past 6 months have been very difficult for all of us here in the Village. But it also brought forth many examples of why the Village is such an amazing community. Neighbors helping neighbors happened all over America. But it is hard to deny that compassion and mutual support were exceptionally tight in our own neighborhood. In many ways, it reminded us of the time right after Hurricane Sandy.
Here at Li-Lac Chocolates we are becoming increasingly confident we will be able to survive the crisis. Unfortunately, our survival comes on the back of our employees and our landlords. In February we had 70 employees, at the trough we were below 10. We are currently rebounding, and next week our 6th and final store at Chelsea Market will be allowed to reopen. It will be a long road before we can rehire all 70 members of our team, but we are very grateful we have now embarked upon the journey. Most employees were able to get generous unemployment benefits, but sadly a few fell through the cracks. We are blessed none of our employees were infected by the virus itself, but sadly many of our customers were.
Four of our 5 Manhattan landlords made very generous concessions to help keep us alive. In particular, Chelsea Market and Hudson Yards were incredibly supportive. We usually love to complain about our landlords, this is New York after all. But their support has played a key role in our survival. With our 5th Manhattan landlord, Senator Hoylman is leading an effort to persuade the MTA to help keep their tenants alive. I think that points to something else that makes our community so cohesive. We are very fortunate in our political leaders. In this neighborhood we love to argue about anything and everything. But when the crunch hits, we all pull together and find strong leaders to unite behind.
Frankly, West Village customers can be quite challenging. Perfectionists, always demanding, they definitely keep us on our toes. We like to think of it as a competitive edge. But one thing we learned after Hurricane Sandy and again this year, they are also incredibly loyal. In our stores we threw a fortune in chocolates away after the crisis hit. (Our chocolates aren’t formulated for long shelf life and are only practical in high turn-over stores). But, at the same time, in our internet store we couldn’t keep up with demand. Well over a thousand of our customers switching to our website enabled us to keep the bills paid. We will always be grateful for that.
Many businesses and residents have spoken out about the homeless situation. Our Greenwich Street store was robbed early in the pandemic, but we figured that was an isolated instance. Then in June we started seeing homeless sleeping in front of our Bleecker Street store. At first we wanted to be supportive, since they were are also victims of the same economic storm buffeting us. But then in July and August our sales were down sharply. Sadly, this sales drop translated into 2 or 3 fewer employees recalled than we had initially planned. Repeated calls to 311 were ignored, but finally – thanks to the support of Speaker Corey’s office – the City responded. While our sales there are still well below par, they have rebounded and we are getting ready to recall two more employees.
For most if not all of us, the past 6 months were very stressful. At Li-Lac Chocolates, we did what we had to do in order to survive, but that doesn’t mean we feel good about laying off our employees or pressuring our landlords. But the incredible support we received from our community we will always remember. We learned a lot about the goodness of our community and customers. Maybe the best way to end this essay is by saying a very simple but heartfelt THANK YOU.
—Chris Taylor, email@example.com
Can Bleecker Street Make a Come Back?
Coming back from Trader Joe’s via Bleecker Street, I noticed several angry announcements on some storefronts blaming the Governor and the Mayor
for the permanent closing of their respective stores. I agree with them. Bleecker Street is famous. But will it stay that way? What with the political situation, I believe that things are only likely to get worse
mere days after the upcoming election. After all, which candidate is more likely to keep big cities, including ours, safe? Will Bleecker Street be boarded
up permanently? Some readers have another or second homes to go to. And then there are the others, including people like myself. Do I sound somewhat concerned?
—John F. Early, Charles Street
I was fascinated with Brian Pape’s astute response to the exceptional map produced by our colonial masters in 1776, chiefly for military purposes (one can see the encampments surrounding the Collect Pond). I have a similar hand colored map drawn by the British in the same year, showing not only placement of British forces, but enemy colonial forces as well.
I was intrigued as well with the reference to the Wolf Monument which was placed at the terminus of Monument Lane at approximately today’s Greenwich Avenue projected to 15th Street. I have seen and may have filed somewhere a drawing of the monument. Like Brian, I wonder what happened to it? Maybe it is in someone’s garden or buried on site? I would like to learn more about Wolf, whom I believe was linked to the war on Canada, and why the monument was placed at that location.
Monument Lane led southeast to Sandy Hill Road where it crossed the burial ground and parade ground in today’s Washington Square. The original plan for the park there was very similar to the design of Samuel Ruggles’ Gramercy Park laid out in 1831 along with Lexington Avenue and Irving Place. Sandy Hill Road then swung northeast to Peter Stuyvesant’s farm, today’s Stuyvesant Place, and St. Mark’s Church in the Bowrie.
It might be appropriate to commemorate the Wolf Monument with a quiet natural sculptural retreat near or at the same location as part of our forward looking livable streets.