Garcia’s Livable Streets
Nice to read Frank Quinn’s piece in the March issue of WestView News on Kathryn Garcia’s run for mayor. It is a nice complement to Mara Gay’s piece in the March 8 Times in which Ms. Garcia picks up on my series on Livable Streets in WestView News. Ms. Gay states, “Ms Garcia wants to create “green belts,” expanding tree canopies, getting waste spewing trucks off the road and making sidewalks safer, healthier, more relaxing places to spend time.” I couldn’t have said it better.
While reading Anastasia Kaliabakos’ article “Celebrating the Bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence,” I caught myself wanting to be Greek.
Thank you, Ms. Kaliabakos, for yet another fascinating article.
Those of us who did not go to Greek school often first started learning something about Greece from survey courses in English Lit that included a chapter about Lord Byron, one of the “Freedom fighters who changed the Course of History.” This article, however, was the first I had ever heard of the magnificent Bouboulina.
Might I suggest that one of the many statues of Byron—himself arguably a misogynist—be pulled down, and replaced by one of Bouboulina?
At this point, I very much doubt that Lord Byron or even his heirs would mind.
—John F. Early
Charles Street Association Spring Planting
To Our Neighbors Who Have Stayed, and Those Making Their Way Back,
It’s been quite a long year, but while we were all hibernating, we never let go of the Charles Street Association and are always looking at ways to revive it. As spring rolls in, and vaccines roll out, we look forward to a more eventful and joyous time in the West Village. We hope everyone will be able to safely join us for a full and fun series of post pandemic activities, old traditions, and new events.
The Charles Street Association is excited to announce their annual Spring planting, which will also signify the mark of several other exciting CSA events. Please stay tuned for more information.
For other events, our long time neighbor and founder of “Welcome Back West Village” (WBWV) Rema Sayge hopes to usher the renewal and the spirit of the West Village by filling seats in our restaurants with various pop up events, including live theater, an interactive dating game, panels and installations throughout our beloved village. “Our goal to engage the community, fill empty seats in our neighborhood restaurants and engage every demographic including our seniors, children and adults. Look for the three day launch coming late spring.
Charles Street Association President
Christine McLaughlin, a Villager, died this March of cardiac arrest. Christine was born in New York City and spent her whole life here. She and her late husband, Harvey McLaughlin, worked at and managed some of the legendary clubs on Bleecker Street in the 1970s and 1980s, among them The Bitter End and The Other End. Christine eventually became active in local politics and worked for many years in the Office of the City Council for New York City, serving under Christine Quinn and others. She retired from the Council as Director, Communications and Client Services, in 2019. She was also a long-time member of the Village Independent Democrats. Christine cared deeply about New York City and her beloved Greenwich Village. She fought the good fight and helped many friends and neighbors. She lived for decades on West 10th Street.
Graffiti Scarring the West Village: A Call to Action
Like so many residents who live in the beautiful West Village I’ve noticed with growing alarm over the past year or more the increasing scarring of the neighborhood by graffiti. It’s everywhere, it’s out of control and getting worse.
Between the graffiti, the dozens of empty store fronts, and the overflowing trash cans, I nearly cried by the time I returned home from running errands the first weekend of Spring. My beloved West Village is under assault, and I felt my own personal call to action, especially about the graffiti. Something needs to be done. Graffiti scrawled on building walls above Christopher and 7th Avenue; the residential building on the east side of 7th Ave. at 10th Street sporting ‘you go girl’ on one side and ‘magic trick’ on the other; the West 11th Street wall of the former Philip Marie restaurant on Hudson Street completely covered in big, ugly lettering; the nightmare that is the former McDonalds building on West 3rd Street and 6th Avenue; the former GNC location on the west side of 6th Ave. at Carmine Street, an unsightly mess! And the list goes on. But what really hit me was walking west on Bleecker towards 7th Ave. and seeing the newest graffiti installation above the 5 Guys restaurant at 7th and Barrow. Ugly and overbearing!
I have called the West Village home for nearly 30 years, and we West Villagers have had to put up with our fair share of nonsense by some bad actors outside of this community. Graffiti taggers scarring up our neighborhood are among this group, and some are even bold enough to sign their work. A lot of these creations were clearly not painted in five minutes; it took time. Why is nobody catching them in the act? They are hurting our neighborhood. Where is the 6th precinct? Where is the leadership from our mayor?
The proliferation of graffiti is a quality of life issue that needs to be addressed immediately by our elected representatives. I’m happy to report that I sent an email directly to Council Speaker Corey Johnson and received a phone call right away from a member of his staff, who agreed with my concerns and promised to relay them to the 6th precinct to see what they can do to try and stop these violators in the act. But help and leadership are clearly needed by all our elected reps. I ask neighbors who are as concerned as I am to send emails and letters, make phone calls; reach out and tell our reps and the police that this growing scourge must end. Let’s stand together and say enough!
Swimmer in St Barts from the exhibition Nothing Compares… Images from Rose Hartman’s Archives in Revelation Gallery (224 Waverly Place) throughout April. Opening reception: Tuesday 6 April from 6pm. To book contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 212 243 6192.