February 1 – 7, 2012

It’s more than handbags

 To The editor:
Re “Canal remains hot for tourists seeking knock-off goods” (news article, Jan. 18):

It is common knowledge that many bootleg items are sold on city sidewalks with what seems like near impunity. This includes bootleg fine art.

That is why it is most irksome that only some merchandise, such as handbags, is being considered for enforcement action. The illegal copying and selling of fine art is an even bigger part of the illegal vending industry and it is causing serious harm to the entire ecology of art. It is as if an ongoing oil spill is polluting the public art scene in New York City, only no one is trying to stop it or clean it up.

Literally, thousands of sidewalk displays selling illegally copied artwork clog our city streets every day. What is even worse is that these illegal stands displace the very few actual fine artists who have a sanctioned First Amendment right to display their artwork in public. It is as if a pirate fleet has displaced legal U.S. fishermen by force, but the authorities do nothing.

Until Councilmember Margaret Chin and others in a position of authority see the entire illegal vending situation as the problem (including bootleg artwork) and finally enforce the laws on the books now, the phenomenon of illegal vending will continue to grow and the damage to artists and our neighborhoods will only get worse.
Lawrence White 

Crossing times too short

To The Editor:
Re “Girl is killed crossing Delancey Street (news article, Jan. 19):

Why do we have to wait for a 12-year-old girl to get killed before anyone recognizes that the time for crossing Delancey Street allowed by traffic lights is woefully too short and dangerous?

Oh, I get it. It’s just “collateral damage.” It’s the minor price we pay in order to promote motorists, driving cars, motorized traffic.

And it’s not just that one intersection at Delancey and Clinton Streets. Many other intersections along Delancey Street, Houston Street, Allen Street and others are very dangerous, too.

Crossing time is only one issue. What about motorists who drive recklessly fast and seemingly act like they wouldn’t mind mowing down the vulnerable pedestrian?
Michael Gottlieb 

N.Y.U. a threat to East Village, too

To The Editor:
Preventing N.Y.U. from building on its own campus may be a solution for Greenwich Village but leaves the East Village N.Y.U.’s nearest option to build. Although the 2008 E.V. / L.E.S. rezoning prevents huge-scale development here, there are several large lots that may now become attractive to N.Y.U. Off the top of my head, these include the vacant former Loews theater on Avenue A, the former Charles Theater on Avenue B, Mary Help of Christians Church on Avenue A, the Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Avenue B and the old CHARAS / El Bohio, near Avenue B. And then there are the community gardens when their leases come due.

The weakness of “Not in My Back Yard” activism is shortsightedness. Setting a cat at every mouse hole is the least effective solution. Word has it that Community Board 1 would welcome N.Y.U., but until someone brokers a deal with N.Y.U. to build in the Financial District, N.Y.U. remains a threat to the East Village. East Village leadership should focus on the long-term solution in the Financial District, unless the East Village has changed so much demographically and commercially that Community Board 3 also welcomes N.Y.U.
Rob Hollander

Fight them all the way

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. takes heat on school and open space at hearings” (news article, Jan. 25):

N.Y.U. should be ashamed of itself. The “public elementary school,” which is now a kindergarten-to-eighth grade school, would certainly cause traffic congestion on Bleecker Street and endanger the children by its location on such a busy street. And the University’s obfuscation of many issues of importance to the community being presented by N.Y.U.’s team of nonresident-hired help, made its plan much less palpable to our close-knit Village community. N.Y.U. seeks to take over our public open spaces on Mercer Street and on Laguardia Place for the next 19 years while they construct a new city on two blocks of the Village. The N.Y.U. 2031 plan is a realtor / construction company nightmare that seeks to destroy the historic, landmarked nature of the Village. We shall fight them all the way.
Sylvia Rackow

 Letters policy

Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 511 Canal St., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.

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