Volume 17, Number 33 | May 06 - 12, 2005

Letters to the editor

Pedicab loss

To The Editor:
Re “Not fare, says bike taxi owner forced to sell fleet” (news article, April 22 - 28):

Your story about pedicab owner George Bliss is but one more example of the type of unique resource we are losing as a city. Mr. Bliss’s business not only provides a pollution-free form of transportation, it also makes our city more fun. Perhaps the most important facet of Mr. Bliss’ pedicab business is that he provides good jobs to many who will be less employed now than they were before if Mr. Bliss is forced to sell off his fleet. How does that help our city?

My apartment is only three blocks from Mr. Bliss’ Hub Station on Thompson

St., so at night I pass by his business as I walk my dog. The fact that the pedicab drivers are out most of the day and late into the night makes the area feel far safer. Without their constant activity this sense of safety will diminish dramatically.

When you look around Lower Manhattan, you will also see that almost all of the public art has been permanently removed, while old theater and art groups are being forced out by high rents, and the same fate descends on CBGB. Then you will hear about the permanent disbanding of the Community Board 2 Art Committee, a rejection of a public art gallery at C.B. 2, and new rules proposed by City Hall severely restricting fine artists from displaying their own artwork in public. When you consider all of this information you could easily get the impression that creative people are not very welcome here.

The fact is that good, hard-working, creative businessmen citizens such as Mr. Bliss and his pedicab drivers are the very type of human resource the city should never squander. In the end, New York City itself stands to be the biggest loser unless this negative policy is reversed.

Lawrence White

Issue not settled

To The Editor:
I read with some dismay your article entitled “Settlements still lend, and need, a helping hand” in your April 15- 21 issue (news article). As the executive director of Hamilton-Madison House, a 107-year old settlement house located in Lower Manhattan, I was disturbed that my organization was not included in your well-meaning, but incomplete article.

Hamilton-Madison House serves the residents of the Two Bridges/Chinatown community and, through its specialized behavioral health clinics, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Southeast Asian New Yorkers citywide. As with the other Lower Manhattan settlement houses, we too rely on volunteers.

Although we have 150 volunteers, who work both individually and in groups, additional volunteers would allow us to enhance the services that are already provided. Today volunteers read to children in our early childhood classes, tutor elementary school age children, work as sous chefs in our teen cooking classes, host holiday parties, help new immigrants with their conversational English and provide services and companionship to seniors.

Information on volunteer opportunities can be obtained by calling Jessica Tynan, Hamilton-Madison House’s Volunteer Coordinator, at (212) 349-3724 ext 338 or by accessing the Web site at www.hmh100.com.

Frank T. Modica

Caps becoming of Cummings

To The Editor:
Re “e. e. cummings ‘the painter’ ”(arts article, April 1 - 7):

The headline accompanying the article by one of The Village Voice founders, Jerry Tallmer, will help perpetuate the error of not capitalizing the name of E. E. Cummings. Tallmer writes that “Richard Kostelanetz . . . sneers at what he feels is the inappropriate compulsive lowercasing” of the poet and painter’s name.

Well, Kostelanetz is completely right, so move up to the front of the class, Richard.

Onetime Jane St. composer David Diamond (now 89 and living in Rochester) scolded me in 1960 for lowercasing Cummings’ name: “E.E. Cummings would come from Patchin Place with a whip had he known you lowercased his name! His daughter is furious if anyone does today. All his books, as was his signature, are in capital letters.”

Warren Allen Smith

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