Letters to the Editor, May 31

‘Death of a Salesman’ still relatable today

Arthur Miller’s greatest and most venerable play has returned yet another time to Broadway. Along with Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill and Edward Albee, they represent the iconic American playwrights of the 20th Century.

“Salesman” opened in 1949 and has been revived via stage and film many times. I first saw it as a film with Lee J. Cobb when I was in college in the 1960’s on WCBS-TV’s then “Late Late Show.” I was blown over by its theme and aesthetic quality.

The protagonist, Willy Loman, now in his sixties, has returned from yet another canceled sales trip. He’s become exhausted from his many unrealized attempts to reach the attain his dreams, and one of his two sons, Biff who had shown great promise in high school is also going nowhere.

He goes to his company’s office and speaks to his former boss’s son and asks for improved assignments. His new employer, now a wealthy man, cannot understand Willy’s plight and reduces his schedule. Loman loses his temper and shouts, “Promises were made here!” He is now fired and depends on a friend to supplement his loss of income. (His friend’s son is seen as heading to Washington to argue a case before the Supreme Court. This is juxtaposed to Willy’s son, Biff who, well, is going nowhere.)

This play is now especially salient today, as many due to the economy (yes, even recent college grads) attempt in vain to achieve a dream they thought was theirs. Then, there is serendipity. Timing and just plain luck – at times out of our control – are important factors.

I have seen many versions of the play. I found Frederick March and Dustin Hoffman to be the best. Now the present incarnation: director Mike Nichols chose another Hoffman – Philip Seymour Hoffman. Both Nichols (who has directed many plays and films) and Seymour Hoffman are masterful in their artistic roles. Philip Hoffman doesn’t play his characters – rather, he becomes them. When I saw his film, “Truman Capote,” I didn’t know who the actor was until the final credits.

Then there is Mike Nichols. I saw an hour interview with him on the TimesTalks series. During Nichols’ closing remarks, he commented that Willy Loman was redeemed in the final moments of “Salesman.” Since it had become impossible for him to achieve the American Dream, his death at least brought him peace. And his son Biff was now liberated from Willy’s pressures and now had the potential to be liberated.

David Chowes, PCV

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Kips Bay Day on May 26

Kips Bay Day last year

The Kips Bay Neighborhood Alliance, the Department of Transportation and Community Board 6 will be celebrating the Kips Bay community with a special celebration all day on Saturday, May 26. All are welcome to come celebrate Kips Bay Day at the Plaza from 10 to 5 p.m.

The plaza is located on the service road, the east side of 2nd Avenue and is closed off to traffic from 30th to 33rd Streets through July 31 for neighbors and local community groups to gather and enjoy the open space.

To celebrate this much-needed public open space there will be live music with the Craig McGorry Jazz Trio, chess games with NYChessKids, a puppet show presented by Repertorio Espanol, belly dancing from Stein Senior Center, pet training from Walter’s Pets, Bike training from Sids Bikes & NYBikes and much, much more. Come out to support the Kips Bay community at this newly opened community gathering space for music, relaxing and fun.

Street closures this weekend

The New York City DOT announced street closures for this upcoming holiday weekend. Sixth Avenue, between 14th Street and 23rd Street, will be closed for the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club Festival from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday. Lexington Avenue between 23rd Street and 34th Street will be closed on Sunday for the Bellevue South Community Association Lexington Avenue Jubilee from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Intersection: Babel

Director and producer Karen Loew premiered her short documentary film, Intersection: Babel at the LABA Festival, which was hosted by the 14th Street Y last week on May 19th. As previously reported by T&V, the film is about the intersection of First Avenue and 14th Street, which inspired Loew because she lives close by. The film’s Facebook page can be found here and the movie can be viewed below.

Con Ed cleanup job at Oval

By Sabina Mollot

In case anyone’s wondering what a bunch of workers have been doing at the Oval with some equipment that looks like a vacuum, it’s part of a cable oil cleanup.

The workers, subcontractors for Con Ed, have been attempting to drain some oil that was used to insulate a cable that shot a circuit and opened yesterday, a spokesperson for the utility said.

The spokesperson, Sara Banda, added that the oil does not pose “a significant environmental impact” and no one’s service has been impacted as a result of the cable breaking.

The company is hoping to finish draining the oil by Friday afternoon.

The work began yesterday, and the reason it takes a while to complete the job is that first workers have to locate the problem area before fixing it and cleaning up the area, Banda said.

 

 

Dance Parade New York 2012

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Photos by Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, participants in Dance Parade New York shimmied, leapt, skated and pirouetted their way through Flatiron, Union Square and the East Village, creating a rainbow effect from their brightly colored costumes as they went.

The event, which has been taking place since 2006, is organized by a nonprofit organization called Dance Parade Inc. Its mission is to promote the diversity of dance, and indeed the event is always very much like a showcase of dances from dozens of cultures.
Organizers said they expected around 200 groups, 9,000 dancers and 75 different dance styles to be involved this year.

The parade started at 20th Street and Broadway with a route heading south and eventually ending up in Tompkins Square Park. The dance troops included those doing ballet, belly dancing, flamenco and more from African, Mexican, Peruvian and Bavarian cultures.

Letters to the Editor, May 24

Is a Stuy Town Civil War coming?

Re: Recent letters about feeding animals
To the editor:

Several years ago, during the turbulent time of MetLife’s sale of PCV/ST, an astute observer remarked that there were signs of class warfare in this community. Sadly, that unfortunate situation is now in place. Nowhere is this more evident in the recent spate of nasty letters containing comments about “old people.”

What a good person am I, Alice Malhotra-Freeman (author of letter, “In defense of bird and squirrel feeders,” T&V, May 17) seems to be suggesting, as she describes how she’s “teaching (her) kids to love and care about animals” during their daily walks around Stuy Town as they feed the squirrels. Contrast this with her attitudes about humans: “miserable old ladies”… “low-class high school students from Brooklyn”! There’s a terrible disconnect here; what’s worse is that this poison is rapidly spreading.

That management has asked tenants repeatedly, over the years, not to feed pigeons or squirrels evidently falls on (many) deaf ears: the rat problem is not imaginary. They are spotted in all areas, in daylight or evening — recently inside my own building as well. Also, some squirrels (which, please note, are wild animals, not domestic ones) have become too “friendly,” so emboldened by all manner of food tossed to them, that the mere sight of a person toting a plastic bag can cause them to chase and pester one. I’ve observed them attempting to run up people’s legs as they stroll or relax on benches. Worse, an older neighbor in the area was actually bitten on the shoulder by one such enthusiast.

All this having been said, it’s now painfully clear that this warfare is getting nastier; warfare that is between the older tenants who’ve adhered to rules that kept this place looking and feeling great – the very qualities that attracted newcomers to begin with – and a population that’s apparently never heard the word “no.”

The easiest, non-thinking way of defending one’s viewpoint is to name-call. “Animal haters” is typical. Ms. Malhotra-Freeman’s contempt, along with that of Al Salame and Tony Sangabo (letters, T&V, April 26) for “grouchy old people” who are being “subsidized” by new tenants, is shameful. I cannot imagine how these factions can unite in any ownership plan.

Finally, if these writers had any ability whatsoever to go beyond their own experience and try to understand “all the complaints” they complain about, they might see what it is to feel something precious gradually and steadily being wrecked.

I’m afraid Mr. Salame’s labeled the wrong group as having a “false sense of entitlement.”

Geraldine Levy, ST

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Woman killed by truck on East 14th Street

A 21-year-old woman was killed this morning after being hit by a truck on East 14th and Broadway.

According to police, the woman was struck as she was crossing Broadway, heading east, by the truck, which was also heading east on 14th Street and making a right onto Broadway. After hitting the woman, the truck driver fled the scene and an investigation is now underway.

The woman was unresponsive by the time an EMS team arrived and she was then taken to Beth Israel where she was pronounced dead.

Police are withholding the woman’s name pending family notification.

A few family-friendly events today

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Here are a few family-friendly things going on…

Madison Square Park Spring Kids Fest from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. In celebration of the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s 10th anniversary, a day of family activities will include concerts by The Fuzzy Lemons, The Rockdoves and Songs for Seeds. There will also be a magical act by Amazing Max. Karma Kids will offer storytelling and yoga.

Stuyvesant Town’s Spring Circus Carnival from 3-6 p.m. on the Oval. The Bindlestiff Family Circus presents circus workshops, a photo booth, bounce houses, face painting and more. Free to residents and their guests. Plus live music by children at the Third Street Music School

A paddle tennis singles tournament will also be taking place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Stuyvesant Town’s Playground 5.

The Manhattan Kickers Soccer Club is holding trying tryouts for boys and girls for its U-8 through U-15 teams from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the East 6th Street Soccer Field (East River and 6th St. track field.)

Ukrainian Festival, on E. 7th between 2nd and 3rd Aves. Food, crafts, gifts, kids’ games, stage shows.

Man fatally struck by car on East 23rd Street

Shortly after 1 a.m. today, a 76-year-old man who was crossing East 23rd Street was fatally struck by a motorist who was heading west.

The pedestrian, whose name is being withheld by the NYPD pending family notification, was hit by a 72-year-old woman who was driving a 1997 Acura.

When police arrived at the scene, the man was found lying on the ground with severe body trauma and was taken to Bellevue, where he was pronounced DOA.

The driver remained at the scene, police said, and currently no criminality is suspected.

Missing kittens near ST

Shortly after today’s issue of Town & Village went to press yesterday, we learned about two missing kittens. A third that was missing was just found outside of 525 E. 14th St., but, warned local cat rescuer Marilyn, kittens are hard to catch. The kittens still unaccounted for are black and white and three months old.

Monkey (l) and Wolfie (r)

If anyone thinks they’ve spotted the little guys, Monkey and Wolfie, call Marilyn at (917) 359-5032.

Letters to the Editor, May 17

In defense of squirrel and bird feeders

Re: Letter, “The scoop on bird poop,” Apr. 19
Dear Ms. Mollot,

I do not understand why you have space in your newspaper dedicated to letters from people who just complain and complain about anything and everything.

Last month it was a letter from a person – who I bet is a miserable old lady of Stuyvesant Town — complaining about feeding birds and squirrels. What is wrong with feeding squirrels? Doesn’t this person eat as well? I have had several unpleasant run-ins with old ladies complaining about the squirrels.

The person wrote asking us not to feed pigeons and squirrels and saying that poop from pigeons will hit kids and older people. Are you kidding me? Maybe this complainer should never leave his/her apartment. There are thousands of pigeons in NYC, not only in Stuy Town.

I am a mother of three small children in Stuy Town and I am teaching my kids to love and care about animals. We walk around Stuy Town every day and enjoy feeding the squirrels.

I think it is beautiful to have squirrels in your yard. After all, they are part of Stuy Town. I couldn’t imagine Stuy Town without squirrels.

There are more important quality of life issues in Stuy Town than squirrels and pigeons: empty beer bottles on the grounds, noisy weekend parties by college students, drug addicts on 14th street and First Avenue, low-class high school students from Brooklyn that attend classes nearby and use our grounds as picnic tables and to smoke marijuana.

Alice Malhotra-Freeman, ST

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Letters to the Editor, May 10

Community can’t be pigeonholed

Re: Letter, “Enough complaining about ST/PCV,” T&V, Apr. 26
While I agree that the nasty complaining on this page has often been excessive, one letter writer last week chose to see the nasty and raise it, by stereotyping all who complain, and by incorrectly claiming that market rate rents subsidize stabilized rents.

Increasing the number of market rate rents was a relatively recent move intended to “subsidize” the coffers of Tishman Speyer, and now those rents partially subsidize things like constant horticultural work and Oval Amenities.

Having lived here for ten years here (not long by Stuy Town standards), I have things in common with both the older and newer generation of residents, and I know not to pretend that either generation all thinks the same way. I have learned more than once here that it’s best to reach out to others to try to work out the problems that our close quarters can cause.

It works well that Al Salame’s letter was printed so close to the anniversary of Rodney King’s famous quote!

Al Salame should consider that angry or lamenting letters printed on this page are from real individuals, and should also realize that those letters are rarely as angry as Salame’s own.

David Dartley, ST

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Letters to the Editor, May 3

How is ‘special event’ in ST/PCV defined?

To the Editor:

It is unfortunate that Council Member Garodnick has gone along with CW and Rose in sidestepping the zoning rules (and apparently ignoring the “clearly incidental” and “customarily found” requirements found in the Zoning Resolution definition of Accessory Use) to allow the return of the greenmarket to the Oval under the pretense that its availability will be limited to “residents and their guests only,” and the return of food trucks at “special events.”

Notably, “special events” are not defined so, presumably, anything that CW and Rose declare to be a special event, perhaps even the greenmarket, will qualify.  By agreeing to this pretense, the Council Member has ignored the primary complaint about the greenmarket – its location on the Oval – and opened the door to CW and Rose further exploit the Oval as a commercial and event space, without limit, merely by claiming the activities are limited to “residents and their guests only.”

According to the Council Member, management has agreed to add language to its perimeter sidewalk signs and on any of their materials referencing the market that the market is for “residents and their guests only” and are in the process of correcting any outstanding public references to the market being open to the public.   While GrowNYC has removed the reference to the market being open to the public, it contains a map of the market’s location and a link to management’s website for more information and, as of April 29, one week before the market’s opening, neither that site nor management’s own site has added the language for “residents and their guests only” or any other language that would indicate that it is not open to he public.

During his tenure, Council Member Garodnick has, generally, represented the ST/PCV community well and has done many good things on behalf of it.  His acquiescence in CW and Rose’s charade to continue the presence of the greenmarket on the Oval is not one of them and will only embolden the property’s current mercenary management to create more Oval annoyances, of course — wink, nod – for “residents and their guests only.”

James J. Roth, PCV

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