Letters to the editor, Oct. 17

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Racist implications in playground protest

To the Editor:

Stuart Levinson’s letter (Oct. 10) is troubling on so many levels.

Mr. Levinson writes that “dangerous unsavory predators” are loitering around the basketball courts. I am in the vicinity at least twice per day and what I see are young people playing basketball.

Some of them are people of color. Mr. Levinson sees them as dangerous and unsavory. Some of the young people are waiting to get into basketball games. Mr. Levinson sees people loitering.

There are enough surveillance cameras here that I am confident public safety is keeping its eyes on all of us. In my opinion, they should turn their close attention to residents who have not gotten over or past the racist practices that regrettably characterized this complex in 1950, when it was “whites only.”

Mr. Levinson apparently seeks the rival of New York’s version Jim Crow laws that criminalized “standing around” as “loitering.” I encourage all residents to resist such “dangerous, unsavory and predatory” thinking.

Name withheld


Street co-naming inconsistencies

To the editor:

The Town and Village report on the rescinding of the proposed street co-naming for William Maxwell Evarts was seriously in error (“Controversy over anti-Mormon rhetoric nixes street co-naming,” T&V, October 10).

Community Board 6’s objections were twofold: (1) Evart’s defense of the anti-Reconstructionist President Andrew Johnson in his Impeachment trial, and (2) Evart’s central role in the theft of the presidential election of 1876. There was no consideration or even any mention of any Mormon Church controversy by CB6.

Robert Pigott’s article highlighted Evarts’ role defending Johnson, but omitted Johnson’s efforts to obstruct the then newly passed 13th Amendment. It also omitted Evarts’ central role in the Hayes-Tilden election.

CB6’s process of rescinding the April Resolution was first addressed in a memo on May 30, and then on June 19, at the CB6 Executive Committee meeting.

Lou Sepersky
Historian, Community District 6, Manhattan 

Editor’s note: Reporter Ryan Songalia, who wrote the story about the co-naming, attended Community Board 6’s full board meeting on September 11 where a discussion preceded the board’s vote to rescind a previous resolution to co-name the corner after Evarts. According to audio from the meeting, Transportation Committee Chair Sandra McKee said that after the resolution for the co-naming was originally passed last April, a Community Board member felt that additional information was necessary, and after City Council started vetting Evarts for the potential co-naming, they encountered issues with his stance on immigrants.

“The Office of the General Counsel came back with additional questions and concerns, mostly around the exclusion of Mormon immigrants that Evarts supported,” said Katie Loeb, Councilmember Carlina Rivera’s budget director, at the full board meeting, also noting that the law department would likely not approve the co-naming because of that controversy.

McKee told Town & Village this week that the decision to rescind the initial resolution was made by a vote at the executive committee and each board member voted for or against the proposal for their own specific reasons, although the initial proposal to rescind the resolution in the first place was due to questions raised by Sepersky.

Sepersky also clarified to Town & Village that the conversation about Evarts and anti-Mormon rhetoric was actually “a shield and a red herring” because any exclusion of Mormon immigrants was done under the direction of President Rutherford Hayes and not due to any personal decision by Evarts himself. Sepersky specified that the main reason that the resolution was brought up to be rescinded in the first place was due to Evarts’ defense of President Andrew Johnson during his impeachment trial and his role in the theft of the 1876 presidential election. This was based on Johnson’s efforts to obstruct Reconstruction after the Civil War, and his hostility to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing full citizenship to all men born in the United States (i.e., newly-freed, formerly-enslaved men).

13 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Oct. 17

  1. A quick T&V search of Levinson’s name will show you a history of remarks just like this, and you are certainly not the first person to mention that his remarks are troubling. It’s obvious that his approach towards turning playground 11 into a serenity garden is not going to change, he will continue to use these troubling terms as long as they continue to be printed.

    • I am now very curious about this situation mentioned in Levinson’s letter.
      I will have to walk over to Playground 11 myself and will write what I find there. First, I will have to figure out where it is but I have a feeling I don’t live anywhere near there. Hope I don’t get lost. LOL.

      • He moved in a few years ago, doesn’t like the sound of bouncing basketballs outside his window, so he conjures up this “unsavory trespassers” nonsense.

        Surprised they published his letter, it’s just utterly nonsensical. Having lived nearby for 35 years, I can tell you there’s nothing going on but some folks playing ball.

  2. Funny, but the picture by your “cartoonist” (read = buffoon) is exactly what I imagine Jim Meadows to look like. Less impressive of course but very clown like!

  3. “There are enough surveillance cameras here that I am confident public safety is keeping its eyes on all of us.”

    That is hysterical. If they were “keeping their eyes on all of us” why the huge uptick in crime? Why are the same people violating “house rules” with impunity, day after day and nothing is ever done?
    Those cameras are for reactive reasons only (plus they were required by the colleges that Beam Living rents most of it’s apartments to and for insurance purposes), there is no proactive public safety in this project anymore. The only time those cameras are used is AFTER a mugging, or a 10 minute attempted rape. Do not lull yourself into a sense of security or complacency thinking anyone is watching over you. They are NOT. Heck, it took several attempted rapes and a slew of muggings before the 13th precinct would even step foot in the place despite the fact that we pay the same taxes as everyone else in the city. Explain that one to me….

  4. What’s happening in StuyTown/PCV is happening all over the city we live in, NYC. To say that security and or cameras are scams is ridiculous. If that were the case, would crimes be aired, along with videos, very shortly after they take place. The entire city needs more policing and criminals, especially those that rob and physically attack the victim, should be put away for as long as the law will allow – no probation.

  5. I think the letter-writer was mainly concerned about the outdated and potentially racist views expressed by someone who lives in a community of 24,000 people, but who can’t get used to the sound of basketballs being played.

    Perhaps the management can move the complainer to a new apartment facing East 14th Street. Then, the person can complain about the sound of jack-hammers, the fragrant aroma of bus exhaust, and mellifluous sounds of garbage trucks picking up trash at 4:45 am.

    Alternatively, the man can also move to northern Michigan.

    Thank you.

    • “community of 24,000 people”

      There are at least 30,000 people who live here, probably more. Re B-Ball playground use, there is a serious issue of non-resident use for many of the playgrounds here, even with the ID key required for entrance. And I can’t stand the noise filled Oval Carnival Cruise rube events that deny me the quiet enjoyment of my home. But Levinson’s shtick has been played out for some time now. He hates all of the playgrounds full stop because they “interfere’ with his Zen therapy business he runs from his apartment. I love the playgrounds. I guess Levinson is not a fan of John “Butch” Purcell. I use the #7 fitness playground for re-hab and hope to be shooting some hoops again at #9 and #11. And please, the move to line? As a lifer here, that is nasty bogus retort, mostly used against long term tenants and even that line is banned at the TA FB page. And T&V please don’t give Levison any more press even for the obvious click bait he generates. He’s a waste of space.

      • You can get into the playgrounds with a stick. Just use it to push the button you use to exit playground. Easy peasy…..

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