Sex harassment reforms appreciated
To the editor,
I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council for their leadership to enact a comprehensive and visionary package of reforms to address sexual harassment in our city.
Collectively, this package of legislation sends a strong message that the workplace must be filled with respect and that violating basic principles of decency will no longer be tolerated. Women’s City Club hopes that this bold action will prompt even further changes in the private sector – and, throughout society.
Carole J. Wacey
President and CEO of Women’s City Club of New York
Why ruin a good thing for tenants?
Re: “Epstein elected to Assembly,” T&V, Apr. 26
To the Editor,
I wish I could share everyone’s enthusiasm for Mr. Epstein’s winning our Assembly seat.
He becomes my fourth representative in fewer than 19 years.
I write because he was pitching perfect games vs. the Rent Guidelines Board.
Why do we need him in Albany?
More could be done in Albany to strengthen rent laws, but not from New York City’s delegation to the State Assembly.
It may be Mr. Epstein has the necessities to be a Democratic leader in due course. But given that’s he was doing uniquely well fighting the Rent Guideline’s board, I wouldn’t have moved him to where he won’t be able to do as much.
Billy Sternberg, ST
Another option for phone service
To the editor:
Verizon wants to discontinue all of its copper wire, landline telephone service to PCV/ST. It will ask each of its landline customers here to allow it to install new equipment in their apartment that will transmit Verizon’s TV, Internet and telephone service to their apartment over the airways instead of over copper wires. The new telephone service will not be connected to a Verizon generator that provides electricity to keep the phone operating during a blackout. It will have a battery back-up module that’s installed in your apartment.
Verizon recently contacted me to sell me this change in service. They told me that if I didn’t make an appointment for installation of the new equipment, they would suspend my telephone service. I thought there was a better solution and didn’t make the appointment. Verizon suspended my telephone service.
I’ve been waiting half an hour at E 14th and B
but some buses are arriving now. I count three.
I take the first bus because the others hang behind
and although it’s somewhat crowded, no one seems to mind.
I even find an empty seat to rest my happy rear
but when this girl gets on the bus, my heart is filled with fear.
With an iPhone in her left hand and hot coffee in her right,
this wobbly girl stands over me. It turns my fear to fright.
I’m worried that this bus will lurch and she will spill her drink
all over me and I’ll get burned while she will barely blink.
Luckily my stop is near, but when I rise to leave,
I almost have an accident which no one could believe:
I slip on a banana peel. But while falling to the floor
A man reaches out and saves me, then he helps me to the door.
The driver seems robotic; he’s oblivious to all:
the smelly foods, obstructive walkers or my recent fall.
I finally leave this “Bustaurant.” I’m happily on my way!
Thank God I have no further need of the MTA today!
John Cappelletti, ST
Fight for rent regs important this year
The City Council renewed our NYC Rent Control and NYC Rent Stabilization laws on March 22. “Ho Hum,” you may say, “the City does that every three years.” True as the Council’s triennial renewal of these rent laws is, I put to you that this year is markedly different. How so?
This year the NYC laws’ renewal was led by our new Council Speaker, Corey Johnson. I attended Johnson’s inauguration on Jan. 28 and on the topic of tenant rent justice I found him electrifying. He saw clearly that the fight is in Albany and he has committed to lead the vanguard from NYC to strengthen protections.
At his inauguration he pointedly said “Furthermore, working with my partners in state government, I pledge to help lead the fight to press Albany to not only renew our rent laws, but to finally – once and for all – close the loopholes that are allowing landlords to deregulate thousands of affordable apartments every year.”
Please, kind landlord, spare this art
The following letter was written by State Senator Brad Hoylman last Tuesday to the owner of the slated-to-be-demolished building on 14th Street and Sixth Avenue where English street artist Banksy created a painting of a rat on a clock a few days earlier. That artwork was later removed by the developer, John Meehan of Gemini Rosemont Realty LLC with a plan to auction it.
I am writing regarding the Banksy artwork that you removed today from the façade of 532 Sixth Avenue.
First, I commend you for preserving the 1954 mural by Julien Binford, “A Memory of Life of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue,” in the interior of the building earlier this year. Now you have a very different kind of artwork on your hands by the graffiti artist Banksy and a corporate windfall of considerable value. Instead of selling the Banksy on the open market, I would urge you to celebrate your good fortune by finding a suitable location for the Banksy to be permanently displayed to the public. You might consider incorporating it into the façade of the new building or lending it to a local gallery or institution, for example.
As Banksy once said, “For the sake of keeping all street art where it belongs, I’d encourage people not to buy anything by anybody, unless it was created for sale in the first place. Graffiti art like Banksy’s is public art, meant for all who want to enjoy it, not just those who can afford it. I hope you can find a way to continue to allow the public continued access to this brilliant artwork.
State Senator, District 27
Farewell to a kind man and neighbor
The following is a tribute from a neighbor to the late David Chowes, a 40-year resident of Peter Cooper Village, who was easily this newspaper’s most prolific writer of letters to the editor. He died last month at the age of 75.
To the editor:
Last month we lost a dear man and longtime PCV resident, David Chowes. It is only fitting that the pages of this paper offer tribute to our neighbor and friend.
I did not know David very well. Our paths crossed about three years ago when in response to my wife’s simple courtesy he presented us with a jar of his own, handcrafted pasta sauce. In more recent times we and many of our generous neighbors would offer David comfort and encouragement as he dealt with very difficult circumstances brought about by his own sensitivity and generosity. He never stopped expressing his gratitude for the support of his neighbors.
Hicks wrong about Israel and Maloney
Re: Candidate blasts Maloney on Israel, Middle East,” T&V, Mar. 8
Sander Hicks is no match for Mrs. Maloney. Firstly, what kind of activist is he? I also have a book he should read, if he’s smart enough, Old-New Land by Theodor Herzl. Herzl said, “Zionism is a return to Judaism and that even before the return to the Land of the Jews.” He needs to learn that anti-Zionism is the same as anti-Semitism, which means hating Jews. Is his kind of “activism” spray painting swastikas on synagogue doors in the dead of night? It wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t trust him to listen to me with his immature and idiotic viewpoint.
I read your article and so did many Jewish friends and we were all scared to see “men” (bigots) like him rise. Maloney does respond. I worked on her campaign before and people like him called all the time requesting, often impolitely, to be called back pronto. There simply weren’t enough hours in the day for her. As well, if she didn’t jump when he called, why didn’t he just call back? That’s what I do in that situation.
Albany Republicans blocking gun regs
Last week, the Senate Democratic Conference announced a legislative package to combat gun violence and protect New Yorkers. I am proud to be part of a group of Senate leaders standing up to the corporate gun lobby, and we have offered a series of common sense bills to address the repeated tragedies caused by gun violence. We brought four of these bills to the floor of the Senate as “hostile amendments” – and every Republican Senator voted no on each proposal.
To quote leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, “The madness must stop. We need to get serious about gun safety and we need to take real action.”
Studies have proven that states with stronger firearm safety laws, like New York, have fewer gun-caused deaths. Unfortunately, NY Republicans are taking their lead from their extremist Washington allies and for years have refused to move any common sense gun laws.
Digging deeper than stats on poverty
To the Editor,
While recent U.S. Census figures illustrate a declining national poverty rate, down to 12.7 percent in 2016 from 13.5 percent in 2015, the inescapable fact was that nationally more than 40 million people were living in poverty. New York City similarly has witnessed a slight decline as well. Yet a report from NYU’s Furman Center found that 44.8 percent of New Yorkers were living in what were termed “extreme” or “high” poverty neighborhoods last year.
These troublesome findings highlight a need to ensure that New Yorkers confronting economic insecurity are connected with resources to improve their living standards. This needs to be a priority to improve healthcare, employment, and quality of life across our city.
For more than 100 years, the Women’s City Club of New York has worked to address equity issues, championing policies that increase access and secure rights for those who are struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.
Differing ideas about housing ‘reform’
To the editor:
My principal difficulty with Harvey Epstein’s “Living in NYC isn’t a privilege,” opinion, Town & Village, Feb. 1, is his omission of what has brought us an “unprecedented housing crisis.” Mr. Epstein took pains to lay bare the crux, but he did not get to its persistent cause. As we read his letter, it becomes apparent that while he understands the crisis, in the sense that he, like we, can describe it, he does not understand it as anything other than a crisis in housing. It is, in his words, “an alarming trend” whose remedy is “up for debate.” I do not know why Mr. Epstein sees the “unprecedented crisis” as a “trend,” and it bears badly for his future leadership and his constituency that he thinks the remedy is “up for grabs.”
To treat the plight of our most vulnerable, Mr. Epstein would provide them with “subsidies so that they can afford to stay in their rent-regulated housing.” He would require “all developers to set aside a percentage of all future development for affordable housing.” He would “repeal vacancy deregulation… reform the way in which landlords impose exorbitant rent increases based on MCIs,” and he would “end the vacancy bonus which allows landlords to increase rents a whopping 20 percent whenever a tenant [vacates] an apartment.” In the main, covering all of the issues, Mr. Epstein believes that, “It’s time we create new working class housing program that allows working class New Yorkers the ability to work and stay here.”
Don’t deny ST girl her Boy Scout status
The following is an open letter from State Senator Brad Hoylman to Randall L. Stephenson, National President of Boy Scouts of America, asking that Sydney Ireland, a Stuy Town teenager and Boy Scout for 11 years, have her status as a Scout formally recognized by the BSA. In December, Town & Village reported on Ireland’s fight, alongside her family, to have female members’ contributions recognized. The BSA has said it would start allowing girls to be members, but not until 2019.
Dear Mr. Stephenson:
I write to you as an Eagle Scout (Troop 70, Lewisburg, WV) and New York State Senator on behalf of my constituent, Sydney Ireland. A lifelong Boy Scouts participant, Sydney successfully advocated for the official inclusion of girls in Boy Scouts of America programs this year. However, because your organization does not plan to implement the new membership policy for two years, Sydney, who is now 16, will age out before she can officially join a troop.
Fruit, family and sacrifice
Adjacent to the Chase branch at the corner of First Avenue and 23rd Street an about 45-year-old man stands in front of a cart and sells the most delectable produce available in the area — at about half the cost which supermarkets and stores price them.
His name is Quddus and he is from Bangladesh. His fruit and vegetable enterprise is open from about 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. I have purchased his goods for a long time. This past Friday I bought 10 bananas, two pounds of green grapes, a carton of snow white mushrooms and a box of red ripe tomatoes. The cost: seven dollars.
Always polite but not effusive, if I don’t have cash because I have come to use my debit/credit card when buying almost anything, he trusts me. Working seven days a week, about 80 hours. Wow! I couldn’t even do it for one day. I wondered why he does this. So on Friday I said, “Do you have any children?” and “Do they go to school?” “Yes, one boy attends Queens College; the other is a senior in high school.”
When there’s no time for getting lost
When I wrote a letter last week recommending that persons living alone should have a medical alert button (“A real life safer,” T&V, Jan. 25), I mentioned in passing that there is a problem with confusing addresses in Stuy Town.
Actually, that problem can have serious effects.
The first time I had to use the button EMS arrived very quickly. But on another occasion, the street address prompted them to come to the side of the building that is less frequently used. Of course, it took longer for them to get to my apartment and longer to take me to their ambulance, which was parked farther away.
Remembering a talented neighbor
To all our friends and neighbors, it saddens me to tell you that last month we lost Phoebe Hoss, a longtime resident of Stuyvesant Town. Phoebe died on December 13, 2017 at the age of 91. A memorial for her was held earlier this month at All Souls Unitarian church where she was a longtime member.
We lived in the same building and shared a love of poetry that resulted in the publication in 2006 of River Voices, original poems by Stuyvesant and Peter Cooper poets that included Rose Bernal, Esse Casnoff, Esther B. Cohen, Marilyn Driscoll, Mary Fordham, Joy Garland, Barbara Gurman, Phoebe Hoss, Anne Lazarus, Pamela Machado, David Mayer, Eve Nethercott, Judy Schermer, Alison Carb Sussman, and Peggy Unsworth. It was Phoebe who gave countless hours to helping the poets by proofreading our work and giving suggestions.