The Local’s Most Commented Stories of 2011

From bike lanes to bar noise, from school squabbles to Four Loko — these are the stories that got readers of The Local worked up this year.

Scream - East Village.Rachel Citron

1. Conversation | 35 Cooper Square: “It’s not about the restuarant that occupied the space last month, or the artists that lived there in the last decade – it’s about 200 years of history that, if torn down, no one else will ever get to experience firsthand. And it’s not about this one building, but more about what it means in context of all the other buildings on the Bowery… And if we replace these gems with nothing but more bars for you frat-types, then a couple of decades from now, when you’re long gone, we’ll be the ones still here who’ll have to relive those bad days of drunks and dives all over again. Please don’t do that to us.” —Bowery Boy


2. Amid Headlock Allegations, Parents Complain About Disciplining at Girls Prep: “Hello!!! This is not a detention camp! Girls Prep is treating our girls as though they are in detention camp! Our girls should be treated with respect and dignity. If they caim to be prearing our girls to be leaders, this approach will not make them leaders. I’m hurt when my daughter tells me that she does not want to go to school anymore…this is a child who loves school. It even hurts more when she says, ‘mom they treat us like dogs’ These teachers seem to have no heart.”— Geneva

Bike lanes

3. A Cue From Tourists On Public Space: “This morning, as I made my way on foot from 13th Street to Houston along 1st Avenue, I counted five bike riders going the right way and two going the wrong way, and this is inside a 15 minute period during rush time. It’s safe to assume less than 150 bikes are going to use that lane today, compared to tens of thousands of vehicles and pedestrians. Why we need to allocate that much space to 150 people? anybody’s guess. Why we need to allow them to ride without a licence, without insurance, without any way to track them down if they ran into you, shouted profanities at you for slowing down their joy ride, went the wrong way? again, hard to understand.” —Henry J


4. DocuDrama: In the State’s Case Against Nublu, It’s Religion vs. Nightlife: “Nublu is the kind of place where talented artists experiment and create…a sacred place where locals and those oceans away can gather, exchange ideas, feel, listen, and move to incredible sounds and beats; a special kind of place that is ridiculously scarce in a city that used to pride itself on its originality, it’s ragged edges, and it’s ability to provide a fertile environment where people could express themselves freely.” —clm

Love A Lot Preschool on Suffolk Street

5. DocuDrama: Troubled Preschool Shutters, Leaving Teachers and Parents Feeling Stiffed: “The owner of a school cannot reasonably explain its deficiencies by blaming his/her employees any more than the owner of a restaurant can explain the low quality of the food by blaming the Chef. The owner of a business IS the business! Being shut down by the Department of Health is rather embarrassing. That the school was not shut voluntarily is certainly not reassuring. That the Executive Director was incompetent is, again, not reassuring.” —DP

I (Black) Heart NY Mattress, on 9th St and 3rd Ave., East Village, Manhattan

6. Conversation | On Bars and Noise: “Some bars are good neighbors and don’t play music with loud bass late at night during the week and control their patrons, others couldn’t care less. It’s totally legitimate for residents to use their political clout to get liquor licenses denied for establishments who don’t care about the externalities they create. This really shouldn’t devolve into a cranky old timers v. rich young brats debate: it’s rather impressive and sad that business interests have been able to pit their customers against the third parties they harm in pursuit of profit.” —EVResident

Mara's Homemade

7. A Business Closes and Cites Bike Lanes: “The bike lanes caused her restaurant to close?! please. if her customers really schlep in from ‘Long Island, Connecticut and Philadelphia’ and then give up and go home because they cannot find parking spaces then maybe her restaurant is not really the ‘destination’ she thought it was.” —bili

Artist James De La Vega

8. From De La Vega, A Digital Dream: “I once read a quote by Mark Twain; “Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” That is exactly how Mr. De La Vega makes you feel. Through his pictures, with his words… They take your breath away and make you feel as if some powerful force is gripping your heart. Giving his heart away as gifts is brilliant and deeply moving.” —Yasmin

Screen shot 2011-12-29 at 2.11.08 PM

9. Cyclists Gather at Bike Lane Protest: “Most cyclists do follow the rules to keep themselves safe. most don’t ride the way delivery people do–on sidewalks, or the wrong way down one-way streets. you need to start seeing the difference before you begin judging cyclists, who are only making more room on public transportation and yes, in car lanes, for people like you.” —thatgirl


10. Banned Version of Four Loko Still Sold: “Well, thanks East Village Narc! I’m sure the SLA or whatever authority is going to make sure these bodegas you individually identified will be in trouble if they find any, and now we get no more old school Four Lokos. Do journalistic ethics require that you play fun police?” —tacony palmyra