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Your Voices | Cyclists and Local History

Biker, Delancey Street, NYCAdrian Fussell

A sampling of reader reactions to recent posts that have appeared on The Local.

Brendan Bernhard’s recent post on his ambivalence toward bicycles prompted a range of reactions.

Dave, who described himself as a “committed cyclist,” wrote:

“I don’t get the NYC vibe (which is not limited to pizza deliveryemen and bike messengers, by the way) that all bad behavior on a bike is excusable because ‘hey man, I’m riding a bike’. When car and bike meet, car almost always wins. When bike and pedestrian meet, bike can win but at a cost to the rider. Better that we should all be more mindful of the other. And the police should enforce the rules of the road, regardless of the means of conveyance.”

Jody Oberfelder said:

“Everybody should look out for everybody. Share the road!”

Read more…

Your Voices | On Books and Television

Phillip Kalantzis Cope

A sampling of reader reactions to posts that have appeared on The Local.

Brendan Bernhard’s post about Mast Books on Avenue A and its distinctly East Village vibe resonated with readers.

Amy Bull wrote:

“This seems to sum up the direction “modern society” is taking. Books become artifacts, newspapers a luxury. So what becomes of the tactile pleasures which used to make up our delgihtful every day routines? Morning coffee with the paper and curling up with a book on the couch…”

Michael Hoinski added:

“take your blogs, your mp3s, your kindles, so i can have my trad pubs, my vinyl, and my sweet, glorious hardcovers.”

Readers also responded to Mr. Bernhard’s piece about the CBGB’s era band Television.

Tony B. wrote:

“I’ve never dug Television, though I did love a lot of the music at CBGB. Ned Sublette comes gracefully to mind. Your story, however, gets Television’s appeal across to me.”

Read more…

Your Voices | The Death of Bin Laden

People Flock to Ground ZeroClaire Glass Scores of people flocked to the World Trade Center site today in the hours after the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed.

From Ground Zero to Tompkins Square Park, a sampling of local reactions to the death of Osama bin Laden.

At Ground Zero

“Part of the wound has been healed but I’ll be living with this until the day I die. The images of New Yorkers leaping from buildings don’t go away. Today, I don’t have grief. I’m glad this day finally came.”
Lenny Crisci, 63, a retired police officer, whose younger brother, Lieutenant John Crisci, was killed on 9/11.

Francine Morin, 31Claire Glass Francine Morin at the World Trade Center site this morning.

“We all felt it, smelled it, tasted it, ingested it. The stress, the constant bomb threats that followed and that metallic, rotten stench — all because of this guy and what he did. This man had a direct effect of my life. My personal terrorist is dead.”
Francine Morin, 41, who worked two blocks away from the World Trade Center and was treated for post-traumatic stress after 9/11.
Read more…

Your Voices | A Defense of Bike Lanes

Houston and Second AvenueAdrian Fussell

A sampling of reader reactions to posts that have appeared on The Local.

Several commenters weighed in on our post about the closure of Mara’s Homemade, a Cajun style restaurant on East Sixth Street. Many readers took exception to the assertion by the owner of the restaurant, Mara Levi, that – in addition to higher taxes and rents – the restaurant’s bottom line was affected by the installation last summer of bike lanes along First Avenue, which limited available street parking.

Michael wrote:

“Uhm, the neighborhood is exploding with crowded restaurants and bars and Missus blames the bike lanes for her business failure? Lame!”

“East Villager” added:

“This is not the fault of the bike lanes; it’s the fault of people who think they have a ‘right’ to street parking everywhere.”

“Trizzlor” wrote:

“If you’re in the East Village and your business goes DOWN because of bike lanes then you don’t understand your client base.”

Read more…

Your Voices | Comments on The Local

men playing chess, Wednesday afternoonMichelle Rick

A sampling of reader reactions to recent posts that have appeared on The Local.

Commenting on our post about the rejection of a liquor license application for 34 Avenue A, Mattias questioned the fairness of the panel that approves licenses:

“Business owners should have the right to opportunity; the burden should be one of ‘proof’ and should be on the committee members. A commercial way is just that, commercial; a committee having the final say in such matters is not a free market democracy.”

Brendan Bernhard’s series of “East Village Tweets” continues to evoke wide praise from readers.

Celia Farber wrote: “An inspiring new form, to carry big ideas on these tiny bridges. Keep going.”

Amy Bull said: “Who could have thought that the tweet could impose a structure and like Haiku be made an art form?”
Read more…

Your Voices | A Week in Review

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Centennial CommemorationMatt Logan At ceremonies Friday commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

A sampling of reader reactions to posts that have appeared on The Local during the past week.

Regarding the blog’s post about the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, including a map of where the East Village victims of the blaze resided, Suzanne Rozdeba wrote:

“It gave me shivers looking at this map and seeing how close to to me these victims had all once lived. When I clicked on some of the addresses, I was astounded at how many of them were so incredibly young, single immigrants seeking a better life here, living in the neighborhood I call home.”

jim tutwiler said:

“great article and map. Now we should remember what unions and worker safety legislation means to all of us.”

About our post on the potential closure of senior centers because of budget cuts, Bill Stepp wrote:

“They should all be closed. There’s nothing in the Constitution that allows the government to steal money to feed seniors, or anyone else.
The NYC government should be cut by at least 90%.”

Read more…

Your Voices | East Village Tweets

PinksTim Schreier

We at The Local try to provide a rich pastiche of news, commentary and creativity. The work of one of our community contributors, Brendan Bernhard, the author of “East Village Tweets”, has quickly gained a wide following.

Readers have found Mr. Bernhard’s work humorous, evocative, poetic, and quintessentially of the East Village.

In an e-mail exchange with The Local, Mr. Bernhard shared some insights about how he works and what moves him to write (he also passed along a photo of the dog that inspired one of his most popular “tweets,” “A Serious Mutt“):

“I am a journalist but poetry has always been my first love. I started these ‘tweets’ – they’re not real tweets, of course – because I had begun writing for this blog and wondered if I could come up with something a different which would allow me to express my feelings about the East Village. As it turns out, I have ranged from the fantastical to the concrete and various shades in between. It’s been great fun for me, it has made me look at my neighborhood in a different way (I’m practically thinking in tweets) and I hope at least a few of them have resonated with readers.”

If your comments are any indication, they have:

Leslie Monsour wrote:

“These are a new kind of super contemporary baroque haiku. Very amusing. I could go on reading.”

Marilyn Widrow said:

“Brendan has captured the essence of the East Village through imagery, poetry and sheer beauty. I feel its pulse beat.”

Janet offered:

“I don’t live in the East Village or even in Manhattan, but it’s a treat to read such elegant, evocative poesy. Please, may we have more?”

brenda cullerton asked:

“who is this furtive genius roaming around my favorite streets? The David Markson of Tweets, that’s who he is.”

“West of Broadway” said:

“These are lovely, smart, funny, delightfully observant and far more intelligent than one has a right to expect from the form. Call it poetweetery.”

Join the conversation: Have you seen other attempts at a similar form? What about the East Village does Mr. Bernhard’s poetweetery evoke for you?

Your Voices | More on 35 Cooper

35 Cooper Square 1Claire Glass Scaffolding began to rise around 35 Cooper Square last month.

Comments have continued to stream into The Local about an opinion piece by NYU Journalism’s Greg Howard that questioned the value of preserving 35 Cooper Square.

A sampling of reactions from the weekend.

One reader, “archietexture,” wrote:

“Residents recognize that new development of dorms, luxury hotels and condos does not benefit them. But being made a symbol doesn’t mean that 35 Cooper is not historically significant. Its loss will be a tragedy, and a travesty of the Landmarks process.”

Defending the preservation of the building, “Eastvillagearts” said:

“I’m certainly not arguing for places to be frozen in time – that would be counter to the compelling power of NYC’s continuing relevance. But there are places that have been particularly important to communities that need to be preserved. There are people and organizations and businesses that helped make neighborhoods what they are today who should be helped to stay. And the truth is that continued diversity and eclecticism is part of what continues to attract new residents, visitors and investment. The irony is that the market is attracted to precisely what it tends to destroy – authenticity.”

Elliott Hurwitt considered the legacy of unchecked development:

“But the developers will leave behind an immeasurably impoverished urban environment, one with no cultural resonance whatever, regardless of what you say about the East Village harboring the next di Prima, Hendrix or Madonna. The first of these 3 could never find a haven there now, affordable urban space in NYC is OVER, so there will be no further undergrounds, no beatniks, etc., that ended a long time ago.”

“Carol from East 5th Street” said the restaurant that occupied site in recent years transcended being just a watering hole for students:

“It was much, much more to me, my family, friends and neighbors. For most Sundays since the restaurant reopened as Cooper 35 Asian Pub and for the years before when it was Dolphins, it was where we had Sunday dinner. It was where we had gatherings of family and friends for just about every important event such as birthdays, graduations, milestones in our lives.”

Another reader, J.T., offered support for Mr. Howard:

“I think this is a good editorial piece. You spoke your opinion and caused great hype, mostly negative. But I believe that is just an older generation who is not ready for change. They are mad at Generation Y who are experiencing this vast change in lifestyle from the previous generations, where history in not of great importance. Generation Y likes and has experienced much change, which the older generations just aren’t as apt about. Everyone has an opinion.”

Another reader, “Mose,” recalled the building’s history:

“these buildings are cultural treasures literally, physical manifestations of 350 years of stories set in the most remarkable place humans have ever co-existed. men and women walked through the door of 35 cooper who were on the bowery only a generation earlier and watched as washington rode by. i feel fortunate to live in a place where i get to walk past these time capsules daily, history becomes tactile and experiential. ”