D'Amato Paste

After 18 years of relentlessly and courageously chronicling the malfeasances of Al D'Amato, you leave us with William Bastone's entertaining but rather shallow snapshot ["Sealed With a Kiss," November 17] and Wayne Barrett's bland scorecard ["Autopsy on Alfonse," November 17]? I was hoping for something with more juice or meat. At the very least, a nasty front-page cartoon.

Philip Berroll

American Graffiti

Richard Goldstein means well in connecting the work of Jackson Pollock to graffiti writer Case 2, but his article "New York (Old) School" [November 17] came off as an art critic version of the Fresh Air Fund.

All Case 2 and "JP" (his street alias) have in common is a love for action. Allow me to make the case that Case 2 is his own man: JP loved drips, Case 2 avoids them; Case's paintings destroyed, while JP destroyed painting; finally, while JP burned out, Case is a leader, a teacher, a living reminder that surviving is the greatest art of all.

Goldstein ends the piece by asking when a critic will take up Case's cause. Case doesn't need a champion, he is one.

Goldstein has been trying to elevate graffiti to art status for years. This undermines its strength as a means of communication. Graffiti is not art, it's a medium, like TV, and Case is the black Dan Rather. Respect Case and acknowledge that he is part of a school that invented an indigenous American visual expression. It's not a next step, it is a whole other path. JP may be king of his line, but Case is the man on the 2s and 5s.

Stephen Powers

Richard Goldstein replies: If graffiti is a medium, like television (or, say, totem poles), why couldn't its content be art? Must that designation be so tightly bound to traditions of class and canon that it can never apply to an outlaw form? Is the "whole other path" people like Case have taken so different from the trail Pollock blazed? Or are both men part of a larger American tradition, in which artists regularly expand not just the aesthetics of culture but its very boundaries?


You would think that Austin Bunn's curiosities might have led him in some more enlightening directions than chat rooms and porn sites over the course of the four days he spent online ["Marooned!" November 17].

There is a wealth of useful information on the Internet, including the Voice's very own www.villagevoice.com. Starting there surely would have led him in a direction that catered to the thinking man.

Bunn chose the lowest the Internet has to offer, wasting valuable time so that he could write a piece of trash that furthers the Net's bad rap.

Frank Sosa
Los Angeles, California

Dim Prospects

Re Karen Houppert's "Road Rage" [November 17]: As a cyclist who knows the dangers and benefits of riding in New York City, I find it ironic that a mayor who champions quality-of-life issues so ardently has failed to embrace a car-free Prospect Park. Especially in light of a plan that would give back precious public space without adversely affecting the surrounding communities.

Cars shouldn't be allowed in heavily used public spaces like Prospect Park and Central Park, and even, I'd argue, areas like Times Square and Herald Square, which are nightmares for pedestrians. This city has become slave to the automobile. It's high time we provided areas of sanctuary where cyclists, runners, walkers, and tourists can enjoy themselves without getting stressed over being struck by the thousands of marauding, reckless drivers that run amok on our streets (and parks!) every day.

It's a shame that 17,000 postcards and letters to the Brooklyn borough president asking for a car-free Prospect Park have gone unnoticed. It's inaction on issues like this that resulted in a former pro wrestler getting elected governor of Minnesota. Perhaps we'll be next.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Stalling All Cars

Karen Houppert's article "Road Rage" showed the unwillingness of "the powers that be" to address the concerns of park users.

Transportation Alternatives is running a similar campaign to ban cars from Central Park. This summer, volunteers for the Car-Free Central Park campaign collected thousands of signatures from park users who want to enjoy the beauty of Central Park free from cars and their exhaust, horns, and accidents. Let's hope the mayor, the Department of Transportation, and the Parks Department will start to listen.

Judy Ross

Auto Motive

Karen Houppert's account of Community Board 14's opposition to barring cars from Prospect Park reveals reportorial bias and inaccuracy.

Never did I suggest that serious bikers are obnoxious (I told Ms. Houppert that I myself bike in the park regularly), nor did I invoke increased traffic on Flatbush Avenue as a major problem. As I emphasized, the community board's primary concern is the New York City Department of Transportation's projection that up to 400 to 500 cars per hour would be shifted onto Parkside Avenue and other neighborhood residential streets if the drives were further closed.

As for Transportation Alternative's assertion that 50 percent of park drivers swerve into the recreational lane, Ms. Houppert owes it to her readers to question how this could be physically possible, when approximately half the cars in the park travel in the outer vehicle lane, and don't even go near the recreational corridor, which is all the way inside.

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