Road Blocks

In Karen Houppert's article "Road Rage" [November 17], Alvin Berk, chair of Community Board 14, suggested that only affluent Park Slope residents benefit from a car-free Prospect Park and that the working-class people in his district are too "busy earning a living and raising kids" to care.

Joggers, bicyclists, and folks with babies in strollers come to Prospect Park from all over New York City. Transportation Alternatives has collected over 3200 signatures endorsing a car-free park, at least 400 of which come from the area that is served by Community Board 14. I have talked with people of every age, race, and economic status who are fed up with the dangers posed by reckless drivers in the park.

There are over 6400 miles of traffic lanes for people to drive on in this city. All proponents of banning cars from the park ask is that 3.5 miles, which were designed for recreational use in a central location in Brooklyn, be used for that purpose.

Ken Zirkel

Carma & Dogma

It was ironic that a photo of me and my dog running in Prospect Park appeared with Karen Houppert's article about advocates who want cars banned from the park on winter weekdays.

My dog was with me for protection. Without cars, the park is desolate on winter afternoons. There are no moms with toddlers and nary a soul running. The steady stream of traffic is a deterrent to muggings and crimes that could otherwise be committed unwitnessed on the road.

I'd forgotten that the no-traffic summer hours had ended and was actually relieved that I could now run unencumbered by my pet.

Lynn Bernstein

Austin's Web

I enjoyed Austin Bunn's article on the pros and cons of spending time on the Internet ["Strung Out Online," November 17]. I found it amusing that I read it on the Web, and can't wait to tell my friends Lucky and Hargrim that they've been immortalized in the Voice, playing multi-user dungeon with Bunn in the Underworld.

Having surfed the Net for over two years, I'm amazed at how much Bunn uncovered in his four-day binge. Maybe that's why I still remember the names of my children and bathe regularly.

Sharon Helmes
Ashburn, Virginia

Artistic Dependence

As an artist who has lived in New York City for the past 18 years, I was confused by the tone of Guy Trebay's article, "The Myth of the Starving Artist" [October 27].

Reporting on the findings of two studies, Trebay writes that "most artists surveyed were highly educated, had health insurance, and retirement plans." This makes sense, since the mean age in the studies was 41. If you're still producing work at that age, it's necessary to be pragmatic (though Trebay makes no mention of how much these artists pay for the plans or what type of insurance they have).

Having read one study, I'm amazed at the disparity between level of education and income. As Trebay notes, Joan Jeffri, one of the authors of the study, asserts that "American artists are overwhelmingly and squarely in the middle class." The average income reported was less than $30,000 a year. Maybe starving isn't the right word, but struggling seems pretty accurate.

In addition, the photo of artist Michael Joseph, happily hanging upside down with the TV on in the background, did not seem representative of the content of the article. The artists talked more about the hard times they endure to get their work done and survive than what Trebay calls their "Ozzie and Harriet" lifestyles.

Werner Hoeflich

Suspended Judgement

The cover photo for Austin Bunn's article in your November 17 issue was appalling. A man hanging implies something far more serious than simply losing oneself to the seductions of cyberspace. I cannot believe the Voice used such poor judgment.

Sarah De Bienville

Idiot's Pride

David Marc Fischer's article on Idiot's Delight Digest ["A Confederacy of Idiots," November 17] really captured the spirit of our little online community of fans of free-form radio host Vin Scelsa's Idiot's Delight program. As one of the long-distance Idiots, I appreciate this musically multifarious salon. The Idiot's Delight Digest regulars, and even some of the lurkers, are by and large a knowledgeable, concerned bunch of music obsessives I'm proud to call my virtual friends.

Daniel Aloi
Horseheads, New York

Voice Writers Win Awards

Three Voice writers have won awards.

Sharon Lerner has received the Ray Bruner Science Writing Award for articles on abortion, female genital mutilation, and public hospitals.

Linda Stasi is the winner of the 1998 Newswomen's Club of New York Front Page Award for Humor for her column titled "Celebrityspeak."

Lynn Yaeger has received the 1998 Newswomen's Club of New York Front Page Award for Criticism for her article "Royal Flush."


  • A letter from Alvin Berk in last week's issue mistakenly did not identify him as the chair of Community Board 14 in Brooklyn.

  • Hugh Garvey's article on the Asian American Writers' Workshop ["Notes From Underground," November 17] cited the wrong Workshop anthology as having won an American Book Award. It was Contours of the Heart.

  • David Kihara, David Shaftel, and Nicole White did not receive research credit for "The 1998 Wacko Awards" in last week's issue.
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