Letters

Village Bully

Thank you for Lenora Todaro's article "NYU: A Blot on the Village" [September 14]. Architecture forms our cities, and so our political and civil society. NYU's trustees should abandon architectural bullying, and insist that the university teach civility not only in the discussions that it holds but through the buildings it constructs.

The trustees might start with a quick run up to 116th Street to look at James Stewart Polshek's handsome Sulzberger Hall at Barnard College. Sulzberger is a gracious modern dormitory made out of the same red brick and white trim as the older Barnard buildings. It creates a quadrangle where there was none before, its clock tower gives the campus a focus it lacked, and its Oxbridge-like passageway into the quadrangle from Broadway opens a pleasant vista toward Charles Follen McKim's entryway for the Barnard Hewitt residence hall. Sulzberger does not merely respect its context, it greatly improves it.

Sadly, NYU need never have played the Village architectural bully. Starting in 1894, it had a second, large, beautiful campus in the Bronx, home to the more prestigious University College for undergraduates, with ample room for expansion. In 1973, however, NYU sold that verdant campus, lock, stock, and the classic halls of the McKim, Mead, & White­designed Hall of Fame, to CUNY.

Consolidated once again in Greenwich Village, NYU refused to fit in with its chosen neighborhood. Not only gigantic eruptions like Bobst Library and Loeb Student Center, but smaller, mediocre structures like the Catholic chapel and the monolithic Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies are uncivil substitutions for the comfortable older dwellings that used to fit the context of Washington Square so well.

I hope that NYU may learn from Ms. Todaro's essay, as well as from community protests, the lessons in city building that it should long since have been teaching to its students.

Mary Campbell Gallagher
Manhattan


Frankly, Frances

Frank Owen frames his feature on Frances Edwards, the black conservative publicist formerly employed by HBO, as being about a political firing ["HBO Tells 'Sopranos' Publicist To Fuggedaboudit," September 21]. Yet Owen offers no evidence to support this premise beyond Edwards's assertions that she is "a casualty of diversity run amok" and "the victim of the suffocating political correctness that has taken hold in some corporations today."

Though Edwards admits that she "hardly ever discussed politics in the office," Owen implies throughout the article that she was fired for not fitting "the one-size-fits-all affirmative action mold." If Edwards was discriminated against because, as she put it, "this little nigger was too uppity for her masters," then corporate racism— not diversity programs or affirmative action— is to blame. If she was fired for work-related issues, "political correctness" is irrelevant to her dismissal.

Either way, the case doesn't lend much support to Owen's thesis that "the migration of political correctness out of the academy and into the workplace is indeed a noxious social trend," turning contemporary offices into "joyless, buttoned-up environments."

Jennifer L. Pozner
Women's Desk Director
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
Manhattan


Tristan Randy

As an ex-stripper, my eye was drawn to Tristan Taormino's "Lap Dancing in Queens" [September 21]. I worked the gamut— starting at the tender age of 19— from the infamous Show World on 42nd Street to Paradise on 34th, Pretty Woman in the Bronx, and CityScapes in Queens. I got out just in time.

Taormino's snapshot approach to the industry that kept me on coke and in designer clothes for seven years barely skimmed the surface. When I began dancing I was surprised by the lesbian attention. A few years later I was making out with my best friend: stage name, Desire. Looking at naked women day after day can awaken bisexual tendencies. I miss dancing— but it was degrading. I drank most nights away. It was addictive: the money, the attention— the perfect college job. I worked a few days a week and made thousands. Yet here I am, 27— young to most but old to be a stripper. Luckily, I got out by accident. I got pregnant somewhere between the Wedge and Private Eyes.

Unlike many of my counterparts who strip until the ninth month, that was it for me. So here I am competing in corporate America with women who have been working since college, whose closest experience to lap dancing is watching Jenny Jones. I view men differently. I have friends who have died, others still in the industry with dismal futures. Only a few close friends from New York know my secret. Dancing changed me but did not mold me. Closing the clubs did not put a halt to the industry; it just relocated. The equation of horny men and money-hungry women is as old as sex itself.

Lisa
(other stage names: Solé, Katrina, Vanessa)
Boston, Massachusetts

The writer's real name has been withheld.


To The Dogs

In response to Sinclair Rankin's "Release the Hounds" [September 7]: I've adopted two retired racing greyhounds. I've had one for four years, and the other for nearly two years. While I was happy to see the dog track portrayed as a sleazy place, I was displeased with how the marketing director and general manager talked about the dogs. You always hear the same stories from people who run the dog tracks. The top dogs are treated like royalty as long as they continue to win. However, the less successful dogs can be treated very differently.

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