By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Letter of the Week
Falling short on long war
Re Tim Heffernan's "The Measure of War" [villagevoice.com, March 19]:I am a right-wing-Republican guy who thinks this war is the right thing. Having said that, I couldn't agree more with Heffernan. There is something fundamentally wrong with going on with life as we know it when we have men in the field. Paris Hilton, Bush, Clinton, March Madness, and all the rest of it is astounding in its trivial nature when we have forces engaged in battle. I find it disconcerting to be in a country engaged in an existential struggle, where the average person knows the name of rap stars but not any of our generals or soldiers. I voted for Bush twice and would do it again, but when you contrast him with Lincoln, who waited overnight at the war department for the reports on casualties; or Roosevelt, who served pound cake in a room at the White House at his inaugural because we were at war and it was not the time to have a galaBush falls incredibly short.
I am disappointed in the angle of Kristen Lombardi's article "Gay and Proud" [March 22-28]. My experience is that the loud social disruption in the Village comes from excessively drunk adults and not solely from the youth making their way to and from the pier or hanging out. I believe that Lombardi didn't accurately report the situation. I have experienced firsthand the work done by FIERCE! They have been doing much more than the article claims. Through their presence and organizing skills they are actively trying to work with residents and engaging LGBT youth in political processes in the West Village. FIERCE! is trying to come up with solutions that don't rely on driving individuals out of a neighborhood. The piers are community property . . . The streets belong to the city . . . And public space belongs to all of the public.
I have experienced this issue with queer teens in the Village for the past four years. Since the majority of the West Village is inhabited by gay or gay-friendly people this is not a gay issue. It's become a serious matter of safety. This problem has taken a violent turn. Not one, but three people in my building have been attacked and mugged. These so-called troubled queer teens use their unpleasant upbringing, rejection from their parents, and bad neighborhoods as an excuse to completely ruin our neighborhood. A woman in my building was attacked outside of an ATM. A 16-year-old girl kicked her in the back and stole her wallet. The teens play victim "poor us, we grew up in the ghetto." Well, not only do they piss on our doorsteps, screw openly on parked cars in daylight, but they sell themselves and drugs on the street corner. I only wish they had to pay the rent we do to live in the trendy West Village.
The West Village as a bastion of racial tolerance? The Voice is so funny. As a black man, I have never felt so discriminated against as I do just walking down the streets of the Village. Don't let me walk into an upscale boutique in the West Village. We'll see how racially tolerant they are as they get their black guard to stare me down during my entire visit. I even get uncomfortable stares when I enter art galleries in the area, or at least a condescending, dismissive tone whenever I ask for literature pertaining to the artist. And as for racism within the gay "community": It's no secret that most white gays don't want anything to do with black gays outside of the occasional "big black dick" fetish. Please, if you're not black, don't make assumptions about what areas are "racially tolerant" and which ones aren't.
Greenwich Village residents have a right to peace and quiet. The perception of the Village as a gay mecca has been increasingly inaccurate since the onset of AIDS. The virus claimed the lives of many longtime gay residents there, which freed up housing. Gentrification has transformed this so-called mecca into just another yuppie enclave. Gay youth going there from other parts of the city and metropolitan area in search of what once was are sadly misinformed. "The Pier" of the '70s and '80s has given way to what is now just a city-run park. But those who wish these kids would go home need to understand that for most of them there is no home to go to. This is not just a gay issue but also a citywide issue. Parents must learn to stop kicking their kids out into the streets just for being gay. If gay youth felt comfortable traveling about and congregating everywhere in the city, they wouldn't feel the need to gather in any one place all the time.
Re Sarah Ferguson's "Flunking a Bar Exam," March 2228:It sounds like the Dorrian family's moral and ethical compass needs a complete overhaul to point them in a better direction. I am appalled that Daniel Dorrian did not give police info when they asked for it, and then gave them incorrect info. Why would the family want to defend a convicted felon over a student/customer? I do criminal background checks for job applicants and it only takes a minute. I am thankful for Jeff Ragsdale's protest and commitment to getting the Falls shut down. I wish I could be there to join him. In the end, I really hope the Dorrian family doesn't get off lightly, legally or publicly, because of its connections.