Aggressive Ugliness

Thank you for Lenora Todaro's article about New York University's hostile takeover of the East and West Villages ["NYU: A Blot on the Village," September 14]. She captured perfectly the blatant arrogance, total indifference, and utter disdain that NYU displays toward their neighbors and the neighborhoods they have chosen to overrun.

As a member of Community Board 3, I have witnessed firsthand NYU's "what we want, we get" attitude, which they bring to every meeting. They have lied in order to get our approval (NYU reps reassured us that the Palladium would not be torn down but rather would be incorporated into a new dorm being built on that site; they now claim, of course, that they made no such promise). I have seen local fears about the sheer size of the dorms, their aggressive ugliness, and the ever-increasing hordes of students being shoehorned into relatively small-scale neighborhoods summarily dismissed as not worthwhile for NYU to acknowledge, much less deal with.

As if the projects Todaro mentioned aren't bad enough, NYU has purchased still another site on 14th Street between Second and Third avenues, where the old Jefferson Theater stood, and begun constructing yet more student housing. Since this is private property, no community review is needed, giving NYU free rein to inflict further hideousness on a captive area.

Lisa Ramaci
East Village

New York Nix

In response to Jason Vest's " 'Dollar Bill' Bucks the Odds" [September 14]: It's outrageous that Bill Bradley is reinventing himself as a liberal activist in order to obtain the Democratic nomination for president.

In 1995, when Bradley announced his retirement from the Senate, he denounced the Democratic Party for being too dependent on big government. According to Bradley, "Democrats distrust the market, preach government as the answer to our problems, and prefer the bureaucrat they know to the consumer they can't control." He also said, "Democrats have become too enamored of the possibility of a centralized federal bureaucracy to solve very complex human problems."

Now all of a sudden, Bradley feels passionately about issues such as gun control and health insurance, although he never exercised any leadership on these issues during the 18 years he was in the Senate. The fact is, Bradley is a bored rich man with nothing to do. He is seeking to capitalize on the anti-Clinton hostility in the media, which is being taken out on Al Gore, by creating the false impression that there is mass dissatisfaction with the Clinton administration in the Democratic Party.

Any Democrat would be crazy to vote for a man who has been a traitor to his party.

Reba Shimansky
New York City

Split Spat

I won't dignify with a response Amy Taubin's claim that the cable series Split Screen confirms a "Women keep away" message from within the indie film world— it's far too insulting to the dozens of gifted and hard-working women filmmakers who have both contributed to the show and been profiled on it (and who are clearly credited for having done so).

I will say, however, that as a supportive voice for women in film, Taubin displays shocking irresponsibility for perpetuating the myth that outlets like ours are inaccessible to women. I hope that the many talented women in the film world are not discouraged by her misstatements.

Howard Bernstein, Producer
Split Screen

Amy Taubin replies: Nothing Bernstein writes contradicts the substance of my argument— that Split Screen has devoted few segments to women directors and that its lack of interest in doing so is revealed by its failure to include Sadie Benning in its piece on Pixelvision. As for all the female contributors, women have toiled as producers in television for years and that hasn't gotten them any closer to becoming what Split Screen is in business to heroize— feature film directors.

From Hunger

When I read Alisa Solomon's account of the hunger strikers at the Wackenhut center in Jamaica, Queens ["Wackenhut Detention Ordeal," September 7], it reminded me of my own 41-day hunger strike at a hospital in Belgium during the time that I sought asylum in that country in 1993.

Some European countries routinely reject asylum seekers from the U.S. and other countries that are regarded as "safe." This policy is clearly violative of international law, yet it meets no effective resistance. The Dutch have even sent Iranian Communists back to Iran against their will on the assumption that Iran is a "safe" country.

James Henry Graf
Perth Amboy, New Jersey

Material Grrl

I loved Lynn Yaeger's hot-knife-through-bullshit piece about the idiocy of fall fashion magazines ["September Song," September 14]. I have long held the view that the life-or-death importance these magazines place on material goods is reminiscent of a seventh grader's desperation to possess designer jeans or Reebok sneakers in order to be cool. Someone should lock this band of twits in a Kmart just to watch them convulse with disdain.

Jessica Faller

Memory Lame

In the issue of September 7, you ran the following correction: "In the article 'Director of the Pinstriped Pilgrimage' by Rachel Ellner (August 31), a December 28, 1958, game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts was incorrectly cited as the first televised professional football game." True, but incomplete as regards the error. The pertinent sentence of Ellner's story read, "Morante's own recollections include . . . the Giants' win over the Colts in sudden death in the first televised professional football game on December 28, 1958." Recollections can be faulty. The final score of that game was Colts 23­Giants 17.

Jerry James


In Deborah Jowitt's review of Gabri Christa & Cynthia Oliver's dance concert "LUKoSiMAD" ("The Vibrancy of Rhythm," September 21), she stated that Jason Finkelman was the sole composer of the score. It was composed by Finkelman, Geoff Gersh, and Charles Cohen.

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