Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Politics/Jan Wallman/Greenwich Village life

I wrote this letter in response to the following: the recent spate of club closings; the decision of St. Vincent’s Hospital to move across the street, demolish and rebuild; the MTA’s threat to build 2 six-story towers on currently ‘open’ land; Jan Wallman’s impending eviction.
Thank you for listening. Cynthia Crane

Letters to the Editor, THE VILLAGER: published July 2007

As Villagers our plates are very full what with the constant and massive assaults on our precious, historic neighborhood. We have been brutalized by NYU, and I’m quite sure they are not through. Parsons, New School, they are, all of them, standing in line to suck up prime Village real estate, removing huge chunks of property from the tax rolls and swamping the locals. Issues are cropping up faster than we can identify them. Please let me try to present our most pressing concerns:

1) St. Vincent’s Hospital. For years to come Villagers will have to confront the huge situation inherent in the evacuation and rebuilding of Saint Vincent’s Hospital, and now there are suddenly more situations which really must be addressed.

2) the MTA’s search for a location for their Emergency Ventilation Plant in a location to be chosen from 9 alternatives. (**61 Greenwich Av; 192 7 AvS; 76 Greenwich Av; / Street-bed possibilities: W.11th south or north of 7th Av & Perry OR north of 7th Av). Depending on whether above or below ground, almost every one of these choices could have a staggering impact on my Block Association’s domain, the Mulry Angle/West 11th Street Blk. Ass’n., and, paired with whatever goes on with St. Vincent’s, could be a knock-out punch for the area. The MTA says that if tunneling fails and underground is not an option, they will then need TWO plants.

3) the loss of Cabarets & Piano Bars in the city. Recently we lost Dannys’ Skylight Room on Restaurant Row, home to performers for over 20 years, the victim of a divorce settlement. Then we lost Helen’s Hideaway Room, a classy little supper club in Chelsea. Now the news comes that Rose’s Turn (previously called for Duplex), on Grove Street, is closing. This building houses NYC’s oldest continuous running Cabaret. It was called The DUPLEX and there Jan Wallman discovered Woody Allen, Joan Rivers and a roster of stars. This historic location is being converted to ?’much-needed offices’. Yes, this is a Village issue. It’s a Big Apple issue.

4) a Greenwich Village Cabaret icon is being dispossessed from an apartment she has occupied on MacDougal Street for 50 years by, guess who? NYU. NYU is dispossessing her. Jan Wallman is going to have to move. She WAS the DUPLEX back in the early days and later ran a boîte on Cornelia Street for years. There is a pattern here. Greenwich Village, NYC itself, is losing its soul, bleeding its treasure its art, culture, quirks.

5) meanwhile back at the tourist bus route, the Venetian Gothic jewel, prize winner of its 1870’s day, symbol of Greenwich Village, the Jefferson Market Library has been shrouded in a scaffolding skirt for going on 5 years, left to decay with no help in sight while we waste time, money and thought on a frivolous plan to move the fountain in Washington Square Park, NYU’s campus in all but legality.

To quote from Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”:
“Attention must be paid” It must be paid.

Cynthia Crane Chair: Mulry Angle/West 11th St Block Association
“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.”
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
Voltaire 1694-1778

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Marie Antoinette, Rasputin and Bush

Accidents of Fate - all three have changed the course of history.

The Millennium was the peak, but then dirty tricks robbed Al Gore of his justly achieved presidency, and gave us the Bush Crime Family. I truly believe they are driving America to its destruction and dissolution. Blow by blow America is being gutted of all that made her unique and wonderful. From the loss of the 900 year-old habeus corpus to the withdrawal from the Geneva Conventions, from the elimination of the Middle Class, to the race to "the Rapture", history will call George W. Bush the instrument of our ruin.

José, the UPS Guy

What a loyal guy. José has delivered packages to our brownstone for years. Strong, willing, handsome, friendly, helpful, a neighborhood fixture. He's been hefting boxes for this upscale Greenwich Village neighborhood for nearly 20 years. My house alone must have been a big burden - regular deliveries of 50-lb bags of bird seed - all sorts of things from catalogues and stores. Oh, we recycle the boxes, and I pay the hefty freight for the privilege of home delivery. But José isn't doing too well these days. He has a really bad limp, and he's in a lot of pain. Lately someone else rings our bell for deliveries. I am left with the terrible thought that this wonderful man may have lost his health in service to us. I miss him.

Shakespeare created our language

I found this on the website of the Shakespeare Fellowship: www.shakespearefellowship.org.
Imagine the extent to which 'Shakespeare' enriched the English language - to the extent that even those people who have never read a word he wrote, are happy to quote him at any given turn:

"If you cannot understand my argument, and declare 'It's Greek to me', you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger; if your wish is the father to the thought; if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise - why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness' sake! What the dickens! But me no buts! - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare." From The Story of English, 1986

You KNOW that farmer from Stratford didn't do it ("Who Was that Masked Man?" Ted Story CRANE'S CLARION Vol XXII, Dec 2006 P-3 http://www.lookoutjazz.com/clarion1.htm

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Christmas Spirit?

The holidays have come and gone. My mood has been black, not green and red. It's a struggle to fight the feeling. Here I am with a life filled with blessings, but the shadows are there, and my spirits sag. So much on this planet is so heart-shatteringly unacceptable that there are times when despair clouds all, grim thunderheads across a clear, blue sky. I gloom and doom over melting icecaps, whole species dying out, war, genocide, torture. Humanity’s unpaid bills mount up and yet our daily lives seem to skim along, heedlessly surfing o’er the turmoil. I take it all very much to heart.

So what possible words of wisdom from this Saloon Singer? Only the ones that bind us all together, words we all know, words that make all this worthwhile: “Peace”, “Love”, “Joy”! For heaven’s sake, Crane! Lighten up! Look for your star. Once more from the ashes, the dream of peace may be rekindled. Once more Peace on Earth, reborn. Change is possible. We will do unto others as we would have them do unto us. That is my dream for us all.
De tout mon coeur, Cynthia