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NYC is a Hard Town Sometimes - Scrooge Lives!

  • Subject: [cg] NYC is a Hard Town Sometimes - Scrooge Lives!
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 21:02:56 EST

Friends,

I'll be letting you know about the three gardens that got lost in the South
Bronx and the two spaces they got moved into, with a net loss of 11,000 square
feet and 16 years of hard community work invested in them; and what it was
like going to court and hearing about this great "compromise."

And what it felt like, outside of having a sore back this week, from digging
up dozens of trees and rose bushes, building sheds, and moving them, mulch,
soil, bits and scavanging pieces of "Casitas, " in four days,  before the
bulldozers came on Monday....thousands of hours of volunteer work disposed of
for
town houses that the investors will never live in, but that will be rented out
to the city as emergency Section 8 housing, at a pretty profit.

And feeling my heart break as I helped others digging up and wrapping the
roots of trees, and  shrubs whose hearts were breaking, to try to save what
they
could from those beautiful Melrose area gardens, the  beautiful gardens that
some of you saw in the Melrose section of the Bronx during the 2002 ACGA
convention, before the bulldozers came last Monday.

And what it feels like, fighting for the Holy Rosary Garden on East 119th
Street in Harlem to keep it from  being eaten up the usual cabal of poverty
pimps
on the make, this time running a top heavy foundation  (i.e., big salaries of
executives, fat cat corporate perks) ostensibly helping female ex-cons,  that
HAS to built  on a beautiful, well established community garden.

And how this time, with Borough President C. Virginia Fields looking toward a
mayoral run, and  their term-limited citycouncil man looking towards
retirement and consulting honorariums, the deck seems stacked at Community
Board 11 in
favor of the poverty pimps.

It's the first Hannukah without my wife, a RN who used to do asthma work ups
in the Bronx and Brooklyn as the bastards seem to be winning, once again. The
poverty pimps cynically filling their pockets while acting that butter
wouldn't melt in their self-righteous mouths.

And to top it off, rich people are evicting world famous urban hawks from the
eaves of their fabulously rich co-op on Fifth Avenue!

Don't worry, I'll pour myself a good stiff drink, get my rear end to
synagogue tomorrow,  and continue fighting for open space and gardener equity
afterwards,  but right now it all seems a little bit overwhelming.

For those who are just concerned with slugs.....;)


Everbest,
Adam Honigman



> Subj: Money Talks, Red-Tails Walk
>  Date: 12/10/04 7:54:39 PM Mid-Atlantic Standard Time
>  From: starquest@nycivic.org
>  To: adam36055@aol.com
>  Sent from the Internet
>
>
>
>








The Arrogance of Wealth:
5 Ave Coop Evicts Hawks
After 11 Years on Ledge;
Pres. Cohen Won't Talk

By Henry J. Stern
December 10, 2004

Most of you know by now of the destruction of the nest of the red-tailed
hawk, Pale Male, and his mate, Lola.

For eleven years, the hawks had nested on a ledge on the 12th floor of 927
Fifth Avenue (near 74th Street). They raised their offspring there, bringing
food to their chicks until the young ones were able to go out on their own.

The hawks became popular figures. The idea of wild birds surviving in a most
urban environment captured the imagination of adults and children all over the
world. Books and articles were written about the hawks, a film, "Pale Male,"
was made, and another movie is on the way. Sightseers traveled long distances
to get a glimpse of the striking birds and their unusual habitat.

A few days ago, all this was destroyed by a contractor at the order of the
co-op board. The pigeon-repelling spikes that had secured the nest were
removed.
After finding their home gone, the two adult hawks circled the wreckage,
bringing twigs to try to rebuild it. But without the protective spikes, the
twigs
were blown away.

To put it mildly, the public and the press were distressed. A New York Times
editorial sums up the case for the red-tails in persuasive prose. We cite its
closing lines: "The hawks have gone out of their way to learn to live with us.
The least the wealthy residents of 927 Fifth Avenue could have done was learn
to live with the hawks."

The Daily News' editorial (scroll to third editorial) came in the form of a
letter from Pale Male. Link to it to get a bird's eye view of the problem.
"We have heard all sorts of explanations as to why we were forced into the
ranks of the homeless. We suspect it was simply that our snooty neighbors on
Fifth Ave. were offended by our bodily functions and the occasional pigeon
tartare that would fall to the sidewalks."

Here are links to this week's stories, editorials and columns about the
birds' plight. It is interesting that everyone who has written on the subject
appears to be on the side of the red-tails. No one stuck up for the board's
action.

Times: "New York Celebrities Evicted on Fifth Ave., Feathers and All," by
Thomas J. Lueck, 12/8, ppB1, 3; "Newly Homeless Above 5th Ave., Hawks Have
Little
to Build On," by Thomas J. Lueck, 12/9, ppB1, 11; "Squatting Rights,"
editorial (cited above), 12/9, pA40
Post: "5th Ave. roost roust," by Gersh Kuntzman, Braden Keil and Letitia
Rowlands, 12/9, p2; "Poultry 'in motion'," by Mark Bulliet, Braden Keil and
Heidi
Singer, 12/10, p10; "Pale Male dealt a nesty blow," by Dr. Keith L. Bildstein,
12/10, p11; "Flip the bird to Paula and the rest of those hoity-toity
residents," column by Andrea Peyser, 12/10, p11. Her column is exquisite; far
more
pointed than what we have written.
News: "Homeless hawks: Booted from 5th Ave. nest," by Austin Fenner and Tracy
Connor, 12/9, p3; "Beyond the pale," editorial (cited above - scroll to third
editorial), 12/9, p54; "Suite Revenge," by Austin Fenner and Tracy Connor
12/10, p6
Sun: "Fifth Avenue Hawk Loses Nest," New York Desk, 12/8, p5; "Bird Lovers
Chant For the Return Of Hawks' Nest," by Richard Pyle (AP), 12/10, p2
Newsday: "City Hawks evicted from Fifth Avenue nest," by Richard Pyle (AP),
12/7, not published, on website; "NYC Hawks Seek Nest Workers Took Down," by
Verena Dobnik (AP), 12/8, not published, on website Our feelings on this
matter
are strong. The people who live in this luxurious co-operative are among the
most privileged in the city.  They should thank God for their wealth and good
fortune.  They should not destroy the home of a living family of another
species.

A sad aspect of this case is the absence of any sense of shame by the co-op
residents or board. Their chairman, Richard Cohen, refuses to speak to the
media. Even though his wife, Paula Zahn, is a television reporter, he holds
himself above the press, and feels no need to explain his board's action. His
distinguished surname, Cohen, signifies descent from a priestly caste. He does
not
live up to that fine name by his apparent disregard for living creatures.
Fortunately there is still time to correct the problem, and we urgently hope
for
peace for both the hawks and the tenants.

The co-op's lawyer, Aaron Schmulewitz, said that the co-op's engineers found
the nest was "a hazard that probably violated city regulations." No city
agency, however, appears to have complained about it.

The charge against the hawks is that, after they finish eating, they drop
pigeon carcasses on Fifth Avenue (heaven forbid). The building is well-staffed
with doormen b can't they remove the dead pigeons?

Technically, the building's action is within the law. It would have been
against federal law if it had been taken while the chicks or eggs were within
the
nest. But late fall is not the season for reproduction, so there was a window
of opportunity for the unscrupulous board to destroy the nest.

Nonetheless, it is against a moral law b that we should care for less
fortunate creatures and have reasonable regard for other forms of life. And
moral law
does not change with the seasons.  In the case of Pale Male and his mate, the
two red-tailed hawks have brought pleasure and pride to so many New Yorkers
and visitors from around the world, that the wanton destruction of their home
by a bunch of selfish millionaires is a disgraceful act. (We know they are
millionaires because of the value of their apartments, not counting their
other
real estate, stocks, bonds, fine furniture, jewelry and cosmetics.) These
people
have been blessed in life. For their representatives on the board to display
the selfishness and insensitivity we have seen this week is living proof that
material wealth and kindness to others are qualities that are often poles
apart.

A well-known tenant in the building, Mary Tyler Moore, has spoken out against
the board's action. "I can't imagine the lack of empathy that exists in these
people's hearts," she said.

We call on city officials and people of conscience to express themselves on
this matter. We believe that most New Yorkers feel that what has happened here
is a sin, or at least a trespass, against nature. Anyone who wants to go on
record with those sentiments, or the opposite viewpoint, is invited to e-mail
us, and we will report on how you feel.

Our hope is that, in this holiday season, the directors of the co-op will
soften their hearts and allow these distinguished residents of 927 Fifth
Avenue
to resume their peaceable occupancy.  Let their fine building be a shining
example of peace between species.  Let 927 symbolize kindness, not cruelty.





Henry J. Stern
starquest@nycivic.org    New York Civic
520 Eighth Avenue
F Floor
New York, NY 10018
(212) 564-4441
(212) 564-5588 (fax)

www.nycivic.org




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The Arrogance of Wealth:
5 Ave Coop Evicts Hawks
After 11 Years on Ledge;
Pres. Cohen Won't Talk

By Henry J. Stern
December 10, 2004

Most of you know by now of the destruction of the nest of the red-tailed hawk, Pale Male, and his mate, Lola.
 
For eleven years, the hawks had nested on a ledge on the 12th floor of 927 Fifth Avenue (near 74th Street). They raised their offspring there, bringing food to their chicks until the young ones were able to go out on their own.
 
The hawks became popular figures. The idea of wild birds surviving in a most urban environment captured the imagination of adults and children all over the world. Books and articles were written about the hawks, a film, "Pale Male," was made, and another movie is on the way. Sightseers traveled long distances to get a glimpse of the striking birds and their unusual habitat.
 
A few days ago, all this was destroyed by a contractor at the order of the co-op board. The pigeon-repelling spikes that had secured the nest were removed. After finding their home gone, the two adult hawks circled the wreckage, bringing twigs to try to rebuild it. But without the protective spikes, the twigs were blown away.

To put it mildly, the public and the press were distressed. A New York Times editorial sums up the case for the red-tails in persuasive prose. We cite its closing lines: "The hawks have gone out of their way to learn to live with us. The least the wealthy residents of 927 Fifth Avenue could have done was learn to live with the hawks."
 
The Daily News' editorial (scroll to third editorial) came in the form of a letter from Pale Male. Link to it to get a bird's eye view of the problem.
"We have heard all sorts of explanations as to why we were forced into the ranks of the homeless. We suspect it was simply that our snooty neighbors on Fifth Ave. were offended by our bodily functions and the occasional pigeon tartare that would fall to the sidewalks."
Here are links to this week's stories, editorials and columns about the birds' plight. It is interesting that everyone who has written on the subject appears to be on the side of the red-tails. No one stuck up for the board's action.

    * Times: "New York Celebrities Evicted on Fifth Ave., Feathers and All," by Thomas J. Lueck, 12/8, ppB1, 3; "Newly Homeless Above 5th Ave., Hawks Have Little to Build On," by Thomas J. Lueck, 12/9, ppB1, 11; "Squatting Rights," editorial (cited above), 12/9, pA40

    * Post: "5th Ave. roost roust," by Gersh Kuntzman, Braden Keil and Letitia Rowlands, 12/9, p2; "Poultry 'in motion'," by Mark Bulliet, Braden Keil and Heidi Singer, 12/10, p10; "Pale Male dealt a nesty blow," by Dr. Keith L. Bildstein, 12/10, p11; "Flip the bird to Paula and the rest of those hoity-toity residents," column by Andrea Peyser, 12/10, p11. Her column is exquisite; far more pointed than what we have written.

    * News: "Homeless hawks: Booted from 5th Ave. nest," by Austin Fenner and Tracy Connor, 12/9, p3; "Beyond the pale," editorial (cited above - scroll to third editorial), 12/9, p54; "Suite Revenge," by Austin Fenner and Tracy Connor 12/10, p6

    * Sun: "Fifth Avenue Hawk Loses Nest," New York Desk, 12/8, p5; "Bird Lovers Chant For the Return Of Hawks' Nest," by Richard Pyle (AP), 12/10, p2

    * Newsday: "City Hawks evicted from Fifth Avenue nest," by Richard Pyle (AP), 12/7, not published, on website; "NYC Hawks Seek Nest Workers Took Down," by Verena Dobnik (AP), 12/8, not published, on website

Our feelings on this matter are strong. The people who live in this luxurious co-operative are among the most privileged in the city.  They should thank God for their wealth and good fortune.  They should not destroy the home of a living family of another species.
 
A sad aspect of this case is the absence of any sense of shame by the co-op residents or board. Their chairman, Richard Cohen, refuses to speak to the media. Even though his wife, Paula Zahn, is a television reporter, he holds himself above the press, and feels no need to explain his board's action. His distinguished surname, Cohen, signifies descent from a priestly caste. He does not live up to that fine name by his apparent disregard for living creatures. Fortunately there is still time to correct the problem, and we urgently hope for peace for both the hawks and the tenants.
 
The co-op's lawyer, Aaron Schmulewitz, said that the co-op's engineers found the nest was "a hazard that probably violated city regulations." No city agency, however, appears to have complained about it.
 
The charge against the hawks is that, after they finish eating, they drop pigeon carcasses on Fifth Avenue (heaven forbid). The building is well-staffed with doormen  can't they remove the dead pigeons?
 
Technically, the building's action is within the law. It would have been against federal law if it had been taken while the chicks or eggs were within the nest. But late fall is not the season for reproduction, so there was a window of opportunity for the unscrupulous board to destroy the nest.
 
Nonetheless, it is against a moral law  that we should care for less fortunate creatures and have reasonable regard for other forms of life. And moral law does not change with the seasons.   In the case of Pale Male and his mate, the two red-tailed hawks have brought pleasure and pride to so many New Yorkers and visitors from around the world, that the wanton destruction of their home by a bunch of selfish millionaires is a disgraceful act. (We know they are millionaires because of the value of their apartments, not counting their other real estate, stocks, bonds, fine furniture, jewelry and cosmetics.) These people have been blessed in life. For their representatives on the board to display the selfishness and insensitivity we have seen this week is living proof that material wealth and kindness to others are qualities that are often poles apart.
 
A well-known tenant in the building, Mary Tyler Moore, has spoken out against the board's action. "I can't imagine the lack of empathy that exists in these people's hearts," she said.
 
We call on city officials and people of conscience to express themselves on this matter. We believe that most New Yorkers feel that what has happened here is a sin, or at least a trespass, against nature. Anyone who wants to go on record with those sentiments, or the opposite viewpoint, is invited to e-mail us, and we will report on how you feel.
 
Our hope is that, in this holiday season, the directors of the co-op will soften their hearts and allow these distinguished residents of 927 Fifth Avenue to resume their peaceable occupancy.  Let their fine building be a shining example of peace between species.  Let 927 symbolize kindness, not cruelty.



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