Letters to the Editor

Glick clicks with column

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. freshmen need a campus — on Governors Island” (talking point, by Deborah Glick, April 25):

This is the kind of creative problem solving that all our elected officials and administrators should be engaging in.
A.S. Evans

Counterpoints for Glick

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. freshmen need a campus — on Governors Island” (talking point, by Deborah Glick, April 25):

So as an assemblymember you’re going to talk to the mayor about opening up the Governors Island space to N.Y.U.? Also, just to be clear, Governors Island is not right in the middle of New York City.

I fully understand the need to preserve historic communities in New York City. But as a native New Yorker, I wouldn’t have wanted the city to preserve the historic drug and tawdry aspects of Times Square, Washington Square Park, 14th St. and other areas in the city that I would never have walked in past 9 p.m. at night!
Farah Hamilton

Steamed over wasteful A/C

To The Editor:
On April 16, the first very warm day of an early summer, as I walked up Fifth Ave. to buy my lunch, every other store I passed, on both sides of the street, had their doors wide open and their air conditioning blasting onto the sidewalks.

Several years ago, when Clyde Haberman of The New York Times made a case against stores that keep their front doors wide open with air conditioning blasting out onto the sidewalks, I was delighted.

In 2008, New York City passed a law to fine these businesses for this wasteful practice. It was only in 2010 that fines began to be imposed on stores that make a practice of this, but those fines, miniscule and rarely given, of $200 (for a second offense, $400) have not deterred merchants from repeatedly ignoring the law.  The legislation states that any business larger than 4,000 square feet or part of a chain with five or more stores in the city must keep doors closed when using an air-conditioning system. To describe this law as weak and ineffective is an understatement.

Since this law was passed, I have filed numerous complaints about stores on Lower Fifth Ave., where I work, that are blasting their air conditioning onto the sidewalks, but to no avail. You can go to www.nyc.gov and search “Store door open while air conditioner running” to make a formal complaint. But the city and its law enforcement officers are, I suppose, too busy stopping and frisking young black American boys, giving tickets to bicyclists or to people who smoke in the parks, to bother issuing tickets to these offenders.

This practice is so offensive, given the waste of precious energy resources and the undue pressure it puts on our energy suppliers, like Con Edison, who struggle each summer to keep the electricity on for everyone living in the five boroughs. Not to mention the shortage of oil and gas that has led this country into wars in the Middle East, wars that not only take the lives of our soldiers but those of so many innocent people who most likely never experienced the luxuries of air conditioning; wars that deplete the finances of this nation to the point where public-assistance programs, education, infrastructure and job creation are suffering immensely. And now there are the proposals to hydro-fracture our delicate lands for natural gas to supplement our shortages. How arrogant and selfish these stores are to pump this cold air in your face as you walk by them, beckoning potential buyers to “Come in, enjoy the cool air, spend money.”

Last summer, when walking down Fifth Ave. with a friend who was visiting from France, she remarked at how “wasteful” Americans are. When I asked what she meant, she said that our misuse of energy, like air conditioning and heating, was disgraceful. I was sorry to have to agree with her.

So I would like to propose the following: Every time you pass a store with its doors open and the air conditioning running — close the door. I do this now as a matter of routine and it helps. Several times a store security guard has tried to stop me and I inform him or her of the law. They usually back off. A couple of them have agreed with me about how wasteful it is. But, more often than not, the next time I pass this store, the doors are open again. I don’t let this deter me. I just keep closing their door(s). If all concerned citizens take up this practice, it could have a tremendous effect. I propose that you do. And for heaven’s sake, don’t shop at these stores!
Dee Vitale Henle

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