Letters, Week of June 13, 2012

Make pier 40 self-sustaining

To the Editor,
Re “Residential could save Pier 40, new study finds” (Downtown Express article, May 16):

As a board member of Friends of Hudson River Park (F.O.H.R.P.), a member of Community Board 1 and a parent with two small children who use the park daily, I wish to encourage all users of Hudson River Park (H.R.P.) to act now on a very real threat to this crown jewel of Downtown and, specifically, to Pier 40.

If immediate action is not taken by the New York State legislature to open up the Hudson River Park Act to review, we cannot even begin to take the necessary steps to save our neighborhood’s Central Park. We need to generate revenues to repair Pier 40, which, despite suggestions to the contrary from some quarters, is structurally unsound and desperately requires costly repairs to its infrastructure in order to avoid closure in the near future. Pier 40 is a vital resource for Downtown Manhattan, and the tens of thousands of people who utilize it would suffer if it closed. Likewise, H.R.P. as a whole faces an enormous shortfall both in its operating budget and capital budget, and modifying the Act is the only real solution in this age of government austerity. (Friends of Hudson River Park, of course, will still seek support from public sources, but the park cannot use those funds for its operations).

Opening up the Act will enable the community to thoughtfully consider all the options available to make the park self-sustaining, which was the original intent of the Act. Specifically, some of these options are:

• Broadening commercial uses allowed on commercial piers, such as Pier 40 and 76, to allow for more options and better proposals for H.R.P. and the community;

• Allowing H.R.P. to bond its revenues (something all state authorities and municipal governments have the ability to do);

• Allowing commercial lease terms to be co-terminus with H.R.P.T. master leases;

• Removing the N.Y.P.D.’s tow pound from Pier 76 and replacing it with a revenue-producing use.

Please contact your elected officials, including state Assembly Member Deborah Glick, in whose district Pier 40 lies, and tell them to take immediate action before the legislature finishes its session on Thurs., June 21. The future of your park depends on it!
Peter Braus,
Member of Friends of Hudson River Park board of directors 

Thank you, Julie Menin!

To the Editor,
Re “After seven packed years, Julie Menin to step down from chair of C.B. 1” (Downtown Express article, May 30):

This article reminded me of the Park51 episode of 2010. Julie must have called me every other day during that flare-up, and I could tell she was running shuttle diplomacy between local and national political and religious leaders. Her ability to listen and her desire to find common ground — all the while being true to her leadership vision of equality and justice — was a gift to our community. In addition to the high points mentioned in your article, let’s not forget her daily advocacy for more seats for Downtown public schools and the single-handed victory she had in securing the site for P.S. 276 in Battery Park City. Should Julie follow through on her interest in becoming Manhattan Borough President, we should only be so lucky.
Rabbi Darren Levine 



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