Letters to the editor

Memorial to rescue workers

To The Editor:
“Choosing a memorial for the 2,800 lives” (editorial, April 15 – 21, 2003):

A memorial must honor all those who perished there. This means recognizing the sacrifice of the over 400 uniformed rescue worker men and two women who gave their lives.

They must be identified at the memorial as such, so that all visitors, particularly those of future generations can know who they were and why they died. Anything else would be less than the truth. Incredibly, however, this is the stance of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation – not to identify the firefighters, police officers, E.M.S. as firefighters, police officers and E.M.S. They would be unknown to history. Such a memorial would be an offense to the great sacrifice we all witnessed.

Michael Burke

B.P.C. veterans

To The Editor:
“From B.P.C. to Iraq” (news article, May 20 –26, 2003):

I think my son, Lance Cpl. Nigel Gardner, Second Battalion 25th Marines, currently in Nasiriyah Iraq, might be the closest combat personnel to ground zero. We live in Gateway Plaza. It might be interesting to know how many Downtown residents are serving in Iraq.

George Gardner

Libeskind and Pataki

The following are excerpts from an open letter sent to Gov. George Pataki.

We represent The Phoenix Project, a grassroots coalition working to see that ground zero gets what it deserves — the very best that humanity can conceive and build.

As reported in The New York Times on May 1 and 2, The Phoenix Project published the shadow study proving that, contrary to what Daniel Libeskind has claimed for months, the sun will not “shine without shadow” every September 11th morning within a so-called Wedge of Light. In a May 6 editorial, Downtown Express, the newspaper of Lower Manhattan, wrote: “It was most disturbing to learn last week that the selected World Trade Center site design by architect Daniel Libeskind is not what he said it was….[W]e need to see more details on this and all aspects of the Libeskind scheme, because, frankly, the public’s trust has taken a blow….”

Much as we regret the embarrassment caused you by Libeskind’s recent rhetorical backpedaling on the “Wedge of Light,” his desperation is just what we would expect: He is being forced to defend a scheme — and a process — that was ill-conceived from the start. Indeed, we are confident that you will be hearing many more excuses in the very near future — the “Wedge of Light” is only the beginning.

Make no mistake. We want you to lead the rebuilding of ground zero — and we want you to succeed. But if Libeskind’s scheme is built and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s process upheld, it will be New York, America, and the world who are embarrassed — and your name will be all over it forever. A broad and politically effective coalition is forming to make sure that does not happen.

We can do much, much better for ground zero…

Eli Attia, Noa Attia, John Lumea and Jonathan Hakala

Linking Second Ave.

To The Editor:
This is in response to Josh Rogers’ story about Gov. Pataki pushing the timetable for Lower Manhattan’s recovery (news article, April 29 –May 5, 2003, “Pataki commits to Downtown timeline”). While I am glad to see the governor pushing to get things moving for the recovery, I am concerned that his message of “regionalism” has not been clearly understood.

The governor has called for a “regional” rail solution to help Lower Manhattan for some time now. But nothing has been done to the three largest rail expansion projects that are currently in design to help Lower Manhattan gain access to suburban commuters and this has left Lower Manhattan groping for alternate solutions such as the L.I.R.R. from Flatbush Terminal.

The Second Ave. Subway, East Side Access and Access to the Region’s Core plans fail Lower Manhattan because they were never asked to look beyond the parochial interests of the segments of the region for which they were originally designed.

The Second Ave. line only serves Manhattan, East Side Access only serves Long Island and Access to the Region’s Core serves only New Jersey.  Where is the governor’s vision of “regionalism?”

I believe the governor’s “regional” theme does not mean extension of the L.I.R.R. from Flatbush Terminal or access only to JFK. We have three major commuter railroads and three major area airports that make up the entire “region” and that is what our goal needs to be.

The whole point of “regionalism” should be to connect lines and services in the region — much as we have accomplished with our interstate highway network.  The time has come for New York to step to the plate and set the pace for a national “interstate rail system” and use these three projects as the cornerstone of that effort. But this will mean revisiting their design to answer the question how can we better serve Lower Manhattan and the region.

One concept not yet discussed that might yield a regional solution for example, is converting the Second Ave. line from a subway to a commuter line. As a commuter line, Second Ave. could become the lynchpin linking all three commuter railroads (the L.I.R.R., Metro North and NJ Transit) to Lower Manhattan and even allow a few Amtrak “Wall Street” specials in for good measure.

Technically speaking there is no reason why commuter trains could not solve the congestion issues experienced along the Lexington Ave. line. And with MetroCard, stations can look and operate just like the subway in Manhattan with free transfers to the rest of the subway.

The added benefit for New Yorkers will be increased accessibility to suburban and weekend destinations such as White Plains, Stamford, the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore.

The Second Ave. line is long overdue, but as a subway its impact will be limited. As a commuter line it would better link Lower Manhattan and the East Side with the entire N.Y.C. region.

Bob Previdi


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