Letters to the editor

Affordable housing starts at home

To The Editor:
I find it shocking, irresponsible, and unacceptable that neither Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, nor the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. has taken steps to build and/or preserve affordable housing in Lower Manhattan (“Advocates press for affordable housing Downtown,” news article, June 17-23, 2003).

As a long-term resident of Independence Plaza North in Tribeca, I have watched my neighborhood become overwhelmingly wealthy and white. At this point, the only non-affluent and non-white people in Tribeca live with me in I.P.N. One of the things I love about I.P.N. is its diversity, and I know I speak for my neighbors as well.

The message from L.M.D.C. and the mayor’s office is clear: Let’s get those I.P.N. people out, drive up the real estate prices, and create 100% white local public schools. If not, why haven’t we heard about the plan to protect I.P.N. and build affordable housing in Lower Manhattan? If not, why approve the sale of I.P.N. to a multi-millionaire real estate owner who stated publicly that he intends to convert I.P.N. into a luxury apartment building?

We are outraged that one person’s money (and who it can buy) means more to public officials than the homes of 4,000 people, most of whom witnessed the attacks of 9/11, and 1/3 of whom were evacuated that day. We will not sit back and watch our homes be taken away from us.

Judy B. Bernstein

Site is a cemetery

To The Editor:
Re “Memorial jury hears residents, families clash” (news article, June 10 – 16, 2003):

Does anyone from Community Board 1 have either a heart or a brain? I don’t think so.  Tell Mr. Notaro that if he is tired of looking down, all he has to do is lift his head and look up.  Many of the victims’ families will forever be looking down.  Down is where their loved ones remains are. Down is the direction their lives have taken since 9/11. Down is where the heart is. Down is all they have left.  If Mr. Gregory thinks that his friend would think that keeping 16 acres for “his” remains is crazy, he’s right.  It isn’t just “his” remains there. It is the remains of more than 1,600 people. Sixteen acres for a cemetery isn’t so big. Whether Community Board 1 likes it or not, the W.T.C. is now a cemetery and it will be forever.

I find it appalling that people who have not lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks have been given the right to decide how much land will be set aside for the memorial, what the memorial will look like, what will be allowed or not allowed to be written on the memorial. “They need access to a place of healing and rebuilding.”  What do they think the victims’ families need? They haven’t a clue as to what we need. We will never have a “place of healing.” There is no healing for us. We will only have a place to visit. The truth is they don’t give a damn about the families, just themselves.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and Community Board 1 have been nothing but stupid — both in action and deed.

So let them rebuild, let them desecrate hallowed ground, and I hope the spirits of the dead come to haunt them the rest of their lives.

Joan Molinaro
Mother of Firefighter Carl E. Molinaro

Stocking books

To The Editor:
In response to “The mystery of book sales” by Andrei Codrescu (The Penny Post, June 17 – 23, 2003): Most independent bookstores stock books for way more then a week. When I had my store I stocked books as long as they were in print and often longer.

Alan Zimmerman
Alan Zimmerman was the owner of Sci Fi Mysteries, which used to be on Chambers St.

Pataki and Downtown jobs

To The Editor:
The plan by Governor Pataki to relocate nearly 300 state employees from Downtown Manhattan placed into focus the acute lethargy, ineptitude and downright duplicity of some “community organizations.”

It is outrageous that George Pataki had the gall to pull this dirty move on the Downtown area while businesses, still reeling from the World Trade Center attacks, are struggling.

This new lease actually doubles the rental cost to the state. Currently, the state is renting at 80 Maiden Lane for $19 per square foot while the Harlem space will rent between $36 and $41 per square foot.

Despite governmental grants and his own public plea to businesses not to abandon the economically devastated area of Downtown Manhattan, Gov. Pataki has himself set the worst possible example.

We found it an exercise in futility to recruit the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to help stop this outrageous abandonment of Lower Manhattan. Serving at Pataki’s whim, these officials don’t even bother returning our calls.

The Downtown Alliance was of no help either. But the most shocking betrayal came from Wall Street Rising, a so-called “post-9/11 business group.”

On March 20, 2003 this group hosted a black tie gala dinner at Regent Wall Street’s Grand Ballroom where George Pataki was presented with a Leadership Award for “his support of Lower Manhattan.”

Usher Z. Piller
Council leader of Public Employees Federation, Division 191


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