Letters to the editor

Make apartments smaller

To The Editor:
Building more schools is one way to handle Tribeca’s “baby boom” (editorial, July 1 –7, 2003, “Meeting the needs of Downtown’s growing population”). Another way is to have the community board re-examine and debate Tribeca’s minimum 2,000 square foot apartment size for new buildings, originally proposed in order to create large spaces where people would be able to hire staff to help small businesses grow. Tribeca was to have a mixed-use flavor. Instead of a semi-commercial flavor for Tribeca, the zoning mandated 2,000 sq. ft. apartments with minimum prices of $2 million for large affluent families with several school-aged children.

Perhaps loosening this minimum would permit a better mix of new apartment sizes to include units for singles, childless couples, the elderly, etc. — giving us a greater variety of apartment sizes while lowering the need for more new neighborhood schools.

A survey recently determined that the Wall St. area increased its number of new apartments more then Tribeca, and thus will also need more new schools. This may be true, but I would like to analyze the bedroom count of these new units (and remove the thousands of students residing in university leased buildings). I think one will find that these buildings have many more studios and one bedrooms units and thus less school-aged children.

Tribeca has traded its “mixed-use flavor” and has become a place for only affluent large families. While we need to welcome all our new neighbors, I would like to see Tribeca be more inclusive of others to live too. It should also be a place where empty nesters can still reside when their children leave. Maybe our limited community resources such as parks, libraries and schools are already stretched to their limits, diminishing the quality of life for everyone else? All I am asking is for a non-emotional discourse of the issue.

Rick Landman
Rick Landman is a member of Community Board 1.
Next year’s July 4th

To The Editor:
When you stand at ground zero and look into the eyes of visitors from Florida to Alaska, one thing becomes clear – this is the most patriotic spot in the country. This is where Americans come to affirm their faith and say, “Yes, I am proud to be American.”

We, the residents and businesses of Lower Manhattan, have a solemn responsibility to the nation to protect, preserve and enhance this feeling so it can inspire our children and generations following to continue pressing forward in pursuit of the American Dream.

One way is to create a “Parade of American Flags” every July Fourth. Starting at historic Battery Park and going up Broadway to City Hall, bring all the great flags from around the country to march in a public display. Let television cover this as the nation’s July Fourth Parade. Each flag will tell a story and these stories define America.

I am suggesting an historical event, not a political event. Inclusivity is the key. The selection of flags should educate. Let us have Washington’s flag from Valley Forge alongside and the equivalent British flag. Let us have Custer’s flag from Little Bighorn fly side by side with an Sioux Indian flag. Let us include an Army flag from Vietnam and a student protest flag from Kent State.

Let us select a different flag to lead every year. Start with a World Trade Center-related flag. As the years progress, encourage flags for special appearances such as the Fort McHenry Flag of 1812, Davey Crockett’s Alamo flag of 1836 and the American flag which draped the coffin of President John F. Kennedy.

There are thousands of special flags in museums all across this nation. Every year, bring some of them to this spot, let them breathe and their stories inspire.

I encourage the business, political and residential leaders of our city to come together as a non-profit committee to begin producing this parade. On July 4th, 2004, let’s start a new and long-lasting tradition in Lower Manhattan that will help carry our community forward in the eyes of the nation.

Michael W. Fortenbaugh


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