Volume 18 • Issue 6 | July 1-7, 2005

Letters to the editor

City’s ‘outrageous’ decision

To The Editor:
On June 15, Neighbors Against N.O.I.S.E. sent the following letter to Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster. We did not receive a reply. Today, June 29, we learned that, without public consultation, D.O.B. is granting 60 Hudson St.’s request to store diesel fuel in excess of legal limits on six floors. While D.O.B. only imposed minor conditions that may enhance safety on these six floors, they did not consider the totality of well over 80,000 gallons of diesel fuel stored throughout the entire building. Even more outrageous is D.O.B.’s use of existing building and fire codes as their standard at a time when D.O.B. is in the process of reviewing and updating New York City’s antiquated codes. The code needs to be revised to incorporate the lessons of 9/11 and the recommendations from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s study of the collapses of the World Trade Center Towers and the yet-to-be-released study of the collapse of 7 World Trade Center. It should take into account the unique challenges posed by telecom hotels. D.O.B. has ignored the serious concerns of those who live and work near this identified terrorist target and given business interests preference over the public interest.
Tim Lannan

The letter:

Dear Commissioner Lancaster
It has been a month since the Downtown Express reported that the Department of Buildings planned to give the telecom hotel at 60 Hudson Street a waiver allowing it to store illegal amounts of diesel fuel above ground. People who live and work in the area have expressed their outrage by writing letters, making phone calls, and signing petitions. But not a word has come from the Department of Buildings.

We who live in the shadow of 60 Hudson Street have a right to know: How much fuel is there on each floor of the building? How much of it is illegal? What fire protection does the building have? What would happen if one of the fuel tanks caught fire? What would happen if electronic equipment in the building caught fire? How is the hazardous condition created by fuel storage in this building different from that of 7 World Trade Center, which collapsed on 9/11 from fires fueled by diesel fuel – fires that continued burning for four months? What did 9/11 teach us about the vulnerability of diesel fuel stored in buildings in Manhattan’s densely packed neighborhoods? How is the hazardous condition created by this building different from that of the proposed Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, which the police have asked to have set back 100 to 200 feet from the street? What provisions regarding fuel storage will be included in the Building Code revisions that are now being written? Why shouldn’t these new provisions be applied to 60 Hudson Street?

Please let us know as soon as possible what your plans are for discussing these issues with the public. The Department of Buildings certainly should not grant 60 Hudson Street a waiver until these questions have been answered.”
Sincerely,
Tim Lannan, Bruce Ehrmann, Lori Stone, Michael Connolly, Noel Jefferson, Deborah Allen
Neighbors Against N.O.I.S.E.

Good paper choices

To The Editor:
“Papers that don’t ignore what’s ‘fit to print’ “ by Jane Flanagan (Talking Point, June 24 – 30) reminded me of how fortunate we are living in one of the few remaining free societies with a wealth of information sources available to any citizen.

Today, in New York City we have ongoing circulation battles between a number of daily newspapers.   They face competition from other daily newspapers who have a strong presence in their own communities such as New York and Long Island Newsday, Staten Island Advance, Journal News (Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Dutchess counties), Star Ledger (New Jersey), Herald Record (Hudson Valley and Catskills) along with the best source for international news coverage — The New York Times are also in the mix with the New York Post, Daily News and New York Sun.  Don’t forget the growth of weekly papers such as the Village Voice, New York Press and New York Observer. 

In various neighborhoods all over the city you have far better coverage of local community events than any daily newspaper can provide.  Consider in Manhattan, we are fortunate to have not only the Downtown Express but also the Westside Spirit, Our Town, Resident and The Villager as well.

Queens residents can select from the Ledger, Examiner, Tribune. Courier, Chronicle and Gazette.

Brooklyn residents have such choices as the Brooklyn Paper, Downtown Star, Courier Life, Spectator and Home Reporter.

In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone.  I’m grateful that the Downtown Express has on a number of occasions afforded me the opportunity to express my views along with many others who may have different opinions on the issues of the day.
Larry Penner
Great Neck, New York

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