Volume 18 • Issue 14 | August 26 - September 01, 2005

Letters to the editor

Seaport stories

To The Editor:
Re “Seaport project draws opposition from the block’s neighbors” (news article, Aug. 19 – 25):

The building shown in the rendering, provided presumably by the applicant for the four variances, is misleading as it shows a six-story building, not the seven-story proposed building. Additionally, it is depicted to look as if it will be the same height as five-story buildings that are adjacent to it. Obviously, higher setbacks have been left out of the picture.

Real estate brokers are by definition pro-development, but extreme caution should be exercised by the community board and city planning agencies, especially in historic areas, such as South St. Seaport, on blocks that directly affect visibility lines to the historic Brooklyn Bridge. It is hard to accept that profitably building a lot can be submitted as a hardship criteria to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

Jon Phillips

Church and school

To The Editor:
In a recent Downtown Express article, (news article, “Judge receptive to allowing churches in schools like P.S. 89”) a resident said, “There’s plenty of places Downtown where they [Mosaic Manhattan Church] could go, they chose the school for a reason.” As Mosaic’s pastor, I want to correct a misunderstanding – our presence in P.S. / I.S. 89 is a practical one when understanding the challenges we face in choosing a location.

In the spring of 2003, we looked extensively for a church meeting place in the Downtown area. We have increased our efforts to do so in the last six months in order to be in a facility with daily access, allowing us to expand our care and service to our community. One poignant statistic: a recent Tribeca Trib article reported that another Downtown church was turned down by 80 buildings before finding its space. As New Yorkers, we all know it is not easy to find rentable space that is both appropriate and affordable.

The physical needs of a church of several hundred people are as follows:

1) A large space that will seat 300 and have enough room to incorporate various creative elements such as dance, art presentations, a live band, and lights and media.

2) Three to four additional large meeting areas that will facilitate a fun, safe, age-appropriate worship experience for 50 children and 15 adult volunteers.

3) A facility that is designated a “public meeting” space and is A.D.A. accessible.

4) A safe, clean, family-friendly environment with easy access to the subway that is also convenient to walk to.

5) Available on a weekly basis.

6) Located in the heart of Lower Manhattan.

As you can see, Mosaic Manhattan Church indeed chose P.S. / I.S. 89 for a reason, and it is because it meets the above criteria. If you were to start a church in Lower Manhattan, you would find yourself with the same space requirements that we have, and would see an empty school on Sunday as a viable meeting place.

However, we welcome your help! We are working with one of the top commercial real estate companies in the city to locate a new meeting space. We would be grateful for any additional information others can provide. I invite you to contact me directly with real estate ideas or questions about our church: gregg@mosaicmanhattan.com. I hope to meet you face-to-face in the neighborhood or at a Mosaic church service.

Gregg Farah

On the right track

To The Editor:
Just like every Friday, I reached for the stack of the Downtown Express that sits by our mailboxes, and right there on the front page, a story on the subway situation (news article, Aug. 19 – 25, “Signs of subway confusion”). Apparently I am not alone in my frustrations. It’s a great story, a great read, and I thank you. 

I already thought the Downtown Express was a great paper, but now, at least once in a while, I better bow to that stack that sits by our mailboxes.

Ernie Markezin

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