Volume 18 • Issue 40 | February 17 - 23, 2006

Letters to the Editor

Welcome Home Depot

To The Editor:
Re “Home Depot hammering out lease at Hudson Square” (news article, Feb. 3 - 9):

In the late ’60s and early ’70s there were over a half-dozen hardware stores and lumberyards in Soho. They were accompanied by a diverse myriad of discount hardware stores on Canal and Warren Sts. Did the threat of a neighborhood Home Depot 30 years in the future drive them out of business? I doubt it.

Did those business owners possess extreme business acumen, or clairvoyance, and collectively decide to get out of business while the getting was good? I think not. They left because someone either bought out their leases or they sold their buildings and then moved on to different and “greener” pastures.

I like the idea of shopping locally, and up to just a few years ago Hudson Square had a local hardware store, Chelsea Hardware on Charlton St. I knew the owners and most of their staff on a first-name basis and could walk back into their stockroom and search for what I needed without a store clerk interfering. They have since relocated and the building was converted to residential apartments. I now trek to my closest “neighborhood” hardware store, Metropolitan Lumber in Soho, to get my supplies. It’s a little further, but no big deal and it’s still somewhat local.

Although there are some that might say the arrival of a “big-box” store in Hudson Square would be detrimental to the neighborhood’s character, I applaud it. Our family has lived on the far side of Charlton St. since 1973 and watched as the neighborhood emerged from a dimly lit, desolate wasteland (this was years before U.P.S. reopened the former Motor Union terminal) to what is now a mushroom farm of newly constructed condos. What next for the neighborhood, a Costco, a Circuit City? Bring ’em on, I say. By the way, we could use a Staples over here also, as well as a huge supermarket. And a Wal-Mart superstore, perhaps?

The days of the “mom-and-pop store” where the owners live in the back room or upstairs, is a quaint and vanishing institution in this section of Manhattan and most other areas of the city as well. Of course the big-box stores will cause the smaller area stores to shut down. But the reality is that in Hudson Square there are very few small stores, and in fact few stores of any size, to shut down. So what’s the problem?

Those “big boxes” are a lot better for the community than the plethora of red-velvet-roped nightclubs lining Spring St. that lure the “bridge-and-tunnel” late-night crowd. With the addition of increased daylight pedestrian traffic created by the big new stores, other ancillary businesses and services will surely follow.

As Bob Dylan once wrote a long time ago, “… the times they are a’ changin’.” I say, great! The sooner the better.

Lou Scrima

What has he been drinking?

To The Editor:
Re “Liquor defense” (letters, Feb. 10 - 16):

Upon reading Joshua Toas’s astonishing defense of State Liquor Authority practices, we have come to the following conclusion:

Mr. Toas is an imbecile.

Mr. Toas thinks New Yorkers are imbeciles.

Mr. Toas is an inspired satirist applying for a job at The Onion.

One could only hope at the next congregation of purported civic-minded clowns, that issues of Downtown Express, which contain these quotes, are readily available.

Pass the whoopee cushion, Mr. Toas. We have some commentary for you.

Robert Weitz


Were no no-shows

To the Editor:
Re “Chinatown’s police parking complaints captured on video” (news article, Feb. 10 –16):

The Feb. 7 forum on transportation issues was hosted by Community Board 3 with the grant monies received from the Red Cross to involve community members in decision making in their community. The Outreach Taskforce of Community Board 3, comprised of board members and public members from the community, worked very hard to put together this excellent forum for the community to voice concerns around transportation issues that impact their daily personal lives and the economic development of the community.

Both public members and regular members do this work in a volunteer capacity in addition to full time jobs and personal lives.  There was discussion about inviting city agencies, including police and transportation. However, it was decided to focus this forum on hearing from the community and to encourage more community involvement. 

Unfortunately, this final decision was not well communicated to all the taskforce members. It is not true that any agencies, including police and transportation, were invited. 

The representative from the mayor’s office was on the C.B. 3 e-mail list that announced the forum because she is a liaison to the board from the Community Assistance Unit.

Community Board 3 is very proud of our close relationships with other city agencies because these relationships allow us to serve our community better. We in particular work very closely with our police precincts and the Department of Transportation. 

We hope future forums allow for greater participation from the community to take a comprehensive look at transportation issues and to enable the community to have a more structured forum to speak with agencies to resolve these issues with community involvement.
 
David McWater
Chairperson,Community Board 3

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