Volume 19 • Issue 22 | October 13 - 19, 2006

Letters to the editor

Fowl ritual

To The Editor:
Re “Sin removal” (photos and caption, Oct. 6 - 12):

Holding the feet of a terrified chicken and then swinging this fully conscious being around one’s head (for whatever the reason) is blatantly cruel and should not be permitted.

A phone call to a well-known animal protection agency led me to believe that there are no laws in place to protect these animals.

Freedom of religion will protect the practitioner and his rituals, but who will protect the birds?

Phyllis Stern

Too snarky by half

To The Editor:
Re “On the Map” and “Artful Anger” (UnderCover, Sept. 29 – Oct. 5 and Sept. 22 – 28):

Three-Legged Dog had a great long-overdue opening party and we are glad you were there with about 999 other guests! We appreciate being mentioned in two recent editions in the wonderfully snarky UnderCover column. However, I feel I must offer some comments on both items.

We believe all levels of re-development activity need to be supported in Lower Manhattan. And though the top-down, real-estate-driven development plans that have predominated down here have been slow and pretty ineffective, this should come as no surprise. You can argue with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s timing and distribution ratio of funds to smaller groups, community amenities and culture. But you cannot say that they have made no contribution to culture or to 3-Legged Dog’s recovery.

The L.M.D.C. has formally committed $1.5 million in program operations money over three years despite their earlier plans for lower Greenwich St., and the city has committed $1.5 million in capital support (as well as $500,000 in capital equipment) through the Department of Cultural Affairs. It is true that we have received no cash to this point from either entity but without the formal commitments of both, we would still be sitting in a dusty parking garage (or living in Berlin) instead of creating and hosting sold-out cutting edge performance and installation art three blocks below ground zero. The commitments gave us the credibility we needed to organize financing. These critical contributions unfortunately must be made from complex government sources that take time and bureaucratic effort to draw down. It is very unusual for an organization of our type and size to receive money from these kinds of sources.

As to your reference to us three weeks ago, in an item in which you pitted Tom Healy against Linda Shelton using us as a foil, we agree with Tom Healy that more money invested in smaller entrepreneurial arts projects would have, and still can have a profound effect on the recovery of Lower Manhattan. The arts are the only smokestack industry left in the city and a proven catalyst for rapid development. It only makes sense to seed a number of smaller, fast moving, dynamic projects to kick start things. This has not occurred and I believe this is the point that Tom was trying to address. But this doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition-- either the large performing arts center or the small cutting edge arts group. If you want New York City to be New York City, you have to have both.
Kevin Cunningham
Executive artistic director 3-Legged Dog

Price too high

To The Editor:
The slogan most used today is “We need affordable housing.” Slogans are used to mobilize, get joiners to go to battle and campaign vigorously for a cause. They should not be used by politicians as campaign promises that are not met, or for those who look to take over for self-aggrandizement. There is no time to waste campaigning for oneself.

The affordable housing slogan must be backed by muscle, lest it become just a tired cliché. New York is at risk of becoming a city with only the very rich and the very poor.  The most important middle income population will be stuck with no place to go. No citizenry can survive that way. Middle income people make up the majority of tax payers, while the poor withstand taxes and the rich always find loopholes.

Those who take pride in this great city must look to ways to keep it that way. Under Governor Averell Harriman in 1955, State Senator MacNeill Mitchell and Assemblyman Alfred Lama, gave us a good historical start. That must not be overlooked. The 20-year limit promised to landlords of rentals can turn out to be destructive to the Mitchell-Lama program and for our citizenry. The more rentals and co-ops disappear, the more the mainstay of the city will suffer, and the very rich will also feel the pinch. Don’t let us in New York become a “let them eat cake” society. It didn’t work in 18th century France.

Geraldine Lipschutz

Move Police Plaza

To The Editor:
The N.Y.P.D.’s approach to solving the illegal parking problem in Lower Manhattan (news article, Oct. 6 – 12, “Fulton St. -- parking paradise for police, traffic nightmare for many Downtowners”) is akin to a child who does not want to eat the food on his plate; pushing the food from one part of the plate to another in the hopes that the food will somehow evaporate or disappear. Relying on media attention to push the illegal parking problem between Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Tribeca, and the Seaport communities will never solve the problem. And the persistent presence of this large-scale illegal parking will prevent all of our communities from reaching our full potentials in providing for safety and quality of life and in providing a fertile environment for small businesses.

A root cause of this parking problem lies with police headquarters and their arcane, and arguably insane, “security plan.” Most people may not realize that police headquarters now has a capacity of nearly 1000 indoor parking spaces -- the 600 indoor spaces that their headquarters was designed with plus the 400-car municipal garage that they “annexed” in 2001.

It has become increasingly evident that a part of their “security plan” is to keep their indoor parking space largely unused -- that the “rings of security” the N.Y.P.D. has implemented around their headquarters are, in reality, “rings of parking privilege,” rings that stretch out far beyond the walls of One Police Plaza into our communities.

We call upon the residents of Lower Manhattan to unite and demand, in the short term that the N.Y.P.D. put an end to their strategy of “privilege through security” and open their indoor parking up to anyone they would allow on our fire hydrants, bus stops, sidewalks, and curb cuts. We suggest that letters be written directly to the mayor as Police Commissioner Kelly does not negotiate with terrorists or local residents.

In the longer term, residents of Lower Manhattan need to realize that we will never fully recover from 9/11 until police headquarters is relocated from Lower Manhattan.

Several elected officials have already suggested that police headquarters be relocated from Lower Manhattan. Can you imagine how our communities would benefit from a 1000 car indoor municipal garage?

Danny Chen, Jeanie Chin and John Ost
Civic Center Residents Coalition

Cynical responses

To The Editor:
There has been a reopening of a particular sad 9/11 wound in the past few weeks that started with the Fox interview with President Bill Clinton. He was asked why he didn’t do more to stop the 9/11 attacks. That opened up the flood gates with what he did and did not do. Next there was the Bob Woodward book “State of  Denial” exposing what National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice did and didn’t do according to interviews Woodward had for his book with the head of the C.I.A., George Tenet.

I went back to my video recordings of the 9/11 Commission hearings and  listened to Codoleezza Rice’s testimony. The repeated response was given by Codoleezza Rice that  every effort was being  pursued, and information from various intelligence agencies was being taken seriously. What is most troubling to me is -- why are all of these people being exposed now five years after 9/11 about what really happened.  Is anyone going to hold them accountable?

From a family member’s perspective we look at theses officials so cynically because of their actions. They show the incapacity to connect with the seriousness of our loss. What is on their minds is how they can protect their integrity, but it has just the opposite effect. 

If they want us to believe they ever had integrity they would stop telling stories about what they did or didn’t do. There is a record out there and their actions were documented. They can’t undo what happened on 9/11. Our loved ones are forever gone, a simple “I’m sorry I didn’t do the right things” would do the most for their reputations.

Barry Zelman
Brother of Kenneth Zelman, who was killed in the North Tower Sept. 11, 2001.

Foundation cracks

To The Editor:
Mayor Bloomberg has just been named the W.T.C. Memorial Foundation’s chairperson. This followed Governor Pataki being made a lifetime member of the foundation.

The conflicts of interest as well as the obvious political reasons behind these appointments just fly in the face of the “open and democratic process” that they have always claimed to be behind the memorial process.

I must have missed the memo that changed the process from a democracy to a monarchy.

We now have Mayor Bloomberg, who is 100 percent behind the random placement of names on the memorial, refuses to bring in JPAC to properly search for human remains at the site, has done nothing to resolve the remains issue at Fresh Kills. Now he is in charge of a memorial that is not being built on N.Y.C. property and is not required to be built to N.Y.C. building and fire codes.

All family members will certainly sleep much better tonight after this news.

Please send a letter and let them know that we will not be intimidated and are not impressed with the ongoing theatrics of the W.T.C. Foundation. They may begin to get more corporate donations (Someone should ask AmEx why the memorial needed Bloomberg as its chair to get its $10 million). More and more family members are getting so frustrated that they have told me they will never visit the memorial even if it is ever built.

In the end I guess that this is what the powers that be wanted all along.

This should not be about egos. It should not be about politics. It should only be about properly honoring all those who were killed that day. They just don’t get it and it appears they never will.

I leave this quote from Bruce Barton: “Conceit is God’s gift to little men.”
Dennis McKeon

Letters policy

Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.


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