downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 | Issue 28 | November 24 - 30, 2006

Letters to the editor

Southbridge risks

To The Editor:
The beleaguered middle class is again on the scaffold at Southbridge Towers. The long-awaited feasibility report has arrived, and it is no consolation for the young or the old.
We felt safe living in an affordable, comfortable home until the illusion of riches appeared. With longevity on the rise, there come ailments that soon use up resources meant for that time in our lives when they are most needed. The feasibility report does not even estimate how high monthly maintenance costs will rise after the buyout. This could be devastating for the elderly occupants here.
In a full page ad and on TV, Donald Trump, the master, offers his way to great wealth through real estate. By taking his course, maybe you won’t fumble, experiment, or speculate with your home.
Leaving Mitchell-Lama is a risky business, because you leave the protection of the state behind and that could be costly. The feasibility report couldn’t or wouldn’t estimate the extent to which taxes, mortgage payments and capital projects would increase our maintenance fees. Besides, if you sell your apartment, where will you find housing offering the affordability you now possess?
Geraldine Lipschutz and Larry Vide


West Thames Park

To The Editor:
Re “Residents fight dangerous change to highway crossing” (news article, Nov. 17 – 23):
It is appalling to learn that Downtown residents will be losing a sizeable portion of their lawn, playground and basketball fields to cater to tourists who at the most will be spending a few hours strolling down the west side “promenade” on their way to the next tourist spot in the city. For years residents of Battery Park City, the Financial District and Tribeca have been using these recreational areas on a daily basis, and to have these razed or reduced to accommodate visitors is unconscionable. Not only has the state Dept. of Transportation been totally cavalier in its approach to neighborhood amenities and concerns, it appears to have dissembled on key issues regarding actual loss of space and amenities.
Why is it necessary to spend millions on something that is not broken, and in fact, is perfectly lovely as is? The money would surely be better spent on other neighborhood causes. The Battery Park City Authority and other community organizations must band together to fight this ridiculous project. 
Deepa Teckchandani


To The Editor:
As a resident of Rector Place and mother of two children, I was upset to learn that the very rare piece of grass we have in our area has been threatened.   With many new buildings going up in the area, the demand for play space will grow, not lessen.  Where are our kids supposed to throw a ball and where can families spend time outdoors?  
This great plan reminds me of the plan many years ago to put up a skate and bike rental kiosk and public bathroom on Rector right at my doorstep!  At the community board meeting when those of us who live here pointed out that Rector is not a major intersection, the design representative admitted that he had only been to Battery Park City for the first time that day. 
The needs of the people who actually live in the area should be considered from time to time!
 Emily Wechsler

To The Editor:
If there’s one thing we need, it’s a widened state highway running down our gullets. Just ask the holdovers at Gov. Pataki’s Dept. of Transportation.
Those who have been following Albany’s horrible plan to expand the West Side Highway at the expense of the lawns, playgrounds, basketball courts, and community gardens of West Thames Park, will be shocked to learn that at a long-awaited meeting of Community Board 1, D.O.T. misstated a key dimension, while coolly announcing that community amenities, promised in writing, would be “deferred.” The truth, it seems, has also been deferred.
The lawn is of particular concern to Little League, and families in the area, as it has played host to two recent tee-ball seasons, and a generation of unstructured fun. But I guess the cars need it more.
It’s urban planning, Robert Moses-style. And it’s coming soon, to a neighborhood near you.
Mark Costello
Downtown Little League president


W.T.C. bedrock

To The Editor: 
Re “W.T.C. remnants” (Letter by Anthony Gardner, Nov. 17 – 23):
 If we were to preserve bedrock, and that seems pretty moot now, the only proper way to preserve that genuine “connection” that many families feel when they stand on bedrock is to allow them, first, to stand on bedrock and second, to see the sky above and the air and light and world around them, “bedrock to infinity,” which is what the families who want to preserve bedrock want.
This is not what Anthony Gardner of the Coalition of Families, representing himself, has petitioned for. Oblivious to the families’ wishes, he wants nobody standing on bedrock, family member or otherwise, and he wants it sealed off from the elements; that is he wants a roof over it. I have been in meetings with Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and W.T.C. Memorial Foundation officials where he has petitioned for the apertures to the sky in “Reflecting Absence” to be sealed off to protect the bedrock from the weather and some “plastic covering” placed over it to preserve it from foot traffic.
This isn’t historic nor sacred; it’s bonkers.  
Michael Burke
Brother of F.D.N.Y. Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., Eng. 21, killed Sept. 11, 2001.

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