Volume 19 Issue 43 | March 9 - 15, 2007

Letters to the editor

Northern divide

To The Editor:
Re “City Hall Park’s north section will reopen” (news article, Feb. 16 – 22):

What about us, Mayor Bloomberg? The Friends of City Hall Park protest and threaten to sue for the reopening of the northern end of City Hall Park (closed since 9/11) and they get action.  I guess the residents of the southern part of Park Row have more influence on the mayor than the residents of northern Park Row.  We are approaching 2,000 days since the takeover of Park Row by the N.Y.P.D. and still nothing has changed.  I guess if we lived near Park and Madison Aves. rather than Park Row and Madison St. the mayor would hear us.
Richard Scorce

Dangerous pier plan

To The Editor:
The Related Companies’ proposal for developing Pier 40 (“Don’t pimp out Pier 40, advocates tell Related,” March 1 - 8) will spell disaster for thousands of Downtown families that now count on the adjacent Hudson River greenway as a safe haven for cycling and skating.

Most of the fannies to fill the Related Companies’ planned twin 1,800-seat theaters, dozen film screens (another 2,000 seats), 3,500-seat banquet hall, five two-level restaurants, marina and beach club likely will arrive at Pier 40 by car.

This will mean thousands of cars, SUV’s and vans driving across the greenway daily at Houston and Clarkson Sts., straight into the paths of skaters, cyclists and walkers — who already have their hands full safely contending with each other.

Your reporting, comprehensive as always, mentions a pledge by the developers to add curbs and larger traffic lights at both crossings “to make it clear to cyclists and pedestrians that these are ‘real intersections.’” Yet even now, as many as a dozen cyclists and others pass these intersections in each direction during a 34-second period (the duration of the red-light interval). Anyone expecting 10 or more greenway users to docilely bunch up at a red light clearly has never cycled or skated there.

Not to worry. The Related Companies promise to widen the greenway crossing at Clarkson St. to five lanes and the Houston St. crossing to four. This way, they can name one lane after Henry Nacht and another after Eric Ng, cyclists whom drivers struck and killed on the greenway in the past year, and still have seven lanes left for new victims.

Charles Komanoff

2 views of 2-wheelers

To The Editor:
As a former bike shop owner, I am pro bike. As a cyclist, I am pro bike. But as a pedestrian who was recently hit by a cyclist going against traffic on Second Ave., I am bike wary.

 As a cyclist I have been “downed” twice by vehicles. Bike riding may be healthy but it is no stroll in the park — well maybe in some parks it is. However, the jeopardy that scofflaw cyclists consistently impose on pedestrians, motorists and fellow cyclists alike is akin to home grown terrorism.

 Cyclists in a hurry and cyclists with attitude have created fear, anger and resentment among pedestrians of all ages — especially the elderly. Business owners must be held accountable and financially liable for the inconsiderate and lawless actions of delivery personnel. State Senator Liz Kruger is sponsoring legislation in Albany to strengthen this law.

Most bikes belong in the street. Legally they are vehicles. As support builds, the city is gradually improving conditions for cyclists. As bike riders return to the streets and comply with the rules of the road general, tension should lessen. Transportation Alternatives is circulating a petition calling for enforcement toward the restoration of safe sidewalks and streets. This is proving to be an effective way to address this issue.

Jack Brown  

Remembering Larry

To The Editor:
I liked the human-interest story Brooke Edwards did on how some Tribecans are mourning the death of Larry the homeless guy who lived here (news article, Feb. 23 – March 1, “Tribecans mourn the homeless man they called Larry”).  I myself used to offer him money, food and blankets to keep him warm.  I remember a few years back on a cold winter night we tried to convince him to go to the shelter or at least come in our house and warm himself up but he refused.  That night we were up all night worried that he would freeze to death.  We called the city agency that responds to calls to help the homeless but when they came down he refused to be taken to a shelter. Although he seemingly had mental problems he had a nice smile, spirit and energy about him and we miss him dearly.

Shaune Velazquez

Anna Nicole & Andrei

To The Editor:
Re “Anna Nicole: An appreciation ” (The Penny Post, Feb. 16 - 22):

I was thrilled to read the article on Anna Nicole by Andrei Codrescu. Finally, someone not afraid to express feelings for someone the media has made a mockery of. She never claimed to be anything more than she was. To die at such a young age, with so much sorrow behind her is truly a shame. She might not have made wise choices in her public persona, but who are we to judge? She was a beautiful woman and I felt a sadness that even amazed me. I was glad to read at least one positive article regarding her.

So I salute you Andrei for taking a stand that I also felt and for letting the public know. Hopefully, her daughter will one day see your article and realize people did smile hearing her name. She was really something. Thank you. I can’t wait to read about Britney.

Fran Miller

To The Editor:
Re “Anna Nicole: An appreciation ” (The Penny Post, Feb. 16 - 22):

I’m from Wildwood, Mo., and I would like to let Andrei Codrescu know that was a really good article in the paper. At least someone gives her a little bit of decency. I have followed her career as much as I could. I didn’t agree with a lot of it, but I’m sure if she hadn’t been influenced by other things, she would have done great things in her life. I really believe that.

I know deep down she was a wonderful human being. But people took advantage of her at her weakest point. I’m sure it’s hard when you don’t know who to trust. Thanks, you did a wonderful job.

And, yes, she is very interesting because it could be anyone’s daughter or grandaughter that just wanted to make it in California.

Lisa Schilb

Golden look at V.I.D.

To The Editor:
The Village Independent Democrats is currently trying to reach former members and supporters in preparation for our 50th anniversary celebration to be held on the evening of May 10.  Ed Gold’s memoir (Downtown Notebook, Feb. 23 – March 1, “The club that toppled Tammany turns 50”) was a wonderful spur to our efforts.

His remarks remind us that today’s battles may seem new, but they have been fought before, and that disagreement and discord are happily inherent in the democratic process.  We are looking forward to our get-together and thank you for the entertaining piece of political history.

Kathy Jacobson
Archives Committee of V.I.D.

Lunar thanks

To The Editor:
Re “Bilingual students strut and hip-hop into 4705” (youth article, Feb. 23 – March 1):

On behalf of the Shuang Wen School, I wanted to thank you very much for the wonderful article about our school. We were so thrilled and so proud to be one of your stories.

Thank you so much!
Posie Wilkinson
Parent coordinator, Shuang Wen School

Note on the note

To The Editor:
As chair and co-chair of the Tribeca committee of Community Board 1, we must strongly disagree with the Downtown Express assertion: “Ameruso did imply support for the [State Liquor Authority] position” at the Feb. 1 meeting of that committee (Editor’s note, March 2 – 8). While explaining the S.L.A. position on the subject of no votes on any application with stipulations, Marc Ameruso made it crystal clear he was not in favor of such a suggestion and was simply reporting the S.L.A. position to the Tribeca committee.

Carole DeSaram and Andy Neale
Tribeca Committee chairperson and co-chairperson, respectively

Editor’s Note: After receiving Marc Ameruso’s letter (March 2 - 8), he confirmed that at Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee meeting Feb. 1, he said “it’s been very confusing to the S.L.A. particularly the approval with stipulations,” suggesting sympathy with the State Liquor Authority’s situation trying to understand community board resolutions on liquor licenses that have stipulations. Ameruso acknowledged that was a fair interpretation of his quote. Andy Neale told us it was clear that Ameruso opposed the S.L.A. recommendation on board resolutions, but he also said that he spoke to Ameruso before the meeting and heard Ameruso voice opposition at a subsequent meeting. Neale said that several weeks later, he was not sure how clear Ameruso’s opposition was at the committee meeting. Downtown Express spoke to two other meeting attendees, one of whom took notes. Both said they had absolutely no recollection of Ameruso expressing opposition and were somewhat skeptical that he had.
Affordable housing

To The Editor:
Saving Starrett City is a good beginning and is encouraging. The frightening word “recession,” now being uttered by some economists, can topple our nation’s economy – affecting rich, poor and middle income.

That cautionary bell warns us to save the gains which the middle income people have made in housing. The Mitchell-Lama program that has helped many to live in affordable comfort is constantly being attacked by the “get-rich-quick” minority.

The possibility of recession is the alarm warning us to save what we have worked for so long – affordability in housing. All of us should phone, write or email our elected officials telling them to put their backbone behind this important cause, as they have now done for Starrett City.

Geraldine Lipschutz

Drop in the river

To The Editor:
Re “Backup – Verrazano’s toll change gets worse with time” (editorial, Jan. 12 - 18):

While Village activists and elected officials take great pleasure in blaming Staten Islanders for their traffic woes, if they are really looking for a villain they should grab a mirror. While three-quarters of Village residents don’t own cars, the quarter that do are the most powerful politically, dominating the community board and influencing timid elected officials.

Just do the math! Leaving Long Island — which of course includes Brooklyn and Queens — motorists can bypass Manhattan or drive through it. If they chose to bypass Manhattan they must pay tolls on the Triborough, Whitestone or Throgs Neck Bridges or the Verrazano Bridge. Otherwise, they can use the free East River bridges and plow right on through.

While the Verrazano Bridge has a one-way toll, making its impact more pronounced, it is the four, free East River bridges that draw the excessive traffic to our community. Until our civic leaders have the stomach to face this reality and demand East River bridge tolls, we can expect an endless game of blame the other guy.

George Haikalis

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