Volume 19 Issue 45 | March 23 - 29, 2007

Letters to the editor

From park to Park Row

To The Editor:
Re “Northern divide” (Letter to The Editor, March 9 - 15):

We hope that our recent successful agreement with City Hall to reopen our park’s gates heartens and energizes other civic-minded groups in our neighborhood, including on Park Row.The planners of the 21st century Lower Manhattan must listen to the residents who are already here. Sometimes we have to raise our voices (and the rightful lawsuit) so they hear the depth of our concerns (and they do the right thing).

Skip Blumberg
President of Friends of City Hall Park

Codrescu note of praise

To The Editor:
Re “Anne Frank can’t be saved now” (The Penny Post by Andrei Codrescu, March 16 – 22):

I read your piece about guilt, shame, honor and morality regarding the manipulation of Anne Frank as an icon and human being.  I have, for quite a while, admired and enjoyed (and that’s important!) your writing, in the so-called “free” press, as well as through bookstore purchased materials.

Your essay truly touched a nerve.  Not only are you an expressive, creative stylist, but to my very warped and jaded brain cells, you are actually “saying something,” unlike many of your contemporaries who survive and prosper solely on their style and “innovative” mechanics and technique.  You sir, truly meld the surface with the “meat and potatoes” of an underlying concept.  And you manage to accomplish this by allowing me, the reader, to rethink and reevaluate issues, from a truly unique point of view.

Eric Frier

Related needed at Pier 40

To The Editor:
Re “Don’t pimp out Pier 40, advocates tell Related” (news article. March 2 – 8):

Board members of biz kids n.y., inc., just had a most informative meeting with The Related Companies. Since it was reported that Hudson River Park Trust had issued a request for proposals for the redevelopment of Pier 40, we’ve been searching the news for any information about Pier 40, and after reading an article about Related’s bid, I set up the appointment. The Trust had asked that all pier tenants operating on a monthly permit fill out a form requesting that bidders on the pier’s development take notice of our presence.

Related’s proposal includes dressing rooms and laundry facilities for the sports teams! Playing fields will be regulation size and separated by approximately 25 feet of space, allowing for safer games. These areas will be enclosed to protect us from those flying soccer balls that hit so many of us in the head. Parking, the pier’s main revenue generator, will be increased, and traffic flow onto the pier regulated. There will be a farmers market, a pedestrian walkway over the West Side Highway and improved lighting under the St. John’s Building.

But the most important issue would be Related’s investment in the structural integrity of the pier shed, pier and piles. The Trust will not fund any continuing maintenance of the structural integrity of Pier 40. We tenants occupy the space in a quickly deteriorating, “as is” condition. We have no potable water on the south side. There are leaks and cracks and rebar rusting all over our pier. We have buckets in the ceiling, and the cooling and ventilation systems creak away only thanks to the help of our steadfast engineer, who must feel like the Dutch boy with his finger in the dike.

Biz kids n.y., inc., has been on Pier 40 since January 2001. From my experience on the pier and from my research into our possible future, the bid by Related Companies stands out as fiscally responsible, innovative, inclusive and an opportunity for all of us to have sports, the arts and education in one beautiful, well-maintained environment. The Tribeca Film Festival could stay in New York and the world-class Cirque du Soliel could become part of our neighborhood.

I live across the street in the West Village Apartments, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to see a farmers market in the plan. I’m sure the parents of my students will be happy to be able to have a meal at a restaurant while their children are in class.

We will all have to make adjustments and concessions in any development process, but gentrification in such a community-friendly manner may be the best deterrent to the undesirable elements we currently contend with — and it sure beats the prison barge!

Peggy Lewis
Founder and director, biz kids n.y., inc

Trump partner: We’ll watch our language

To The Editor:
Recently, questions have been raised regarding the transient nature of The Trump Soho Hotel. We are submitting this letter with the hopes of ending any misconceptions. The Trump Soho Hotel Condominium is a hotel. Its concept, design and future operations all reflect transient usage by owners and guests, and will be consistent with other luxury Manhattan hotels. The major difference between Trump Soho and those other hotels is that units will be owned by individuals rather than a corporation, a form of ownership common throughout the United States.

During all aspects of the development process, we have taken measures to ensure public awareness of the limitations on long-term occupancy:

• Trump Soho’s Web site and advertisement material include disclosures stating Trump Soho is for transient occupancy only and not for residential use;

• Trump Soho attorneys issued “cease and desist” letters to those who issued or posted online erroneous information about Trump Soho;

• Protocols have been established for educating and monitoring sales and marketing teams’ written and spoken characterization of Trump Soho; and

• We have requested that individuals report unauthorized advertising or promotional activities, and have provided an e-mail address to send such reports.

While such efforts have been made, certain instances have been brought to our attention in which the use of certain language could have potentially led readers to misconstrue the transient nature of the project. In each instance we have worked to rectify those situations.

Our hotel will comply with all applicable provisions of the New York City Zoning Resolution. We have agreed with the city to restrict individual usage of units, and to require that while not occupied by its owner such units will be made available for non-owner transient use.

We at Trump Soho are looking forward to being a responsible neighbor, and look forward to enhancing the community’s economy by providing approximately 600 construction jobs and approximately 600 permanent jobs.

We hope this clarifies any uncertainty about Trump Soho.

Julius R. Schwarz
Bayrock/Sapir Organization, L.L.C.

Cop makes 311 work

To The Editor:
Re “Chinatown’s commander tells cops: My way or the tow away” (news article, March 16 – 22):

Josh Rogers and Downtown Express are to be commended, as is Dep. Inspector Gin Yee for bringing to light the topic of unmitigated illegal parking in Chinatown since 9/11. Dep. Inspector Yee, a proponent of the community, did just what cops are supposed to do — enforce the law, especially on their own turf. I live in Chinatown and I know for a fact that before Mike Lau and Gin Yee, previous commanders at the Fifth Precinct turned a blind eye to illegal placard parking for all of these years since 9/11.

Chinatown, and the area immediately surrounding One Police Plaza, is in a Dept. of Transportation “No Permit Zone” — placards are not valid here. Based on the N.Y.P.D.’s own figures from their Draft Environmental Impact Statement, well over a million parking violations have been committed by the N.Y.P.D. and government employees illegally using placards in the small area surrounding One Police Plaza since 9/11 alone.

I have been calling in numerous complaints to Mayor Bloomberg’s 311 line since spring 2005, all about illegal placard parking, and all of my 311 calls were virtually ignored or not responded to. Non-emergency 311 calls are routed to the local police precinct.  The greater value of Bloomberg 311 calls lies in the fact that each call documents a problem. Apparently, all was not lost, as there was enough 311 documentation to give community-defender precinct commanders Mike Lau and Gin Yee enough leverage to act, and eventually, to tow. 

On his watch last year, Dep. Inspector Lau gave warning with flyers, started issuing summonses, and then towed illegally parked cars with placards in Chinatown. This action was unprecedented – N.Y.P.D. towing N.Y.P.D., illegally-parked civilian cars. That was a breath of fresh air for a community choked by illegal placard parking. This worked for the court officers, whose placards were issued by their union (non-valid), but the N.Y.P.D. civilian cars with placards continued to creep back in.

Reduction of the current number of parking placards and enforcement of existing laws, are at least partial solutions to illegal placard parking in N.Y.C

Geoff Lee

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