Volume 19 Issue 49 | April 20 - 26, 2007

Letters to the editor

Preserve true artifacts

To The Editor:
Your editorial, “Saving stairway would preserve falsehood” gets to the heart of any memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site (April 6 – 12): “Imagine if millions of visitors to the new W.T.C. saw a stairway that thousands used to escape the W.T.C. minutes before falling debris pounded the stairs — it would undoubtedly be a moving, powerful sight. But it wouldn’t be true.”

Here you endorse two very simple notions that should be obvious but have been discarded by those in charge of the site: the power and value of the genuine W.T.C. artifacts and remnants and the truth.

One is dependent upon the other. We might not return the facade or the Sphere to the site where they stood for 30 years and where they were found on 9/11, after the dust cleared. We might discard all evidence of the attacks so as to instead remake the site solely into a place of mourning and healing. We might replace that facade with trees chosen and arranged so as to “look like the facade.”  We might put all history and artifacts of 9/11 in a place they never were, underground at bedrock.

 But it wouldn’t be the truth.

 In Dec. ‘03, Imagine New York conducted a public and online forum on the jury’s final eight W.T.C. memorial design choices; 2,800 participated and there were over 15,000 comments. “Time and again participants stated,” Imagine N.Y. reported, “the designs are ‘too architectural’ and could be anywhere or about anything.” And “the relics possessed an inherent storytelling quality that could never be duplicated by abstract symbolism” and “future generations will take one look at that steel and know what happened here.” 

The facade and the Sphere, returned to where they stood on 9/11 would, for millions, “undoubtedly be a moving and powerful sight.” Because they tell the truth.
Michael Burke
Brother of F.D.N.Y. Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., Eng. Co. 21, who was killed Sept. 11, 2001.

Field has no pier

To The Editor:
Re “The pier’s a park, not a parkway” (Talking Point, April 13 – 19):

Lower Manhattan families should enthusiastically support The People’s Pier proposal for Pier 40 and oppose the one for Cirque du Soleil.  The Downtown Little League and the Downtown Soccer League get some much-needed time at the Pier 40 fields, and many neighborhood kids participate in the various camps and clinics that are run there, as well as use it during the open time that happens during the winter.

Pier 40 is especially important to the leagues because the Battery Park City ballfields are only available half the year, they will be reduced in size to accommodate residential building construction, and no new active recreation space is currently planned for anywhere in Lower Manhattan.

It is almost funny that the city does something right (converting Pier 40 into artificial turf ballfields), and then feels compelled to “fix it.”  But, the decision-making process by city and state agencies should not be a surprise to us.  The B.P.C. ballfields have trees in the outfield, but none where parents can actually use the shade, and the backstops there are a lawsuit waiting to happen. You can look at the sleight-of-hand at Pier 25 and Pier 26 as further examples.  Or the proposed garbage facility at the large lot on West St. and Spring St. (another wasted opportunity for active recreation space and/or a school site, in my opinion).  Or the tortured “passive recreation” plans for the East River/South Street Seaport area that nobody will use.     

In short, we desperately need Pier 40 to continue providing the Downtown communities with valuable active recreation space.  Living here is already a circus, we don’t need one full-time at the pier.    
JC Chmiel

Don’t play with the law

To The Editor:
Re  “Vendors say police get picture wrong” (March 30 - April 5):

As president of one of the largest co-ops in Soho and a long-time resident of the neighborhood,  I was deeply disturbed by the quote from Lieut. Konstantinidis who said that enforcing the rules against illegal vendors in Soho is “only a game.”  If a police officer like Konstantinidis believes enforcing the law is a problem then he should clearly be removed from his position. 

Although I do believe that some of the vendors are constitutionally protected, almost anyone who has walked around the neighborhood knows that probably 90 percent of the vending on Prince St., Spring St. and Broadway isn’t protected.  On the corner of Wooster and Spring Sts. near my apartment there are probably 8 to 10 illegal vendors every weekend selling things like knock-off jeans and cheap earrings.  None of these vendors are constitutionally protected.  All it would take to stop almost all of this vending is for the police to actually get out of their cars for five minutes when they drive down Spring, Prince and Broadway. 

Finally, as far as the vendors who call themselves “artists,” I think the city should be encouraged to see if any of these vendors are actually paying taxes to the city for their sales on weekends.  I have never seen any of the “artists” produce receipts for their sales and I would be very curious to see if they are reporting their sales to both the state and city. 

Tim Clark 

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.

Downtown Express is published by Community Media LLC. 145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 229-1890 | Fax: (212) 229-2790 | Advertising: 646-452-2465 | © 2007 Community Media, LLC

Written permission of the publisher must be obtainedbefore any of the contents of this newspaper, in whole or in part, can be reproduced or redistributed.