Volume 16 • Issue 16 | September 16 - 22, 2003


Cleanup Chinatown

To The Editor:
Re: “Chinatown Problems” (letters, Sept. 2 –8, 2003):
Letter writer Sidney Lau hit the nail on the head. It is not 9/11, the SARS scare, or the blackout that are responsible for a decline in tourism, but rather it is Chinatown’s dirty, foul-smelling streets that have made it inhospitable for tourists and residents alike. This is not a new problem.

In 1994, the Center for Applied Studies of the Environment of the City University of New York was asked to prepare an Environmental Assessment of Chinatown for Councilmember Kathryn Freed’s office and a consortium of business entities concerned about the health of Chinatown’s residents and its economy. The CUNY study found “some considerable environmental, sanitation, and health problems in Chinatown…largely caused by certain sectors of the small business community (namely, street vendors and stoopline stand owners which sell fish, meats, and produce).” The study noted that many of these businesses “ignore the ‘rules’ ” and that there vas “inadequate interest, or enforcement” on the part of city and state agencies.

Specific concerns included “foul smell/water on sidewalks and streets in the vicinity of shops/vendors selling fish,” “trash/produce left behind as litter…by untidy peddlers or shop owners,” “large piles of garbage… which remain long enough to create considerable odor and provide the environment for the growth of disease-carrying microorganisms,” “rats,” “sidewalk congestion/difficulty for pedestrians to pass due to peddlers, garbage, etc.,” “clogging and deterioration of storm drains,” as well as “traffic congestion and air pollution…high traffic volume, which enhance lung-related diseases.”
In the intervening years these conditions have persisted due primarily to the lack of effective enforcement of the law. If city and state officials really care about Chinatown, and wish to see tourism flourish, they should stop coddling chronic offenders.
Cathy Glasson

The poop on pets

To The Editor:
I enjoy seeing new faces in the Financial District. New professionals are moving into apartments all along John St.

I hope they realize that the people rushing by their apartment buildings are going to work, making a living. So, walking your pets, please remember some etiquette. Clean up and also let the people walk by on the narrow sidewalks.

There is room for everyone if we all cooperate.
Esther Cohen


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