downtownexpress.com
Volume 20 Issue 21 | October 5 - 11 2007

Letters to the Editor

Grief misunderstanding

To The Editor:
I just read the response from a family member regarding your editorial (Editorial, Sept. 14 – 20, “A date that changes with time” and letter by Alyson Low, Sept. 21 – 27, “Grieving on Sept 11”). As a survivor of 9/11, I agree with her response completely.  It has taken me six years to even begin to feel what I couldn’t that day so I could survive. I’ve lived with survivor guilt for all this time and it doesn’t help with my healing reading editorials like yours. This isn’t a usual grieving process for the families, survivors or rescue workers. So, to say this, is just counter-productive. Our healing is really only just starting for many of us, but I really believe that if folks would just let us feel what we need to feel, it might not be so difficult. Thanks for listening to my side.

Joyce Daino

Siren warning

To The Editor:
Am I the only person who is upset by an epidemic of unnecessary police sirens on West St.? I exclude ambulance and fire trucks — my concerns are what have become incessant four-wheeled blue and white boom boxes.

I live on the west side of West St. facing the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel entrance/exit and over the last few months this racket has become a certifiable public nuisance. Sirens are being used as car horns. I am often gone for a few hours a day, but I’d guess there are at least 30-40 incidents per day, often at night, for no visible law-enforcement purpose. One can only be reminded of ubiquitous broken cheap wailing car alarms during the ’70s and ’80s. A cynic might suggest that this illustrates the give-a-boy-a-screwdriver-and-he-will- unscrew-everything-he-finds principle. Perhaps the new high-tech variable sound system makes them irresistible.

Out of exasperation I’ve taken to observing what instigates this din, and I seldom see any emergency. Instead I witness wailing police cars escorting black SUVs, cutting across traffic lanes and the median, just navigating congestion, and engaging in what I am told is “Operation Hercules,” conspicuous resource consumption, scripted parades of squad-car lights and sirens ablaze whose ostensible purpose is to intimate terrorists.

Over and above needlessly annoying hundreds of residents, there are more serious consequences of this quick-trigger-on-the-noise-maker-button. Obviously this racket will make Battery Park a less desirable place to live. There is also the crying wolf problem. I occasionally drive on West St. and I now almost instinctively ignore police sirens. I’ve just heard too many, for no apparent reason, to properly react. Our mayor has recently endorsed the need for quiet and there is the broken window theory of urban life, but here we can add gratuitous police generated blare to the litany of offenses.

Surely this can be altered by just telling police to ease up. The sometimes ceaseless honking of cars can also be reduced simply by enforcing existing anti-horn use laws. There are other area noise-related issues, notably loud dreadful (and sometimes vulgar) concerts in Battery Park, but these annoyances can be saved for another letter.
Robert Weissberg


No Trump bid

To The Editor:
Thank you for the Sept. 28 editorial “Handcuffs restrict, but declaration won’t,” which states so clearly what is obvious to so many of us — the “restrictive declaration” between Trump and the city for his 45-story “condo-hotel” is a sham. It is unenforceable, inconsistent, and just plain wrong.

Instead of correcting this problem, the city is adding insult to injury by now vowing to go to court and use taxpayer dollars to defend Trump’s project and the the city’s agreement with him and his developer partners. The city claimed it would amend the rules after Trump’s project is done to prevent further abuses, and indicated it was willing to rezone this area to prevent more similarly scaled buildings. In fact, there has been no substantial movement on either front, in spite of repeated requests by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and many other community groups. Meanwhile, more and more woefully out-of-scale developments are going up in Hudson Square without any action from the city.

By permitting Trump’s project to move forward without the appropriate public review and approval, the city is giving this developer special treatment, denying the public its say in this project, and preventing concerns about the size, height and impact of the development from being addressed. Worse, the city is, in effect, reinterpreting our zoning laws to allow any similar “condo-hotel” high-rises in neighborhoods with similar zoning where they were previously understood to be forbidden — including the Meatpacking District and parts of the West Village, Noho, Soho, Tribeca, Flatiron District and West Chelsea, among other areas.

Literally dozens of civic and business groups from across the city have come out against this project. And yet the city has stubbornly refused to change its position, leaving legal action as the only option for stopping this precedent-setting project — an action currently being pursued by our partners at the Soho Alliance.
 Andrew Berman
Executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation


Thanks Chinatown

To The Editor:
Re “Community board puts Chinatown on the menu” (news article, Sept. 14 - 20):

Thank you for the excellent coverage of Community Board 2’s first-ever Chinatown Committee meeting.

Brad Hoylman, the board’s recently elected chairperson, conceived of the idea for the committee in the hope of bridging a longstanding disconnect between C.B. 2 and Chinatown. (The portion of Chinatown west of Bowery and north of Canal St. is part of C.B. 2.)

Thus far, the response to our committee has far exceeded any of our expectations. More than a dozen organizations in Chinatown were represented at our first meeting including the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, whose president Eric Ng, the unofficial mayor of Chinatown, generously stayed to the end of the proceedings. We also heard from several community leaders from Little Italy, who share many of the same concerns given the blurred boundary line between the two neighborhoods. We are grateful to all who attended for their insights and recommendations.

Much of the discussion centered on the impact of development and gentrification in Chinatown and its potential to change the historic role the community has played as a first stop for recent immigrants. From a lack of “truly affordable” housing to traffic congestion and pollution along Canal St., to the proliferation of bars and restaurants as indicated by a recent Observer headline calling Chinatown “Clubland East,” the issues are undeniably vast and often seem intractable.

The committee was formed to ensure Chinatown’s interests would be heard across the board, so to speak. In addition, we are also looking into ways of working with Community Boards 1 and 3, which also represent segments of Chinatown. Thankfully, we have already received tremendous support from our electeds, most especially Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Councilman Alan Gerson, whose district encompasses Chinatown.

We greatly appreciate the support our committee has received from the community and look forward to working with it in the coming days.
James Solomon and Ed Ma
Chairperson and vice chairperson, respectively, of Community Board 2’s Chinatown Committee


Memory lane

To The Editor:
Re “Preserving Chinatown’s doo-wop era” (news article, Sept. 21 – 27):

Lonnie’s Coffee Shoppe was THE hangout place for my generation when we were teenagers back in the 1950s and holds many fond memories. I am an ex-pat of N.Y.C. Chinatown and a retired person residing in Honolulu. I’m sure visitors to my Web site, Memories of Chinatown (http://aditl.com/chinatown/index.html), will also appreciate the article. Thank you for permission to post it.
Jim Yuen


Cheer up, Southbridge

To The Editor:
Re “Southbridge risks” (Letters, Sept. 28 – Oct. 4):

Here’s another point of view from Southbridge.

As a resident, I am looking forward to Southbridge Towers becoming a private co-op. Chatham Green converted a number of years ago. Their huge building went from sad to beautiful. Southbridge is presently sad looking. We, too, can look beautiful when we become private. The monthly maintenance went up slightly at Chatham Green. Residents at Southbridge don’t take care of their halls, laundry rooms and elevators; when we go private that will change.       As a single person, I am not allowed to have a one-bedroom apartment; when we are private, I will have that option.

People fear the Black Book study. I wonder why.
Phylis Salom





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