Volume 20 Issue 22 | October 12 - 18 2007

Letters to the Editor

Pier 40 plans

To The Editor:
Re “Millionaire’s move to save Pier 40” (news article, Oct. 5 - 11):

Pier 40, the ongoing saga.

There is a very important point that a lot of the folks whose kids play soccer and football, etc. are not aware of. The pilings are certainly one problem. However, there are other major problems.

The main — supplying all the water from the street to the south side of the pier — is completely rusted out. Besides having no potable water and very rusty toilets, we have buckets in our ceiling that have to be emptied every two weeks. The pipe is wrapped in plastic and, according to the workers, the pipe looks like “Swiss cheese”! Replacing a main to the street water supply is a long and likely costly repair.

All over our building, there are spalling points — which allows water to leak in anytime it rains. There are cracks from the ramp leading to the car park on the top of the building. We have had concrete dropping from the ceilings — into nets, which I, myself, had to install.

These are problems that those parents and groups who frequent the fields are probably not aware of, and since none of us has been privy to the “engineer’s report,” we do not know all the problems that are realistically facing us.

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

To The Editor:
In your informative article on the new Pier 40 Partnership, Rich Caccapollo is quoted as mentioning a “maritime museum” as a possible feature of the Partnership’s vision for the future Pier 40 (news article, Oct. 5 – 11, “Millionaire’s move to save Pier 40”). Where did he ever get such an idea?

At the September meeting of the Waterfront Committee of Community Board 2, the Partnership, represented by Fred Wilson and Bruce Goldfarb, made a presentation.  Representing the Greenwich Village Community Task Force, I decided this was a good time to talk about an idea I had been thinking about since the P.S. 42 event in the spring.  So I suggested to the committee members and the Partnership reps that a maritime museum on the pier would be invaluable.  After all, the heritage of the Hudson Riverfront, especially the Far West Village sector, will have completely disappeared in a short time, except for the one-block-long Weehawken Historic District and the three protected waterfront hotels.

This would not be another South Street Seaport, but a much more modest affair, consisting primarily of a gallery of historic photographs of the piers and the waterfront enterprises associated with them.

In addition to the support of Katy Bordonaro and Zack Winestine, co-chairpersons of the Task Force, and Carol Feinman of the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront, I have received an endorsement in a personal message from Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

So the word is out there.  I’m glad it reached Rich Caccappolo.
Albert S. Bennett
Landmarks chairperson of the Greenwich Village Community Task Force

Crossing Delancey

To The Editor:
Re “Neighbors sue city over Houston St. safety” (news article, Oct. 5 – 11):

I want to bring to the attention of City Councilmember Alan Gerson that Delancey St. also needs some drastic traffic light changes.  It is also impossible to cross Delancey St. without ending up on the cement divider to wait for the next light.  Another accident waiting to happen is at the traffic light on Pearl St. and Peck Slip.  I challenge anyone to cross that street without the “don’t walk” sign appearing while midway across the street.  Thank you Councilmember Gerson, for all of your hard work and interest in our community.

Karen Pearl

Mitchell-Lama is the risk

To The Editor:
The letter published in the Sept. 28 Downtown Express titled “Southbridge risks” is erroneous on both the details and the big picture, and the recent New York State Inspector General’s report describing a scandalous state of affairs at the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the agency that is supposed to regulate our co-op, only provides more reason for us to vote for independence. A revamped D.H.C.R. may enforce numerous rules that we’ve come to expect them to ignore, including the one regarding “under-occupied” apartments that the city began enforcing in the 1990s, and then backed away from.

The historical perspective provided in the letter is incomplete, and fails to mention that it was the very intent of the Mitchell-Lama program that we’d go independent after 20 or more years, because this ownership of our co-op, which we all invested in, represents true middle-income empowerment.

As to the supposed financial risks that opponents of this plan have been hyping to no end (dare I say fear mongering?), we have already explained why they’re wrong, but for anyone who still has questions, why not just ask people from other Downtown co-ops who have already converted? We’d hardly be the first to reconstitute as an independent co-op, so we’ve invited people from other co-ops to answer questions on Thurs., Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in our Southbridge community room.

Most importantly, we urge all shareholders to vote “Yes” in our referendum on Oct. 22 and 23 to move forward with the preparation of a detailed conversion plan, the “Black Book” — this is precisely the path that the Mitchell-Lama law envisioned for our middle-class development.

Jared Brown
Southbridge Towers board member and president of Southbridge Rights

Chinatown’s underbelly

To The Editor:
While it is gratifying that great efforts have gone into regularly cleaning the tourist area of Chinatown, I am saddened that the really genuine part of Chinatown remains sorely neglected.  The large, amazing Chinatown east of the Bowery is plagued by dirty streets and sometimes, horrific smells. This area really needs steady, consistent cleaning.

Is this something that could be considered by the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation as a future project deserving of funding?

Rima Finzi-Strauss

Story sizzled

To The Editor:
Having spent many of my best hours at Lonnie’s, I want to express my gratitude for your article about Lonnie’s, the “hamburger hangout” in Chinatown (news article, Sept. 21 – 27, “Preserving Chinatown’s doo-wop era”).Both my wife and I have many fond memories of this place, and although I’ve never had a passion for “cherry lime ricky,” their hamburgers were the best!

Michael Eng

Don’t close churches

To The Editor:
It really is a shameful truth that the various Roman Catholic dioceses have to sell property to settle sexual-abuse lawsuits. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has admitted that, in order to satisfy a $660 million debt, one of the properties going was the Sisters of Bethany Convent in Santa Barbara. The good nuns there understand their situation. There are no such admissions in the dictatorial Archdiocese of New York, chaired by the C.E.O. Edward Cardinal Egan. And I say “C.E.O.” because he does not act priestly. If a priest had done what this cardinal has done and said, the priest would have to answer to a superior. Not so with the cardinal. There is no oversight committee. And if there was, he would ignore it as he has ignored the trustees of the now-closed and ransacked Our Lady of Vilnius Church in Soho.

Here is what not to do to the people of the Holy Roman Catholic Church that I love:

Don’t ignore any parishioners of any church that is slated for closure. Talk to them in person before any actions are taken — like having six ladies arrested in Our Lady Queen of Angels in Harlem and, after their arrest, ignoring them again.

Don’t be a sneak and invite a really good priest, Reverend Dr. Eugene Sawicki, to a meeting and simultaneously seize, lock down his church, the property of the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of Lithuania.

Don’t ignore a signed agreement between the U.S.A. and Lithuania to preserve their heritage.

Don’t have the then-Chancellor Reverend Monsignor Thomas E. Gilleece apologize for hanging up on Our Lady of Vilnius Church secretary Joy McAleer in the middle of their conversation and then ignore her immediate, follow-up phone call to him.

Don’t make statements to the print media that the protests of the faithful from Our Lady Queen of Angels are not important and should not be covered.

This is the behavior of a shepherd of the Church. This is his legacy, his example. This is what others in his corporate headquarters on Madison Ave. are following

Good Pope John XXlll said he wanted to open the windows of the Church to let in some fresh air. We need this now in the Archdiocese of New York. But the best breeze felt will be that of Edward Cardinal Egan’s plane leaving New York when he retires. I can’t wait.

Joseph Pantuliano
Former trustee, Our Lady of Vilnius Church

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