Volume 21, Number 23 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Oct. 17 - 23, 2008

Letters to the Editor

Vendor talk, not insults

To The Editor:
The new vending bill drafted by Alan Gerson is a bold attempt to solve a mufti-faceted dilemma. The question is will it be successful in what it seeks to do, i.e. clean up vending or will it just make things worse?

It has crucial sections that are incredibly delicate and require a great deal of attention and perspective. If not properly vetted, these new regulations could easily cause
more harm than good.

Several years ago Mr. Gerson set in motion a mediation process to bring the sides together. Hardliners on both sides of the issue boycotted the sessions and mocked those who attended.Those who are attempting to deal with the issue in a
democratic manner are often vilified by those who are trying to maintain the chaotic status quo which exclusively serves the interests of the illegal vending and bootlegging industry.

Undaunted veterans, artists, licensed general vendors, property owners, shopkeepers, gallery owners, and neighbors attended the mediation sessions anyway. During that process we all came to an agreement that legal vendors, veterans and artists have rights that must be protected and that these groups are a positive part of neighborhood.  We also pleaded with Mr. Gerson to deal with the illegal vending juggernaut.

Since that time, many of the artists and legal vendors have not attended due to lack of notification and a visceral fear that cooperating in the process would open them up to the manic attacks by radicals in their own camp. As a result we are faced with new legislation that many legal vendors feel will be a detriment to their ability to survive.

It is my understanding that Mr. Gerson’s committee will hold a one-day hearing on the vending issue before his committee votes on the new legislation.

I implore Mr. Gerson to establish a series of town hall meetings to discuss the issues before his legislation is voted on. Rushing the bill through committee begs for disaster.

Saying that Mr. Gerson is “at war with the poor” or that all vendors are bootleggers gets us nowhere, and nowhere is where we are now. It is time that both sides cease the counter-productive rhetoric and instead work together to solve the problem.

Only the bootleggers and illegal vendors profit when chaos prevails.
Lawrence White


Seaport market pitch

To The Editor:
Re “Seaport Plan is a good first draft” (editorial, Oct. 10 - 16):
General Growth Properties’ plan for the Seaport will in fact add more of the same luxury housing and chain retail stores already far too plentiful in Manhattan.

Many community members who oppose the G.G.P. plan (rather than simply objecting to the 500-foot tower) are acting upon their support for the New Amsterdam Market project.  The proposed New Amsterdam Market would be a year-round, public, regional foods market, within the historic Tin and New Market Buildings.  The New Amsterdam Market would revitalize the historical character of the Seaport far more effectively than the G.G.P. plan, which includes the destruction of the New Market Building, and the risky relocation of the Tin Building to “its figurative home, on the waterfront.”

The “things everyone wants” do not include unaffordable homes nor retail chains, but the engaging, tangible, neighborhood character that the New Amsterdam Market would bring.
Annie Myers
Annie Myers interned with New Amsterdam Market over the summer.


Longevity’s down side

To The Editor:
The idea that long life is something to cherish has been around for centuries. The Chinese, for example, treat it as a symbol of good fortune, and if you look around, you will come across a “Long Life Chinese Cookbook,” a long life jade pendant, a Long
Life Lucky Turtle, Long Life dog biscuits, and recipes for long life, like wine and cannabis. A single Chinese character and a single word stands in for long life, not two as in English.

There is a character in Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra,” Charmian, who exclaims “I love long life better than figs,” figs being the symbol for sex during the Elizabethan Era.

But what about the present American society? I am 96 years of age, and in my observations of the world about me I see no Shangri-La on the horizon. The wheelchair brigade dominates the scenery. There is nothing to look forward to and no comfort zone to fall back on. Doctors know this; scientists know this.

What more can science do for the elderly with crippling illnesses, particularly the most frightening of all, loss of one’s wits?

And how long will it be before one’s financial limitations take hold. Those of us with dwindling incomes can see nothing ahead but the eventual move into a nursing home. I had a taste of nursing homes in my recent experiences with the health care system. I could not wait to be released. I dread the idea of having to live out my last days in one of those institutions.

Let’s face it. Longevity is no bargain. To paraphrase Dr. William J. Hall of Highland Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. to us the elderly with chronic illness, longevity is nothing but a “pyrrhic victory.”
Geraldine Lipschutz
Southbridge Towers


Good to hear

To The Editor:
Re “Obama backs 9/11 health bill” (news article, Oct. 10 – 16):

I am so happy to hear this!  I wrote and called Obama’s office in Illinois and sent letters to campaign manager David Axelrod — none received a response. We sent him the same letter to the McCain campaign, which did not respond either! I wish Obama had responded a long time ago — our organization would have liked to have recognized and known that he truly cared about this issue, especially before coming to New York.  Thank you for the article.
Marianne Pizzitola
President F.D.N.Y. E.M.S. Retirees Association


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 news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.




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