Volume 16 • Issue 24 |November 11 - 17, 2003


Tribeca diversity

To The Editor:
When he testified before the City Council last week, Independence Plaza North resident José Torres spoke for most of us when he said, “The most important thing for me is the diversity at I.P.N.” (“Mayor knocks one housing bill, backs another,” news article, Nov. 4-10). That cherished diversity and sense of community has a real chance of survival under the City Council bill, which is supported by the vast majority of Council members. Mayor Bloomberg’s carefully-timed response to the City Council bill lacks conviction and specifics. Furthermore, the mayor’s proposal relies on the cooperation of the N.Y.S. Legislature, which has not previously supported extending protection to Mitchell-Lama residents. If and when the mayor becomes serious about preserving Mitchell-Lama housing, I am confident that he will find a more effective and genuine solution.

Judy B. Bernstein

Welcoming 92nd St. Downtown

To The Editor:
The announcement that the 92nd Street Y will be coming to Lower Manhattan is a reminder of my years in the Education Department during the decade of the ‘40s, the war years (“C.B. 1 narrowly endorses 92nd St. Y plan,” news article, March 4 –10, 2003). It was then, as it is now, an important cultural center. There were only two sponsors when I was there, the Jewish Welfare Board and the Federation of Jewish Charities. Today, the number of sponsors is a multitude, which should enhance the Y’s capability to excel in bringing great artists to the public.

Those who performed in the past were in renown then and are still held in awe today: Heifetz, Lotte Lehmann, Artur Rubinstein, the Budapest String Quartet, to name a few. The Y’s audience was in the midst of greatness at every concert.

There were classes in dance, music, poetry and, not to be overlooked, the fame of the kindergarten. The kindergarten was actually considered a stepping stone toward the best colleges. It has been the recipient of large endowments.

We hope the Y will continue in this tradition in Lower Manhattan.

Geraldine Lipschutz

No to Doctoroff’s plan

To The Editor:
I’m sorry the Downtown Express has provided a soapbox for Deputy Mayor Doctoroff’s letter demanding that the already inadequate official plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center be made even worse (Talking Point, Nov. 4 –10, “Bring retail life up to the street”).

Note that Westfield, the operator of the retail lease for the W.T.C., has already decided to bail out because the plans are too much like what Doctoroff wants, as it is. They feel there is not enough underground retail space and he wants the underground space eliminated completely.

If street-level stores offered as much income and profit, Westfield would not be upset with the official plans. And if shoppers were likely to spend as much time and money in street-level stores as they do underground, then the street-level stores would offer as much income and profit.

A completely outdoors, “open to the sky” street such as he demands is no place to be in rain and cold, though people may happily be shopping in concourses underneath it.

In short, Doctoroff wants to force New York’s shoppers to where they don’t want to shop, and if he is gratified the already economically hurting city will get less in sales tax revenue.

If he wants to avoid traffic jams, he should be fighting for fewer streets through the site, not more. If he wants Downtown to recover he should be seeking office towers that office workers will find most convenient to work in. Instead, he is fighting to ensure the permanence of the terrorist success in destroying the Financial District as we knew it, and assisting the urban-utopian vultures who see the deaths of thousands of people as a golden opportunity to repudiate the symbols of American pride and prosperity the terrorists attacked.

And incidentally, damaging the prospects of that prosperity returning. For shame.

Louis Epstein


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