Volume 21, Number 51 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 1 - 7, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Risks and fears

To The Editor:
You will no doubt receive many letters that focus on the utter stupidity and insensitivity of Louis Caldera, who reportedly signed off on the “secret flyby” that brought so many of us back to Sept. 11, 2001.  I don’t wish to minimize the magnitude of Mr. Caldera’s dimness of wit, but I would like to point out that he does not hold a monopoly on low I.Q. and insensitivity.

I find it amazing that government officials continue to detain and try international criminals and terrorists in Lower Manhattan.  What could be the rationale for putting the residents of Lower Manhattan at additional risk?  Could it be something as unrelated to justice as ready media access for the trial?

Planes flying low against our skyline will forever (and rightfully) evoke fear and anxiety in those of us who experienced the horror of the attacks of 8 years ago.  And while we should strive to live life as normally as possible in an environment where terror is used as a weapon, we should not accept needless additional risks that lazy, ignorant, and insensitive government officials like Louis Caldera would like to foist upon us.
Danny Chen

‘Retire’ 1 and 2 W.T.C.

To The Editor:
Re “Freedom from diversions at the W.T.C.” (editorial, April 3 - 9):

While most New Yorkers recognize the jingoistic nature of naming the tallest building at the rebuilt W.T.C. complex the “Freedom Tower,” perhaps it would be wiser to number the four new towers beginning with “Three.” By skipping “One” and “Two,” we call attention to the extraordinary memorial “Reflecting Absence” with its two vast pools designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker.
George Haikalis

Responses to Quinn

To The Editor:
This is in response to Christine Quinn’s Letter to the Editor (April 24 - 30, “Quinn on Garbage”) in which she responds to my letter (April 3 - 9, “Quinn ignores community”).

If the subject weren’t so serious, I would find it hilarious that Quinn sent a letter to you, indicating that her office “has held countless meetings with community leaders and has been receptive to all channels of community input,” and “took careful steps to incorporate their ideas to improve the design of the site.” The only careful steps Quinn has taken have been to: (a) fall in line with the mayor’s directives, and (b) cater to those, including the mayor, whom she thinks will help her get reelected.

I have written to Quinn numerous times and provided both written and oral testimony to the City Council and the Dept. of Sanitation on behalf of myself, the local community, and the 104-unit condominium where I reside. Yet, Quinn has never spoken directly to me, and her office has not acknowledged receipt of my letters.

The city is planning to place a three-district sanitation garage and 5,000-ton salt shed in our neighborhood — at the crossroads of the Canal St. corridor and Route 9A — a heavily-trafficked, polluted area. We are not crying NIMBY. We already have a garage by our homes and are willing to accept a second. What we object to is the placement of a third garage (which serves a Midtown district) and a salt shed (which could be eliminated with a little imagination on the city’s part).

The city is acting irresponsibly by placing so many intensive uses in such a concentrated area and by ignoring our health and environmental concerns.

To others who may think this is a local issue, I urge you to think again. The city is willing to spend more than $500 million to relocate existing sanitation facilities to Spring St. This is fiscally irresponsible at a time when the city is cutting back on services and people are losing their jobs. It is also environmentally irresponsible to increase greenhouse gas emissions by placing a district, whose northern border is 59th St. and eastern border is Lexington Ave., in Lower Manhattan.

 Quinn should stop being a lackey for the administration and start representing the people who elected her.
Denise Levine

To The Editor:
Ragdoll Quinn needs a reality check. Is she serious or just delusional? I watched in disbelief as she sold out the Hudson Square community at City Council on the garbage project (with no process) and then proceeded to leverage third terms for the Mayor and herself. Your reporting of the Inner Circle Roast where she was depicted as Bloomberg’s rag doll and it was joked the only thing she has succeeded in getting for her district is a garbage station was “right on” (UnderCover, April 3 – 9, “Digs at Quinn”). It seems the only process we’ll have with Quinnberg is to boot her out of office in the next election.
Victoria Faust

To The Editor:
Christine Quinn’s letter to the editor regarding the proposed consolidated garage complex at Spring St. and the “share of the burden,” misleads in several respects. The N.Y.C. Charter requires each community district to deal with its own waste under co-terminality and fair share requirements. Former D.S.N.Y. Commissioner Norman Steisel put it concisely in 1980 when he said, “Garages which serve more than one Sanitation District have an adverse impact on the neighborhoods in which they are situated. Multi-garages are usually unpopular with the community because they produce a large amount of truck traffic, contribute to air and noise pollution, and create jurisdictional problems.” Quinn and the current administration seem to have fair share amnesia as they expediently justify overburdening Hudson Square with others’ refuse.

In 1999 Community Districts 1, 2, 4 & 5 amicably agreed to relocation plans for the Gansevoort facilities. The decision involved critical balancing of a community’s fair share of the burden with a commensurate fair share of amenities, with two garages housed below a public park connecting with the Highline.

Hudson Square and North Tribeca are willing to accept more than our “fair share,” of other’s garbage for the expansion of the Hudson River Park at Gansevoort, by accommodating two garages at Spring St. within a community-based sustainable, green facility similar to the well-favored 1999 plan at 29th St. Hudson Rise won the A.I.A. 2008 Honor Award for Urban Planning and would result in substantial savings in this time of fiscal austerity.

Recently, the Friends of Hudson River Park, whose settlement with D.S.N.Y. identified Spring St. as a possible garage site, stated in the Downtown Express they would be willing to work with the community and D.S.N.Y. to explore possible alternatives (news article, March 27 – April 2, “Stars add glitz to garbage plan”). Quinn and the administration need to put the full force of their efforts in support of comprehensive, creative and compatible PlanNYC solutions for the Hudson River Park, Gansevoort and all affected communities.
Richard Barrett
Tribeca Community Association and Canal West Coalition

To The Editor:
I’ve lost my sense of shock at Speaker Quinn’s easy lies in pursuit of her own ambitions. Facts: the facility now aimed at Washington & Spring Sts. was ULURP’ed and approved for 30th St. and 12th Ave.  That facility served two districts and included green space. Then, the mayor and the speaker gave that lot to Joe Rose and Related Properties for development of the Hudson Yards (a decade away) and then super-sized and redirected it to Hudson Square.  Why would Quinn accept this? Because her political base is in Chelsea, her political sponsor is in the left side of City Hall and her supporters are heavily invested in real estate.

Quinn sent young staffers to meet with the community a couple of times, but only after multiple cancellations and ordering who “could” attend!  Only after I embarrassed her in my blog did she attend (briefly) the Council hearing in November 2008. But she voted for the facility.

She has done nothing to mitigate the impact of this project on the community. She has not stood up for the notion of “Fair Share” — three districts and a salt shed within three blocks is much more than a “Fair Share.”

She brags that she gave the community time to find alternative locations.  Am I missing something?  Aren’t our public servants supposed to be doing this work?  Don’t my ever-increasing taxes pay for anything?

The biggest lie that Quinn tells is that we are a bunch of NIMBYs; we have said yes to a reasonable facility.  Give us the two-district version with greenspace that was headed for 30th St., and we’ll shut up.  Until then, I will do everything in my power to reveal Quinn for the self-serving, ineffectual pol that she is.
Rosemary Kuropat

Ticketing for safety

To The Editor:
I want to put in a good word for the traffic agent who was taken to task in a letter here last week for ticketing a double-parked car on Greenwich St., across from P.S. 234 (Letters, April 24 – 30, “Parking police”).

School pick-up time, when “throngs of parents and caretakers gather outside the gates of the schoolyard,” as your letter-writer noted, soon to be joined by throngs of energetic kids, is precisely when adherence to traffic and parking rules is most critical to safety.

Moreover, adverse weather like the rain cited in the letter is reason for extra vigilance, not leniency, due to the added chaos factor.

Run this scenario a few thousand times, and we could well get an instance or two in which a confused or frustrated driver wheels around the double-parked car and plows into one of those parents or kids.

Thanks to the traffic ticket, that car-driving parent might seek a different parking spot next time or, better yet, might not drive to the school, period.

Real action to rein in cars and drivers is all too rare in our city. Those who enforce laws to protect people on foot merit commendation, not censure.
Charles Komanoff

Faith in history

To The Editor:
I read with interest “Fearing a rush to demo proposed district buildings” (news article, April 24 - 30) because I work at the archives that hold the papers of the Our Lady of Pompei parish.

In the early 20th century, few parishioners had telephones; so when they wanted something of the pastor, Father Anthony Demo, for whom Demo Square is named, they wrote him a letter. The letters include their return addresses. The result is that I can walk between two worlds. From the letters, I have a map of the Village highlighting Pompei’s parishioners’ homes and businesses. When I walk through the Village, I can still see many of the buildings.

While I understand Village buildings have to meet the needs of those who live and work here, to lose those buildings would be like losing other precious records of the Italian community that meant so much to the Village’s history. I look forward to the creation of a South Village Historic District, and to historians coming to our archives to bring the people of that historic district back to life.
Mary Elizabeth Brown





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