Volume 22, Number 11 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 24 - 30, 2009
Letters to the Editor
Enjoy trees while you can
To The Editor:
As part of the Route 9A/West St. Promenade construction, it was recently announced that, concerning the grove of mature trees along West St. north of West Thames St., “All the trees will come down.” (news story, “West Thames Park work is a go,” July 10 – 16).
A while ago, it was almost funny that a basketball court, playground, gardens, and playing field would be destroyed in order to build a basketball court, playground, gardens, and playing field. But now, it has been announced that mature trees will all be removed in order to build a park with trees. When questioned, we’re told, “There’s no way to save them.” Ridiculous. Of course, there is a way to save those trees — design the new park to accommodate the trees. Let the trees dictate the layout of the park. This is what is done in communities less progressive and less in need of trees than New York City.
Go stand at West Thames St. or on the east end of Rector Place and enjoy the grove of large trees while you still can. What a sad time for Battery Park City.
To The Editor:
Re “Art of the deal” (letter, by Robert Lederman, July 17 – 23):
I always find it interesting when Robert Lederman attacks someone else for not being a friend of street artists. Although I have serious issues with some of Councilperson Gerson’s ideas for street artists, and have spoken out strongly against facets of his proposed street-vending legislation, it is Mr. Lederman’s philosophy that I feel has had the most negative impact on the street-art scene.
Consider the lowly state of formally well-known public artist areas, such as West Broadway in Soho. Only give five to seven years ago West Broadway was bustling with travelers from all over the world who made a point of coming to Soho to visit fine artists who publicly display their own original artwork on the weekends. As this public art scene had evolved, some fine artists began to unite as a way to represent their issues politically and to promote who they were and where they could be found.
However Mr. Lederman fought every attempt by these fine artists to come together. He is “president for life” of his own group and he guards his position with great jealousy. His method to retain control was, as it has always been, to use relentless mendacity and grossly false charges against members of the artist cooperative. This, in turn, caused paranoia in the ranks and, as a result of their amplified fear, many fine artists then jumped onto the Lederman bandwagon as a way to fend off threatened new legislation proposed by Mr. Gerson.
Mr. Lederman’s plan called for fine artists to join forces with the legion of vendors who sell cheap, often illegally copied art reproductions and imitation jewelry, thereby blurring the line defining who fine artists actually are. This negative strategy proved to work against artists. Knowledgeable travelers and collectors simply have taken West Broadway and other formerly well-known artist areas off of their itineraries because the scene has become so polluted with cheap reproduction art and knockoff merchandise that it is to be avoided. The result is that few, if any, public fine artists can support their families anymore. That is the Lederman legacy.
Of course the economy has sunk to a new low, which has had a very negative effect on artists as well. However, the cooperative plan gave fine artists tools to deal with the economic downturn and recourses to which they now have no access. Without this plan, artists simply sit idly by while waiting for Mr. Lederman to fight Mr. Gerson over proposed legislation that appears to be going nowhere. At the same time, vendors of cheap reproductions sell briskly in areas where fine artists used to display their own artwork. What a shame for us all.
Mayor’s ‘shell game’
To The Editor:
Re “Mad as Hell, Mayor...” (Seaport Report, July 17-23):
As we have long predicted, the temporary alleviation of placard parking problems in Chinatown would result in the problem moving into surrounding neighborhoods. The Bloomberg administration is playing a sort of “automobile shell game” with the residents of Lower Manhattan. And the problem will move from neighborhood to neighborhood unless and until the root of the problem is addressed: the uncontrolled awarding of parking privileges as a “perk” to city employees and affiliates.
Lower Manhattan residents must make government-issued parking reform one of the top issues for mayoral candidates in this election year. We must demand the elimination of the archaic and corrupt system of awarding paper parking placards and replace it with a modern, paperless, traceable parking-reservation system that we have presented in the Downtown Express previously. We must insist on the use of car-sharing programs using Zipcar-like technology, similar to that being used in Washington, D.C, to reduce the number of government cars on our streets.
Most important, we must ask ourselves if we want to give a mayor who has ignored these problems for eight years, and who has given himself an exemption from the voter-mandated two-term limit, another opportunity to wreak havoc on our quality of life and economic vitality in Lower Manhattan. The best thing to do when confronted with someone offering you a “shell game” is to walk away. Let’s walk away from any mayor who would play such games with us.
Chin, Lee and Ost are members, Civic Center Residents Coalition
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.