Letters to the Editor
M9 cut too deep
To The Editor:
While the excellent article by Ms. Shapiro rightfully celebrates the restitution of M22 service to Battery Park City, albeit the loss of the M Train to Lower Manhattan (news article, March 26 — April 1, “M22 saved, but FiDi will lose M train”), it’s surprising that no one in the media, or apparently our representatives, has noticed the total elimination of the M9 service from Battery Park City: the line which does for the east side of B.P.C. what the M22 does for the west — other than in casual reference.
The M9, in addition to those traveling to work, carries a heavy concentration of parents, toddlers and children traveling to schools in the Chinatown and Alphabet City area. Also, many Asian senior citizens attend social and community facilities in those areas as well. With the M9 no longer traveling south of Chatham Sq, other than to City Hall, one will have to board the M20, take it to Water St. and switch to the M15, and if necessary take a third bus — the M9 — to areas north and east! Up to three buses instead of one. As we all know, both the M20, and especially the M15, are notoriously not on time with spotty service. Just think of exposing our young and old — the most vulnerable members of our community — to the cold, wind, snow and rain as they wait for three buses. The recent torrents of rain this month paint a bleak future picture of transportation for us all.
There are difficult cutbacks that cannot be avoided, but this is a cutback that puts an undue hardship not only on the young and old, but the Lower Manhattan communities in general. Traveling about Alphabet City is difficult enough due to the lack of subway services, but now one of the few transportation resources has been greatly affected by the M.T.A.
We can only hope all in the public arena will regroup and fight for the M9 as they have successfully done for the M22. In closing, has anyone heard the M.T.A. talk of “suffering in kind?” That is, how many six figure salaries, expense accounts, and limos, have they cut from themselves to share the burden? Since 10 of the 14 seats on the M.T.A. board actually represent the City, does anyone believe they really care about us?
To The Editor:
The M.T.A. canceled the M9 bus route that ends and starts in Battery Park City south. This is the school bus (for lack of a better word) that middle school and high school students use to take them to M.A.T. (my son’s school), Salk, Baruch, NEST, Bard and even Millennium. There are about 18 students that just use it for M.A.T. alone. A lot of parents whose children are going to 6th grade next year, based their decision on the transportation of the M9 (M.A.T. and Salk), I hate to hear how they might not of put those schools down as a first choice if they knew the bus route. The M9 is also the only transportation that B.P.C south has to take us up to Union Square. Also, for those that go to South Ferry, Water St./Seaport, Chinatown and the Lower East Side — we are now cut off. I really think it is a bad decision, since the only other bus line we have is the M20 and that is for west side use. I know we have the Connection bus but that does not start till 10 a.m.
To The Editor:
Re “Quietest ‘Hood?” (UnderCover, March 26 – April 1):
I think you hit part of the nail on the head: 1) We’re tired of calling 311 and not seeing results. 2) We’re tired of calling the First Precinct and not seeing any results. 3) We simply never know where the next jackhammer or emergency night work will be coming from. 4) We’ve grown accustomed to sleeping with the noise, and/or feel we have no choice.
I am reminded of that scene in “My Cousin Vinny” where Vinny is only able to sleep once he is thrown into jail. The fighting, yelling and alarms are music to his ears.
It’s amazing how fire engine and police sirens blasting after midnight becomes like a lullaby.
I actually was just commenting on how amazingly noisy it is Downtown. Police exercises often explode into the evening’s semi-peace and the windows go up and down....
Pier for all people
To The Editor:
The reference by George Capsis to the “private schools that now own [Pier 40] during the day” (news article, March 19 –25, “Advocate floats Greenmarket idea for Pier 40”) is inaccurate. Visit the pier any afternoon, evening or weekend and you will see a mix of boys and girls of all ages from all over town: varsity public school teams, local youth league teams and pickup games everywhere they can fit them in. It is simply the most diverse and democratic place in Downtown Manhattan.
One of the wonderful things about youth sports is the way it brings people together across social and economic divides, creating broader circles of friendship for children and families. Take a look at the Greenwich Village Little League, just one of the many sports groups that plays at Pier 40: The league’s 690 players this year include students from 109 different schools, with 30 percent from P.S. 3, P.S. 11 and P.S. 41, with a total of 60 percent from public schools, and with many others from private and religious schools all over town.
The fields at Pier 40 have already proven how essential they are to enhancing the quality of life for Downtown residents. As one of the few playing turfs in Lower Manhattan, they allow for some of the best kind of outdoor recreational activity there is. Day and night, all year long, Pier 40 is in use by someone playing something — a whole lot more than just the “handful” of people cited by Capsis.
Board member, Friends of Hudson River Park
To The Editor:
Re “City blasts Townley over P.S. 234 rent flap” (news article, March 26 - April 1):
We take serious exception to Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld, Dept. of Education spokesperson, in his statement that identifies Manhattan Youth’s position on the renewal of leased space for P.S. 234 as an attempt to simply increase its profit margin at the expense of the school. We would like to point out to all, including the D.O.E. and the mayor, that Manhattan Youth came to the aid of P.S. 234 and the community in an emergency overcrowding situation without concern for its own bottom line. An overcrowding situation, we might add, that was and is a result of exceptionally poor planning on the part of the D.O.E. to accommodate the exploding population in Community Board 1.
It is clear to all that the D.O.E. cannot possibly replicate the finished classroom space it presently occupies in the community center at the $48 rate it offers for the second year. This is a situation, created by the D.O.E. and the mayor, which seeks to take advantage of Manhattan Youth and the community it serves. We cannot afford to lose this space for P.S. 234. In fact, more classrooms are being offered by Manhattan Youth, and the lottery situation for kindergarten seats indicates the dire need for the D.O.E. to accept the offer. It is time to accept responsibility for an overcrowding situation created by its own poor planning. The D.O.E. should stop finding fault with the one organization that has years of serving our community, an organization that sacrificed for P.S. 234 families last year and renew the lease at a realistic rate.
This letter was written by Paul Hovitz, co-chairperson of Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee, and was signed by Ann M. De Falco, committee chairperson, as well as several other members including Dennis Gault, Peter Braus, Tricia Joyce, Jeff Mihok, Liat Silberman, Mariama James and Mark Costello.
No blasting, but testy
To The Editor:
Well, am I obligated to comment when the Express titles an article “City blasts Townley over P.S. 234 flap”? In defense of the New York City Department of Education, I don’t think their intention was to blast me and I wish the Express had been more careful in its characterization of our negotiations. In an effort to more accurately reflect the reality of the discussions for the D.O.E.’s renewed lease of classroom space in our building for P.S. 234 use, the D.O.E. took the position that Manhattan Youth was asking for too much rent. What a surprise!
As a longstanding community activist and resident of this neighborhood, my goal is to meet the needs of everyone in the community. That is my personal interest. But there is a dilemma. The Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center is not raw space nor office space on Broadway. We have beautiful, new and clean finished classroom space in the heart of residential Tribeca that was expensive to build and finish. The Manhattan Youth figure quoted in the article was out of context, and our next proposal will be determined through consultation with real estate professionals. The D.O.E. offer does not acknowledge the real costs, and therefore would not help us rent space nearby. We would need space nearby for our many programs.
Manhattan Youth has a long history of parlaying government funds into usable, highly effective programs. There are no “personal margins” in our non-profit organization as the Dept. of Education mistakenly states. Although business discussions may sometimes get testy when we fight for new schools, parks and ball fields, I believe both parties have the interest of all children in mind and whatever agreement we work out will aim to balance the interests of the community and the schools.
Director, Manhattan Youth
Bathhouse hung out to dry
To The Editor:
Re “Silver and Squadron shoot for revamp of Gulick Park” (news article, March 26 – April 1):
Former City Councilmember Alan Gerson allocated $360,000 in capital budget funds for the renovation of Luther Gulick Playground, which spans 1.45 acres. State Sen. Daniel Squadron has committed an additional $100,000. Half of the Gulick playground renovation alone will cost $2 million. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and others will add additional capital budget funding to completely restore this public playground, which is adjacent to the Amalgamated and Hillman middle- income housing co-operatives on Grand St.
The Dr. Simon M. Baruch Bathhouse sits on two adjacent, city-owned lots in the center of the largest New York City Housing Authority development in Manhattan. This public bathhouse is four stories tall and is more than 100 years old and should be declared a city, if not a national, landmark. Bernard Baruch Houses has more than 1,800 kids with no community center to speak of. If our elected officials can commit capital budget funds to restore this playground, then why can’t they restore the bathhouse?
Will someone explain to me, what is the formula that elected officials use when they decide where capital budget funds are going to be allocated? What is the difference between this playground and this bathhouse? Is it the income level of the population that would benefit from the renovation? Is it that these kids are not old enough to vote?
The bathhouse, like the park, is under the jurisdiction of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. The city looks to the local councilmembers for direction.
The current councilmember, Rosie Mendez, states cost as her excuse for why the Baruch kids are not her priority. What exactly is Mendez’s priority, you might ask, when it comes to her district? When it comes to her personal stipends, she makes sure that she collects it. When it comes to her discretionary funds, a k a pork, she distributes it to her supporters. When it comes to doling out capital budget funds, it’s anywhere in the Council district, except for the low-income kids of Bernard Baruch Houses.
“Goldman’s hired guns also work for the N.Y.P.D.” (news article, posted, March 25):
Ilive in the area and the NYPD officers are hardly intrusive. I find it hard to believe that people find it shocking or are frightened by this. Personally, I feel a lot safer having police (even if off duty) around. By the way, is the space between the movie theater and the Goldman building actually public space? Goldman owns both those buildings.
This is ok. Win-win situation for both companies hiring off-duty police officers, and for officers to have extra income. At least police officers are highly trained to keep peace and order and I hope this will include keeping the area clean and sanity. They should be instructed to go after litters including those who don’t clean after their pets.
“Kindergarten rejection letters sent out at P.S. 234” (news article, posted March 25):
It never ceases to amaze me how many intelligent, savvy New Yorkers continue to put up with the bloated incompetency that is the Dept. of Education. While people working in the private sector are usually fired if they don’t perform well or miss a forecast, the DofE continues to mismanage Lower Manhattan schools without consequence. For this we pay handsome six figure salaries and their comfy pensions, and yet receive very little accountability in return? Are people really this complacent they are willing to leave their children’s educations in the hands of such a bureaucracy?