Volume 23, Number 3 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 28 - June 3, 2010
Letters to the Editor
To The Editor:
Last night I experienced the most arduous board meeting in my 18+ years on the board. In that time, Community Board One, being a quasi-governmental advisory body, has never weighed in “yea” or “nea” on a house of worship. Some have said that our support of the 92nd Street Y is equivalent. However, that institution is NOT a synagogue.
The original resolution from the Financial Committee included comments about a house of worship, which clearly is part and parcel of this project. The amended resolution, as created by committee leadership, was most disingenuous as it omitted those references and only spoke of the community center aspect. Every media outlet today has announced that CB1 approved the Mosque. Not one said “approved the community center.” This resolution should never have been brought to the board, much less voted on. It was out of order. Board members were falsely led to believe that they were only voting for a community entity. Wrong!!! All of us condemn the bigotry that has been expressed by some concerning this project.
Certainly, the proponents could have found a less controversial location indicating sensitivity to the families of the fallen. In addition, there are questions of philosophy and funding sources that the committee did not perform its due diligence. I am certain that many members reacted to the disrespectful manner and, at times, bigoted remarks made by some who opposed the project. Ironically, this worked to the detriment of their goal to get the board to reject the proposal.
All of this being said, we need to state for the hundredth time, as was stated clearly by our Chair Julie Menin at the outset of the meeting, that the community board has absolutely no authority here. We have no say as to whether or not this project moves ahead. It is an as of right project, which does not require any governmental approval. The building is a private sale and a private purchase. They are not asking us for funding or zoning variances. By all rights, having seen the presentation, the committee could simply have thanked them and moved along. It would have been proper since it is impossible to separate the community center from the mosque. That is the only issue here. Separation of church and state, as we all are aware, is the governmental responsibility. No matter how much we revile bigotry, and we do, this was not our purview.
Put new hospital at old site
To The Editor:
Re “From grassroots, with suit, fighting for a new hospital” (news article, May 19):
I was at Ms. Kurland’s second St. Vincent’s hearing, on May 30, and I saw the outpouring of support and hope for a hospital in the vicinity of the former St. Vincent’s. As a former resident of the West Village, living at 11th St. and Seventh Ave. until age 16, this is an issue I care deeply about, and there is still a way to place a hospital at the old St. Vincent’s site.
Without a new Village-area hospital, nearby hospitals will be clogged with people no longer able to be cared for by St. Vincent’s. As a member of the Health, Senior and Disability Committee on Community Board 6, I was able to hear testimony from a member of Bellevue Hospital. Even she said that her own hospital would be significantly impacted by the closing of St. Vincent’s, as many people living on Broadway, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Aves. would have to go all the way to First Ave. to receive care. Having a new hospital all the way over on the Hudson River — as some have proposed — would do little to aid that problem.
Furthermore, having a hospital on the West Side Highway would be extremely inconvenient for people living in Chelsea or the West Village but not near the river. Why abandon Seventh Ave. and 12th St. (about 20 minutes east of the highway, if there’s traffic) when there’s still a strong possibility to save lives in a much more effective manner?
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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