Volume 20, Number 51 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | December 15 - 21, 2010
Letters to the Editor
We’re in a depression
To the editor:
It’s no secret that some of our most respected elected officials do not believe we are in a recession; they believe we are in a depression. If that is the case, perhaps then we are more fortunate than the population of the 1930’s, thanks to the farsighted wisdom of elected officials like FDR and, somewhat later, LBJ.
In the very early 1930’s, as many young people were finishing high school, I was one among them setting out in search of employment. Because of the state of the economy, I was offered a job at a salary of $30. That meant $30 a month. Even I knew you couldn’t live on $30 a month. I said I cannot live on less than $12 a week, and I got the job. I guess I knew how to handle that situation better than most.
But now, with the economy the way it is, we see SBT privatizers searching for the elusive “gold” in the hopes of a windfall right in their laps. It is hard for me to believe there are people looking for miracles. The privatizers, totally out of touch with reality, are looking for miracles. What they are hoping for just does not exist.
They talk about the American dream, but in full agreement with some of our most truthful elected officials, now is the time to be realistic.
To the Editor:
Re: “Television appearance sheds light on Trinity’s past” (news article Dec. 1)
The history of Trinity Church that Downtown Express narrated in the prior week’s issue has been sanitized a bit. Omitted was how Trinity acquired its real-estate empire and what it does with the gains.
Every other church and congregation in New York purchased their land with the nickels and dimes of hard-working immigrants, but not Trinity.
One acquisition version, which Trinity supports, is that the British monarch granted them the land. However, Trinity neglects to mention that the British got it by sailing into New York harbor with a small armada and seizing it by military force from the Dutch, who had legally purchased it from the Indians. Not a very honorable way for a house of God to get its churchyard.
Another version is that the king awarded a pirate, Robert Edwards, tracts of land in lower Manhattan for Edwards? role in, well, plundering and killing lots of Spanish merchant mariners in the Caribbean, like all good pirates do. Edwards subsequently leased his land to John Cruger for 99 years, after which time it was supposed to revert to Edwards? heirs. However, Cruger was a deacon at Trinity Church. Instead of the property reverting to Edwards? heirs, Trinity somehow would up getting the land. As recently as 1983, Edwards’ heirs were still litigating with Trinity to get their ancestor’s property returned.
Curiously, Trinity possesses no historical deed for all that land. Whichever version is correct, the deal smells.
It doesn’t end there. At the start of the last century, Trinity, in a brutal move pre-dating Robert Moses, evicted all of its impoverished residential tenants who resided in what is now northern TriBeCa and western SoHo. After displacing these poor families, most of whom worked on the West Side docks, Trinity built the manufacturing buildings that still stand there.
With history repeating itself, Trinity, in the 1990s, in a move to increase its real-estate profits, forced out their well-established manufacturing tenants, resulting in the closure of dozens of small businesses, as well as forcing hundreds of workers onto the unemployment line. Trinity then branded the neighborhood “Hudson Square” to attract new, upscale tenants.
So what does Trinity do with all its massive wealth it acquired by violence and chicanery? Where are all the schools, hospitals, orphanages, hospices, homeless shelters, soup kitchens or other charitable institutions to help the poor and needy that other religions provide?
Trinity, among the largest landowners in New York City, is worth an estimated $650 billion. The church pays no taxes. Into whose pockets does this ill-acquired wealth and real-estate fortune flow?