Volume 17 • Issue 24 | Nov. 5 - Nov. 12, 2004

Letters to the editor

Fear of removing F.D.R.

To The Editor:
Re “Can the waterfront improve much if the F.D.R. stays?” (Talking Point, Oct. 15 –21):
Kit White, or anyone else who would seriously endorse removing the F.D.R. and redirecting its traffic to South St. as a means of improving access to the East River waterfront, clearly needs to spend a little more time at the waterfront in question.

The current elevated portion of the F.D.R. along South St. acts as an arterial roadway to three major East River crossings — and, indeed, the entire West Side and the Hudson River crossing there — without sending traffic through the already-crowded commercial or (relatively) placid residential streets of Lower Manhattan.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’d much rather have an “unsightly” F.D.R. in place than contend with the traffic its removal will inevitably send through the streets of my neighborhood.

Yes, Kit, I say inevitably. It’s very pretty to think that New York “must address the very real possibility of a future with less traffic, not more.” New York must also address a subway ride that costs no more than $2 and the long-term effects of building only minimal affordable housing for the middle class, but it doesn’t appear that those things are going to happen either.  It took 9/11/01 to finally enact traffic restrictions into Manhattan — which were quickly removed when complaints from garage and parking lot owners were heard at City Hall.  New York simply doesn’t have the will to establish the traffic restrictions that actually work, and no amount of road removal is going to change that.

I invite anyone who would support removing the elevated portion of the F.D.R. to visit the existent waterfront below the mishigas of Pier 36 to the current home of the Fulton Fish Market to see it first hand.  As is, it is quite lovely—stunningly lovely and dramatic water, city and bridge vistas; neatly paved brick walks; plenty of benches in good repair; informative historical markers; and a two-lane bike path that keeps one out of the rain without removing you from the outdoors.  The most important thing you’ll see if you remove yourself from an academic exercise in urban renewal and visit the actual area, though, is the sizable number of people — real live existing neighborhood residents — enjoying the waterfront in its current form.

Robert Kempe

Clean the waterfront

To The Editor
When I read your paper’s articles of the East River-tower plan including one written by Lincoln Anderson, I laugh to myself (news article, Oct. 22 –29, “Community boards wary of East River tower plan). Everyone arguing to build this or build that. We have had a pedestrian cycling pavilion on the waterfront on Catherine St. and South St. for a few years. It’s beautiful! But we don’t go there at all – 1,600 apartments in Knickerbocker Village and Al Smith Houses – because it’s full of big rats. I saw them once and never went back. We try and sit in the park on Cherry St. and Catherine St. and there are dog stools, filthy garbage, rats and squirrels roaming around. I’ve lived here 48 years. We had not one squirrel years ago.

We can’t leave our homes, who can run when you’re a senior citizen? You have beautiful parks and walkways and what good are they if we have to sit with rats and squirrels that come toward you. I’ve called the Health Department to no avail.

Look under the Manhattan Bridge. We have to walk under there with shopping wagons to go to Pathmark. Mothers have to walk with their children and carriages under the bridge. There is filth, urine, broken glass all over and rats. I’ve called Sanitation who said they are not responsible and it’s the Port Authority’s responsibility. They say no – and it remains filthy. On the corner of Pike Slip and South St. the city piles up the snow salt four stories high under the bridge. It blows in our windows.

With the monies given to improve our neighborhoods why don’t they make it a clean place to live and put some monies towards that first, before building more parks and apartments and towers. You walk out the door and you have to worry you will be attacked by a squirrel or a rat. They are not afraid of us. I would love to sit by the beautiful promenade on Catherine St. by the water but I’m not that brave to have rats and squirrels as my companions. So when I read about who wants towers, who wants parks, who wants restaurants with all the food and garbage in the streets and the city not doing anything to get rid of the rats and squirrels, does it make any sense? Only for the builders to make money. Good thing I’m 73 years old, I did my part and made many calls about my neighborhood. But no one does a thing. So I’m writing this letter as I love your paper and would like it if you can bring this to the attention of all these community board members. I can’t go to any meetings as I am not in the best of health but I get so upset when I read what they are all trying to decide.
Millie Mari

Community gardens

To The Editor:
Re “Gardeners fight B.P.C. ouster”(news article, Oct. 22 – 28): 

The gardeners were always aware that the gardens were a temporary measure since the erection of the temporary bridge for two years, Nov. 2001 – Nov. 2003. They were extended for another year and this gave them enough time to take up the issue with the Battery Park City Authority in order to find them an alternate location. It is not the responsibility of Liberty Court to extend their property to Community Gardens. Liberty court is a condominium, as rightly said in the article in an “upscale neighborhood” and decisions that affect the quality of life of the residents of the building cannot be dictated by gardeners. The gardens have been an eyesore and filled with garbage for most of the time. They strategically planted some flowers when they found out that they will have to move soon. We will be glad to see the fences removed and the plots cleaned out as soon as possible. We don’t want to see those dead plants and plastic bags and trash anymore.

 Nritya Subramaniam

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