Volume 17, Number 44 | March 24 - 31, 2005

Letters To The Editor

Chinatown traffic

To The Editor:
Re “Not quite a busman’s holiday for Chinatown drivers” (news article, March 4 – 10):

Commuter vans and other traffic issues in and around Chinatown are the subject of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s Chinatown Access and Circulation Study (news article, Dec. 31, 2004 – Jan. 6, 2005, “Plan tries to make sense of Chinatown’s streets”). The study cites problems that have existed for nearly 20 years, and is a vindication for residents whose complaints about these matters have been routinely dismissed by city and state officials.

While these officials looked the other way, interstate bus companies set up illegal sidewalk terminals on busy streets. At the same time, commuter vans arrived in such large numbers that recent attempts at regulation haven’t stopped their “illegal parking and standing,” nor one company’s use of 32-seat buses, which exceeds the legal limit of 20 passengers per van. City officials also failed to eliminate “wholesale produce operations” despite the fact that these businesses are prohibited in commercial zones and responsible for “forklifts on sidewalks” and a heavy influx of trucks and tractor trailers “from the tri-state region and elsewhere.”

Likewise, trucks parked as “storage rooms,” merchandise transferred from one truck to another, retail stores “selling directly from the sidewalks,” the illegal rental of sidewalk crowding/blocking regulations” are problems for which the Fifth Precinct and the Department of Consumer Affairs should be held accountable.

If laws had been enforced when violations first surfaced, there would be no need for a traffic study or remedies. Time will tell if proposed solutions are going to be successful, but I’m not holding my breath.

Cathy Glasson
I.S. 89 P.T.A.

To The Editor: 
I resigned as co-president of the I.S. 89 P.T.A. because I strongly agree with the position of the P.S. 89 P.T.A., where I remain co-president. I could not continue to represent another P.T.A. that opposed the P.S. 89 P.T.A.  I would like to publicly clarify what that position is:  P.S. 89 parents would like to have an option that guarantees their children a seat in a zoned 6-8 grade school located in our community.

In response to Cheryl Moch’s letter (March 18 – 24, “I.S. 89 diversity”), I.S. 89 does work well as a school because of the hard work of principal Ellen Foote, but the P.T.A. there is dysfunctional.  At the last meeting, there were not even enough parents to make a quorum (10).  If I.S. 89 were a community school, I believe parental support would be much stronger, which in turn would make the school stronger.  Also, my family did not live in a privileged neighborhood while I was growing up, but we still had a zoned middle school nearby.  I feel fortunate that my children live in a better place than I did, but they do not enjoy the privilege of having a guaranteed seat in a middle school close to their home as I did.   This is something that all children in public schools are entitled to.  Even those that live in a “privileged enclave.” (If she feels this way, why does she live here?)

 Angela Benfield

Cougar sponsors

To The Editor:
Thank you for you continued coverage of our Cougar basketball teams at I.S. 89. The young athletes get a great boost of pride from seeing their pictures published and their names in print. I would, however, like to draw your attention to the fact that the basketball teams are part of Manhattan Youth’s after-school program at I.S. 89. It is often assumed that the basketball program is sponsored by the school or by the Department of Education, but in fact, each year Manhattan Youth organizes, implements and raises funds for this and over 20 other free sports, arts and enrichment activities at I.S. 89.

Funding for this program for the coming year is in jeopardy. We have submitted a strong proposal to the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, but their grants are very competitive, and there is a possibility that there will be no funds to run the program in September. In that event, the community will have to come together, or it will lose the only middle school program in the entire area.

In the meantime, we will remain optimistic, and the Cougars will continue to play. It is essential that the community be continually aware of Manhattan Youth’s presence at I.S. 89 in the months ahead, which is why I am writing to thank you, again, for your coverage of the Manhattan Youth – I.S. 89 Cougars.

Theseus Roche
After-school director, Manhattan Youth

Social Security reflections

To The Editor:
The great leap in scientific development since I was born in 1912 has helped us to live to a ripe old age. Now the question is how to care for this ever-growing population. As a result of this occurrence, we have seen attacks on our physical, financial, and emotional well-being.

It is difficult enough to cope with the physical pain that comes with the aging process, but to be on the defensive from the present administration’s threat to take away what is rightfully ours as citizens of the U.S. simply adds to the discomfort.

The destruction of Social Security so that Wall St. can get the benefit, the cutting back on Medicare – remember that the longer we live the more money has to be used for everyday expenses – and on Medicaid, the next essential welfare program, are all attacks on the aged.

Emotionally, we are all torn in many ways. With longevity comes loss of friends and family, and what is left is loneliness. Added to the emotional upheaval is the big worry of how to pay for the “privilege” of longevity. That is what it amounts to – a privilege only for the wealthy.

Without medical care, financial maintenance and with the attendant loneliness there can be no appreciation and thankfulness for this extension of time.

In closing, however, I must end on a hopeful note. As each season comes with its own beauty and wonder, the extension of time has its blessings.

Geraldine Lipschutz

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