Letters, week of February 16 – 23, 2012

‘Scale it down’ Downtown

 To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. has a right to build, but must scale back plan” (editorial, Feb. 9), and “This is our Jane Jacobs moment: Stop the N.Y.U. plan!” (talking point, by Deborah Glick, Feb. 9):

Obviously, the writer or writers of this editorial do not live in the affected area where the proposed 2031 N.Y.U. construction plan will span 20 years of torture for the local residents. N.Y.U. will not be building the public school — just as it never built the one where Coles gym is located. And if the politicians decide in N.Y.U.’s favor we will vote them out of office — forever!

Just as the Komen organization’s proposal to deny funding to Planned Parenthood was reversed by public opinion, so too will the N.Y.U. 2031 plan go down. They are welcome in Council District 1; let them “scale it down” down there.

As for Assemblywoman Glick’s column: Bravo! You have the heart of the Village and are clearly a politician who cares about her constituents and the needs of our community!
Sylvia Rackow

‘Angry NIMBYs’? What nerve!

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. has a right to build, but must scale back plan” (editorial, Feb. 9):

“Angry NIMBYs who want to protect their cherished and privileged corner of the world”?

Really? We’ve been inundated with bars, banks, tour buses and drunken bad behavior for many years. And a number of residents here are longtime neighborhood people whose families have lived in Greenwich Village for decades; people who were displaced by N.Y.U.’s construction of faculty housing on Bleecker St.  — on land practically “given” to N.Y.U. for a song.

The Villager has changed from a neighborhood newspaper to an N.Y.U. lackey. We all miss the good “old” Villager, which really cared for our neighborhood.
Paul Rackow

Give Glick a hand — and a paw!

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. has a right to build, but must scale back plan” (editorial, Feb. 9), and “This is our Jane Jacobs moment: Stop the N.Y.U. plan!” (talking point, by Deborah Glick, Feb. 9):

Community Action Alliance on N.Y.U. 2031 is proud to stand against the N.Y.U. plan with Assemblymember Glick. More than 500 people who attended this past Saturday’s rally, plus dozens of “Underdogs” who marched there in a paw-rade against the N.Y.U. 2031 Plan, agreed.

Assemblymember Glick correctly mentions the decades of broken promises and potential destruction of a community; the mythical school offered as a carrot every time N.Y.U. wants to build, and never materializing, so it can be offered again next time (this time offered only as a patch of dirt on which the city may build in a limited time frame); taking open space, plus killing what’s on the land that isn’t taken; jamming millions of square feet of space and many thousands of people into an area that’s already higher density than any part of the Village, other than avenues or wide streets; and adding unneeded retail despite the dozens of empty storefronts on the adjacent streets.

The Rudin plan for the former St. Vincent’s Hospital area, which the community clearly stated was much too large, was 600,000 square feet. That’s just a quarter of what N.Y.U. is asking for. Sad to think that double Rudin’s enormous number seems appropriate for the superblocks to The Villager just because N.Y.U. inflated its demands so egregiously.
Terri Cude and Martin Tessler
Cude and Tessler are co-chairpersons, Community Action Alliance on N.Y.U. 2031 (CAAN)

Playing into N.Y.U.’s hands

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. has a right to build, but must scale back plan” (editorial, Feb. 9):

Many observations in your thoughtful editorial deserve further discussion. However, one critical point has been lost in the shuffle, and a misleading characterization must be corrected. I’ll put down my pitchfork and torch momentarily in this effort.

You describe maximalists responding unconditionally in the negative, and a need for compromise and negotiating tools from C.B. 2. It is astounding that a significant issue has been either ignored or forgotten: Borough President Stringer assembled a Community Task Force on N.Y.U. Development. This was an unprecedented attempt to deal with a community’s realistic concerns and have a straightforward dialogue to deal with conflicting needs. After four years and more than 50 meetings with N.Y.U., we produced a comprehensive, balanced report on March 25, 2010. Needless to say, we asked for a similarly thoughtful response. We waited. The deafening silence reverberates to this day.

Ultimately, to suggest that there has been an all-or-nothing stance on the part of this community is simply a distortion of reality. N.Y.U. representatives have sat down with us, attended many meetings, and remained impassive. In its continued attempts to ignore and marginalize us, N.Y.U. has utterly precluded any dialogue, let alone compromise.

To stereotype the opposition to N.Y.U.’s overreaching plan as absolutist NIMBYs protecting their “privileged corner of the world” (interesting choice of words; is this relevant?) is a heavy-handed oversimplification and erroneous. Of course, in any charged situation there will be extremists. I have attended dozens of community meetings on this topic. Despite the threat to what is perceived as the very quality of life and remaining identity of  Greenwich Village, for the most part, residents have been reasonable and articulate and have offered well-considered feedback.

N.Y.U. would enjoy fostering this easy assumption and portrayal, thereby contrasting the irrational mobs with its prudence and beneficence. It’s a predictable tactic. Don’t fall for it.
Beth Gottlieb

Gottlieb is president, Mercer-Houston Dog Run Association and former member, Borough President’s Community Task Force on N.Y.U. Development

Find N.Y.U. plan’s Achilles’ heel

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. has a right to build, but must scale back plan” (editorial, Feb. 9):

The Villager editorial is a disgrace. Community Board 2 doesn’t need a tutorial on how to sell us down the river; they’ve been doing that for years, as those of us who have dealt with them over many years know well. Besides, their role is only advisory. The real power brokers could care less what kind of “road map” C.B. 2 devises.

The devotion of the hundreds of residents who attended endless meetings and rallies is astounding. Now our time and effort must be directed at all the politicos and bureaucrats who think they can get their way on the N.Y.U. plan.

There have to be enough lawyers, M.B.A.’s, planners, educators and others among us who can research and find legal technicalities, zoning restrictions, building codes and land-use regs that we can use to completely derail this project.

We can start with the City Charter amendment regarding sale of city property to private developers that Scott Stringer is using to convene the Borough Board and delay projects near City Hall.
Sharon Miller

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to  news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.

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