Letters, Week of May 9, 2012

No to housing on Pier 40

To The Editor:
Re “Residential could save Pier 40, new study finds” (news article, May 3):

That anyone in these neighborhoods — the Village, Tribeca, Soho and the entire Lower West Side — would give their trust to hotel and luxury real estate developers, and expect them to do what they say they are going to do with Pier 40, is beyond my comprehension. They will creep and creep and add more as they go, build against their promise and then say, “We can’t take it down, it’s already up.”

The machinery is already in place, and if it is not stopped, the story 10 years from now will be that the youth sports organizations sealed their own fate with their own study. It will end up being luxury high-rises. The self-entitled residents will complain about the fields and get what they want: no more sports or noise after a certain hour, and private security that will tighten down all entrances, preventing a multicultural group of youth from using the fields. Worse, they will presume over time that they alone are allowed use of the waterfront, and will begin to seal off and privatize public space.

After all of the fighting to protect this pier, this is a massive giveaway in the making, to the same old gang.

If the park is to remain a park, it needs a non-housing partner. This would be like building condos in Central Park, and at taxpayer expense, if the Hudson River Trust Act is changed.

On the other hand, Major League Soccer is a partner perfectly consistent with Pier 40’s current use, and it would be far easier with them to strike the type of deal that can be counted on to create and retain open space in the long term.
Patrick Shields

Much more to the story…

To The Editor:
A photo on Page 14 in your “A Salute to Union Square” special section in last week’s issue shows an attractive new sitting area in Union Square Park. But the caption fails to state that this “amenity” replaces the popular sand-lot playground the Parks Department unceremoniously destroyed without notice to the public and without first bringing the matter to Community Board 5, as it is required to do.

True, there is a new playground north of this site (replacing two other small playgrounds) with many interesting pieces of equipment, but it is very crowded, especially on sunny weekends, and it lacks apparatus designed for particular age groups. This playground has only six swings, but they are toddler swings for youngsters who have to be pushed — there’s nothing for older kids who can pump themselves on the swings and love doing it. (Note that swings were destroyed in the aforementioned sand-lot play area.)

Further, there are no facilities in the new playground for children with disabilities.

Not only has Parks eliminated much-needed outdoor play space, but it now seeks to deprive children of what should be a sheltered recreation space in the pavilion. Long used in the past for both recreational and free-speech purposes, the building is described in early blueprints and maps as the “children’s” pavilion.

Now, despite the fact that Union Square Park serves a growing residential area, despite the fact that there are 18 eating places right on the square and more than 100 within a couple of blocks, Parks wants to privatize this much-needed pavilion and turn it over to a high-priced restaurant.

The public’s rights are in danger of being usurped. We must not allow this to happen. Find out what you can do to stop this rape of parkland by going to the May 22 annual meeting of the Union Square Community Coalition.
Carol Greitzer

Mercer buildings are tall already

To The Editor:
Re “N.Y.U. proposal getting better — but not good enough” (talking point, by Judy Paul and Noam Dworman, May 3):

The authors write that the “Zipper Building” and the Mercer “Boomerang Building” “should be lowered to match the heights of the buildings on the east side of Mercer St.” I agree that new buildings should not clash with pre-existing buildings, and I would be strongly opposed to tall buildings on streets like W. 11th St. However, 230 Mercer St., on the east side of the street between Bleecker and W. Third Sts., and 192 Mercer St., on Mercer’s east side between Houston and Bleecker Sts., are 12 stories tall. I don’t know what Paul and Dworman are referring to.

An article in the September 2011 issue of Scientific American entitled “Street-Savvy” tells us: “Because city residents rely less on cars and live in more compact dwellings than suburbanites, they tend to leave smaller carbon footprints.” Tall buildings are good for one’s health.
George Jochnowitz

N.Y.U. is spaced out

To The Editor:
N.Y.U. started out asking for the sun, the moon and the stars.

Now they’re only asking for the sun and the moon.

When will they come down to earth?
Gordon Leavitt

Sasaki’s second half

To The Editor:
Re “Give me an ‘S’!…” (letter, by Milton Polsky, May 3):

Well done, Dr. Polsky! To complete your acronym:

Guard    Against      Rapacious   Developers who would   Eviscerate  Natural wonders!
George Wonder

Most don’t know Sasaki

To The Editor:
Re “In tight budget times, green spaces are flourishing” (Progress Report, by Rich Caccappolo, April 26):

I really enjoyed Rich Caccappolo’s article about green spaces in our area. He did omit one green space that most people don’t know, and that is Sasaki Garden. This is the inner courtyard in Washington Square Village (between Bleecker and W. Third Sts.) and there is public access. It’s beautiful, perfect for quiet contemplation or reading.
Eve Cholmar

Finding ‘The Way Forward’

To The Editor:
Re “Cooper students, alumni tout ways to avoid tuition” (news article, May 3):

Faculty and staff were also participants in the process to create the document. And prominent faculty — some alumni, some not — joined the panel, too. It was mentioned that many alumni return to teach as adjunct professors and visiting artists, which is a form of service to the school, if you consider how much qualified adjunct professors earn.

You could consider David Gersten a triple threat — an alumnus, a teacher and an interim dean of the architecture school, a protégé of John Hejduk. Gersten quoted Hejduk thusly (paraphrasing), “Guard the doors. Keep the good things in and keep the bad things out.”

Thanks for this excellent coverage. The event was not in reaction to the announcement two days prior. In fact, it is possible the announcement was timed to pre-empt publicity about the planned protest and the publication of “The Way Forward.”

Reliable sources indicate that the task force’s “interim report” was specifically intended not to be the final recommendations, and that feedback from the community was supposed to be a part of the task force process, too.
Barry Drogin

Trying to keep Cooper free 

To The Editor:
Re “Cooper students, alumni tout ways to avoid tuition” (news article, May 3):

A few corrections:

The protests and statue incident occurred not on April 26, but on April 25, the day between President Bharucha’s announcement and the Friends of Cooper Union event.

Jesse Kreuzer and Henry Chapman are concerned alumni, not Cooper graduate students. There are currently about 25 graduate students per year at The Cooper Union. The programs that Jesse and Henry attended will not be affected by the decision to charge tuition to graduate students.

Students and alumni are concerned that an expanded, tuition-based master’s program would damage the school’s reputation and hinder the current undergraduate programs.
Ethan Elenberg
Elenberg is a Cooper Union student (Electrical Engineering ’12)

Up to his old tricks

To The Editor:
Re “‘Torah thief rabbi’ claim doesn’t have a prayer in court” (news article, May 3):

This is the same “I am a member” game “Rabbi” Welz tried to pull off at the Eighth St. Shul. Again, his interest was only the value of the real estate.
Clayton Patterson

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One Response to Letters, Week of May 9, 2012

  1. Sylvia Rackow

    re:"Mercer buildings are tall already" by George P. is misleading (as usual). NYU is very inconsiderate of its neighbors on Mercer (including when building between 3rd & 4th St's regeneration plant, destroying trees and occupying public land.The "Boomerang" and "Zipper" bldgs tower over their neighbors to the east. blocking sun and air. NYU may get caught in its own zipper as it seeks to commercialize the residential area and build a hotel (profit hungry???) Off with the tops of their buildings!

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