Letters, Week of May 17, 2012

Trust wants to ‘milk’ Pier 40

 To The Editor:
Re “Glick says Trust is using scare tactics on Pier 40” (news article, May 10):

As an experienced architect, I believe the $100 million required renovation estimate for the pier is a complete fiction. This seems a scare tactic to force decisions upon our community. Pier 40 generates 40 percent of Hudson River Park’s revenue and the Trust needs $200 million to finish the Park. There you have it!

Pier 40 is a potential cash cow for the Trust, to be leveraged to pay for the rest of the park. The pier needs work, but I haven’t see any indication it’s about to fall into the river. I believe they just want to get our kids and cars out so they can make more money off of Pier 40.
William Rogers

The ‘goal’ is in sight

To The Editor:
Re “High-rises on the Hudson? Let’s think this through” (Deborah Glick, talking point, May 10):

Thank you, Assemblymember Glick, for the quick and sensible calming of the waters. Whenever a so-called solution becomes presented as “a done deal” (the usual anti-labor tactic), or as “the only alternative,” you know it’s trouble. Couple this with the fact that we have a “confidential” study, ostensibly funded by the youth leagues (where is the transparency — they exist on public property?), and it all adds up to the usual brutal development and luxury housing tactics.

They smell blood, and now they are making their move. So, we Villagers and other Community Board 2 residents might as well get ready to be vilified as NIMBY and anti-just-about-everything-else.

At one end, Assemblymember Glick and others rightfully look for a solution that keeps the space completely park and recreation. At the other, developers want the pier, and somehow have hooked the youth leagues into supporting their efforts.

Meanwhile, we who support Major League Soccer hope that the soccer stadium proposal will be considered as a park- and sports-friendly middle ground. MLS seems prepared to act cooperatively and transparently with the neighborhoods for an honest combination of open-space design and financial practicalities, including keeping the current youth-leagues footprint or better.

The youth leagues are saying nothing about general park space for the rest of us, above and beyond their current use of the pier. MLS, I’m sure, will address this because they need us as much as we need them. One thing we all know for certain: An industry that does not care about whether or not we have a hospital does not care about youth sports.

The youth leagues have put their heads in the lion’s mouth, offering trust to a tenant whose residents will eventually box them in and further privatize the pier once they have a stranglehold. Luxury tenants will fuss about noise, lights and access from the get-go.

Perhaps, for some of you, suddenly a low-rise and modest stadium isn’t seeming like such a bad idea? This neighborhood has major events year-round; soccer will seem like a blip compared to the loss of Pier 40 to the usual gang.

Let’s finish this this time. Find a solution, make an agreement, make a compromise. Now.
Patrick Shields

N.Y.U. is too big already

To The Editor:
As a resident of Washington Square Village and a tenured member of the faculty at N.Y.U. (Dramatic Writing, Tisch), I am concerned that so many opponents of this terrible plan advocate compromise. I believe the 2031 plan should be defeated with no compromise.

N.Y.U. is already too big for the Village. Its students are burdened with the highest student loan debt of any university in the country because of the sky-high tuition. The university has frozen faculty salaries but continues to raise tuition and increase class size. Sexton’s plan is about shameless greed. He is a hypocrite. If he cared about students, faculty, education or the future of Greenwich Village, he would raise money for scholarships, increase faculty salaries, lower tuition and move some divisions of the university out of the Village.

N.Y.U.’s cynical land grab is already destroying Greenwich Village. Every few weeks another purple banner goes up outside another building. Inside, the building is stripped down to look like another corporate office.

Robert Moses was stopped from destroying Soho and Tribeca. Sexton’s cynical greed can be stopped, too.
Elizabeth Diggs

‘99 percent’ back Chou

To The Editor:
Re “Shuang Wen principal gets canned as probe drags on” (news article, May 10):

When it comes to Shuang Wen School, 99 percent of the parents unequivocally support ex-Principal Ling Ling Chou. What she did with the school and the students was simply amazing. With 70 percent of the students coming from low-income families, the school consistently placed in the top of the state in statewide tests.

In addition, last year, out of a graduating eighth grade class of 65, around 10 students got accepted to Stuyvesant High School and many others went to equally prestigious high schools.

The appreciation of the parents for what Principal Chou achieved is unmistakable in the outpouring of support for her at every interview, every press release and every court appearance.

The Department of Education, however, for whatever reason, is using the accusations from the other 1 percent of parents as a platform to launch a campaign of suppression and intimidation against Principal Chou and against 99 percent of the parents.

D.O.E. has repeatedly raided the school office, searching for the slightest trace of wrongdoing. D.O.E. has pulled students out of the classroom for interrogation — and now it threatens to terminate Principal Chou’s employment and pension.
David Ho

Destroying principal’s life

To The Editor:
Re “Shuang Wen principal gets canned as probe drags on” (news article, May 10):

The Department of Education continues to malign, dehumanize and destroy the lives of hard-working and conscientious educators like Ms. Chou.

When did we rewrite our Constitution? Punishment before due process? Ms. Chou deserves all the rights afforded to her as a citizen. Give them to her!
Carla Ryan

Chou could teach Walcott

To The Editor:
Re “Shuang Wen principal gets canned as probe drags on” (news article, May 10):

Parents know Ling Ling Chou succeeded where most school principals failed. She created a top-rated school in a struggling school district. Meanwhile, we also know that Schools Chancellor Walcott presented no solutions to a failing school system that is letting down our next generation of citizens.

Why is the media so embracing of Walcott? Why not ask him why he is targeting Ms. Ling Ling Chou? How can Walcott have James Boyer “investigate” Ling Ling and the school when Boyer is a named defendant in the lawsuit filed by the parents and Ling Ling Chou for Boyer’s outright, biased remarks toward the school? How can such an investigation have any credibility?
Joane Wong

Bring ‘The Sphere’ home

To The Editor:
The piece of sculptural art (and piece of our history) that has become known as “The Sphere” should be placed permanently at the new World Trade Center Freedom Tower site. This unique piece of art was an inspiring part of our city before the 9/11 attacks that it ultimately survived. Clearly, it should assume the same position now.

I also am not opposed to a restoration of the sculpture so that it could be seen in its original state. It’s appropriate to remove the scars left by the acts of terrorists.

However, as an artist who experienced the 9/11 attacks first-hand, I find it to be totally inappropriate to consider removing this highly symbolic piece of art from its home turf to a remote hangar. Frankly, I find the idea to be abhorrent. I hope more creative and reverent minds prevail and that the sculpture is simply allowed to go home.
Lawrence White 

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