A Pyrrhic victory against Pepsi, etc.
To The Editor:
Mayor Bloomberg has announced that he’s trying to pass a law limiting the size of sugared drinks able to be sold in the city in an attempt to “fight obesity.” I wonder if achieving a third term in office has caused him to confuse his job description: It’s mayor, not dictator.
As well-meaning as this quest for leaving a legacy might be, even if he manages to pass such a law, it would be a Pyrrhic victory at best. As was pointed out to me by a friend who is diabetic and doesn’t even drink sugared drinks, “So if somebody really wants to have a larger drink, all they have to do is buy two of them!”
Subways are the solution
To The Editor:
Re “For whom the bridge tolls: Why not East River spans?” (news article, May 24):
The four free East River bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch Queensboro bridges) cross from one historic, built-up area to another. Charging tolls would mean building toll plazas. Currently, these bridges have many separate entrances for vehicles coming from different directions. Toll plazas would necessitate razing part of the city.
The way to cut automobile traffic is to provide alternatives — in particular, subways. New York has considerably less traffic than, say, Los Angeles, because of the wonderful subway system, most of which was built between 1904 and 1940.
We need to finish the Second Ave. line. We need to extend the No. 7 train to 11th Ave. and 34th St. — and maybe even to New Jersey. Subways should be our priority.
Hawk whodunit: Band or squirrel?
To The Editor:
Re “Young ‘reality show raptors’ get ready to wing it” (news article, May 24):
Bobby Horvath, the well-known wildlife rehabber, made it very clear that the band on Violet’s leg had nothing to do with her leg’s infection or amputation or her death. Violet had a bite on the leg, probably from a squirrel, an injury common among hawks. The infection worsened and the amputation was an attempt to save her life. She died, according to the necropsy, of heart failure.
A local group opposed to bird banding has continued to foist the falsehood that Violet’s band was the source of her leg ailment. The raptor biologist John Blakeman explained this was not true repeatedly on The New York Times Hawk Cam chat site.
Don’t rock the boat(ers)
To The Editor:
The Village Community Boathouse occupies a space on the south side of Pier 40, where we have been in one form or another for more than 15 years. We build and row traditional wooden rowboats, which we use to fulfill our mission of providing free public access to the New York Harbor estuary.
Last year we took more than 1,500 people out on voyages in the harbor, including local high school and college students. The Downtown Boathouse also has a boathouse at Pier 40 where they provided free kayaking to 10,500 people last year alone.
It appears that the Hudson River Park Trust does not fully recognize the true value of Pier 40 to the waterfront community and the public. The Hudson River Park Act calls for using the pier to generate funds to support the rest of the park. The proposals that I am aware of call for placing commercial, revenue-producing enterprises on the pier. However, none of the plans recognizes or exploits the physical features of the pier that make it uniquely suited to human-powered boating.
Sheltered from wakes, currents and the wind, the pier’s south side embayment is ideal for running beginner and/or children’s boating programs. The water is warm and deep, and the embayment has no blind spots. In addition, the promenade on Pier 40 runs the full length of the embayment, making it easy to supervise rowers on the water.
As a result of the shape, bulk, mass and orientation of Pier 40, the pier’s south side has a unique microclimate that is found nowhere else on the Manhattan waterfront. The massive structure of Pier 40 causes it to block the cold northerly winds. Being heavy causes it to absorb a lot of sunlight during the day, which is then radiated back as heat during the early evening. The perceived temperature increase is often more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit, giving the promenade a festive, beach-like atmosphere in the summer months.
As various plans are considered for Pier 40, I hope that the Hudson River Park Trust will recognize the gem that is Pier 40 and that human-powered boating is part of the plan for the south embayment.
Curtis is president, Village Community Boathouse
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