Letters, Week of Feb. 14, 2013

Says Durst plan has no park space

To The Editor:
Re “Geballe wins Round 1” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Feb. 7):

Yes, the Durst plan proposes to “adaptively reuse” Pier 40 — but unfortunately by converting the pier’s wonderful courtyard space into a massive new parking garage. There will be no park space on the pier. Sports fields will be relegated to “publicly accessible private space” on the roof of a massive commercial development.

The Durst plan depends on $65 per square foot for 400,000 square feet of offices, while rents in the sought-after and convenient Chelsea and Hudson Square areas, with good transportation and lots of places to lunch, are 20 percent less. So when office tenants at these rents are not available, developers will have to bring in the same kinds of massive destination retail projects that have been rejected by our community twice before.

The Pier 40 Champions’ idea is offered by groups in your neighborhoods that provide sports activities for more than 5,000 children. It is not a developer’s proposal, but an effort to start the conversation about the opportunities of this 15-acre treasure: to protect and grow the space for youth sports; to designate at least 60 percent of the pier for park use only; to open up river views and access; and to minimize the impacts of commercial uses. Your opinion is important. Please take a very careful look at what people are proposing before you form yours. Visit http://pier40champions.org .
Tobi Bergman
Bergman is president, P3 (Pier Park & Playground Association), a member of the Pier 40 Champions group

A worthy Koch tribute

To The Editor:
Nice job on The Villager’s memorial issue to Edward Irving Koch, which covered him from the alpha (Koch’s authenticity) through the omega (his seeming omnipresence).

As anticipated, the paper delivered a tribute — including some intriguing insider perspectives — worthy of a sometimes controversial, overall well-loved, three-term mayor with an outsized personality, who boasted of strong roots in Greenwich Village. Kudos!
Susan M. Silver

The gateway to privatization

To The Editor:
Re “City plans to lease NYCHA sites for luxury development” (news article, Feb. 7):

This is just the foot in the door to ultimately privatize public housing and evict the poor from a rapidly gentrifying New York City.

It’s no accident that these initial projects are in Manhattan, many them set for housing developments with water views. Don’t doubt for a moment that this is anything other than the opening step in getting the poor out of these neighborhoods and out of the city altogether.
Michael Fiorillo

A falafel is not free speech

To The Editor:
Re “Restrict vendors? Think again” (letter, by Robert Lederman, Feb. 7):

Robert Lederman is correct to question the number of street fairs in our area, which are recommended for approval too often by Community Board 2, but more to the point, approved with few if any exceptions by the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO).

However, Mr. Lederman is incorrect to blame either C.B. 2 or the Broadway Residents Coalition for the proposed Broadway Soho Business Improvement District. When he was formerly C.B. 2 chairperson, state Senator Brad Hoylman testified before the City Council Land Use Committee on Nov. 20, 2012, against the BID plan, and C.B. 2 voted unanimously not once but twice against the BID.

Representatives of Assemblymember Deborah Glick’s and state Senator Daniel Squadron’s offices delivered testimony against the BID, not for it, with Councilmember Margaret Chin being the only elected representative standing for it. At that same City Council hearing, it was the Broadway Residents Coalition that presented the greatest wealth of research, documentation and argumentation decidedly against, not for, the proposed Broadway Soho BID.

Finally, Mr. Lederman conflates “street artists” with the “larger food vendors” that are the main focus of C.B. 2’s resolution and the coalition’s efforts. The First Amendment rights of artists that Mr. Lederman has worked so hard for do not extend to food vendors: A falafel is not a speech act or any other form of creative expression within the legal meaning of that term.

On the other hand, many of the Broadway residents who struggle through the turmoil on our sidewalks are working artists, some certified, others not. Do they not have a right to a safe, healthy, and reasonably stress-free environment?
Georgette Fleischer

Larry just exuded positivity

To The Editor:
Re “Larry Selman, ‘Collector of Bedford St.,’ dies at 70” (obituary, Jan. 31):

I recall Larry coming by my sidewalk photo display on West Broadway and hanging out. He had a very sweet disposition and was always entertaining to talk to. It’s interesting to note that when he was hanging out, it seemed like more people would stop to look at my photos. Of course this made it easy to contribute to whatever cause he was promoting. Few people on this planet exude such a strong sense of magic and positivity as Larry did.
Lawrence White

Alternative culture is dead

To The Editor:
Re “Creative pioneers under assault on the new L.E.S.” (Clayton, Jan. 24):

It’s not just the Lower East Side. Rents have skyrocketed all over the city, including even the mega-lousy outer boroughs. I used to live in the East Village and it had a good community feel to it with like-minded artists and other unusual people that helped each other. There is no place like that at all anymore and no one place that alternative culture can thrive in the city, and as a result there is nothing useful here anymore and culture is dead — just as it is throughout the rest of the country. The residents in the Village supported the creative efforts of so many, but now all local support is gone, since there is nothing “local” left.
Jason Ledyard

Fighting for the right to stay

To The Editor:
Re “Creative pioneers under assault on the new L.E.S.” (Clayton, Jan. 24):

Clayton, thank you for this article. All of this holds true. My mother and I have endured all of Ben Shaoul’s nastiness so far on Fourth St., with his renovations to our building and all of the dust and noise that went along with it. My former neighbor and longtime, childhood friend Alex, got kicked out of my building because Ben wanted more money, and apparently also because it was his mother’s second residence.

My neighbor Joy, who is still in our building, had to go through all of that same crap that we had to, but it was ten times worse for her.

F— those greedy landlords! We will continue to go on and support the remaining artists and poets alike. We are relics of this neighborhood and we will fight for our right to stay!
Hugh Burkhardt

Art and cats are his world

To The Editor:
Re “Creative pioneers under assault on the new L.E.S.” (Clayton, Jan. 24):

One of the most important things is that Taylor must be able to keep his beloved cats. His art and his cats are his world when you come right down to it and he must have both to stay alive.
Anne Ardolino

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