Letters, Week of March 7, 2013

Trinity should help existing school

To The Editor:
Re “Rezoning needs landmarking, rec space, critics say” (news article, Feb. 14):

Regarding the City Council hearing on the rezoning of Hudson Square, there is an additional issue, presented at the hearing, that needs to be added to the mix of community “givebacks” in return for the rezoning. This is a commitment from Trinity Real Estate to include an expansion of physical education and other facilities for the N.Y.C. iSchool, a public high school, and the co-located, but separate, Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School.

Located at 131 Avenue of the Americas at Dominick St., the shared school building houses a combined student population of almost 1,000, yet it has no gym and a severely undersized cafeteria. N.Y.C. iSchool’s 450 students have P.E. in a weight room, and Chelsea’s students must use the sloped-floor auditorium and work around its fixed seating. These makeshift facilities are not sufficient to provide all students with the required P.E. time to earn the 54 credit hours each year that the Department of Education requires for graduation.

As a result, many students must arrange for P.E. instruction outside of school hours and at their own expense in order to graduate. Joint school baseball and basketball teams play their “home” games at 135th and 103rd Sts.

Trinity owns the vacant lot behind the schools and any future development must include facilities for

these two schools. This expansion would be in addition to the sorely needed community recreational facility, at nearby Duarte Square, rightly requested by Community Board 2.
Eileen McColgan
McColgan is a parent at N.Y.C. iSchool and a member of its School Leadership Team

No more N.Y.U. land grabs!

To The Editor:
Re “Not strips — but parks” (editorial, Feb. 28):

Thanks for the positive editorial! I was at the courtroom with more than 100 supporters of the lawsuit against N.Y.U. 2031 when Judge Mills ruled on the discovery issue. New York University and the city’s lawyers tried to sidetrack the issue, but Judge Mills was really instructive in her decision. Our community applauds the participants in the lawsuit.

We shall not give up our public parklands to satisfy N.Y.U.’s overly ambitious takeover of more and more of our Village communities. N.Y.U. also grabbed land on Laguardia Place to build Bobst and on Mercer St. for its co-generation plant.

We were very pleased about former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern’s testimony regarding the illegal transfer of our park lands on Mercer St. to N.Y.U.

Many of us were incensed when Councilwoman Chin gave away this strip between Bleecker and Houston Sts. so that N.Y.U. could widen its building. She had promised to protect those public land strips! Can we ever trust her again?

And despite our pleas to Speaker Quinn to save those strips she turned a deaf ear to us. She too is not trustworthy. The City Council is supposed to represent citizens, not institutions.

We thank the participants in the lawsuit. Unlike our elected officials — who’ve given away our hospital and our neighborhoods — they truly care about our Village neighborhood.
Sylvia Rackow
Rackow is chairperson, The Committee to Preserve Our Neighborhoods

O.K., sodas — but now parks?

To The Editor:
Re “Not strips — but parks” (editorial, Feb. 28):

Dear Mr. Mayor Bloomberg, even you admit the land the city gave to N.Y.U. is parkland!

Your name, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is clearly affixed to the official New York City parks signs posted along Mercer St. and LaGuardia Place, along with the New York City flag, the Parks Department flag and the American flag. So, seriously, how can you now say, Oops, it’s not really a park? For sure, John Sexton who walks in the area all the time, knows these strips are parks, since one can’t possibly miss the Parks Department flags and signs.

Mr. Bloomberg, you have spent the last year describing New Yorkers as overweight, and telling us that we need the city to measure our soda cups. But seriously, wouldn’t the logic be that New Yorkers should be outside exercising more? So how can you take the little, open spaces, our parks, and give them away?

From someone who voted for you three times, I am ashamed of you and what you are doing to the citizens of this city, and think you owe us not only an explanation and apology, but also must immediately reverse your actions to give our city parks and open land away.

Explain it to us, so we understand how you can take public parks, public land, and give it to a private corporation — I mean, a private university — to increase its financial portfolio?
Leslye Alexander
Fashion’s Night 2.0? No!

To The Editor:
Re “Fashion’s Night Outta here! Cans event for this year” (news article, Feb. 28):

“I hope that in the future, F.N.O. is more responsive,” Margaret Chin is quoted saying in the article.

The councilmember seems to be the only one who wants this awful event to have a “future.” The fashion blogs and other news blogs all expressed relief that F.N.O. was eliminated.

Chin is certainly out of touch, not only with her constituents, but with the fashion world, including Anna Wintour.
Dierdre Thompson

Hat was where it was at

To The Editor:
Re “Take a bite out of gentrification, eat at El Sombrero” (Clayton, Feb. 28):

That neighborhood is a lost cause. Furthermore, I ate at The Hat probably 100 times in the ’90s and early ’00s, and the food isn’t very good. All it had going for it was location and the fact that us cool kids liked divey places back then, but these kids now don’t. They want the pretendiest fancy that they can afford.
Abe Froman

Beware BID and its Wi-Fi!

To The Editor:
Re “Feeling hot, hot, hot! Union Sq. hotter than ever!”(Progress Report, by Jennifer Falk, Feb. 28):

Are Jennifer Falks’s numerous rave reviews in The Villager about the business improvement district she runs paid ads, or are we to see them as editorial commentary?

This former staffer for Mayor Bloomberg has presided over years of violating artists’ rights and violating the community’s rights to use their own park. Her shilling for corporate and real estate interests would be laudatory if Union Square Park was the private property her Union Square Partnership BID officers keep telling artists it is.

What used to be a world-famous location for labor and other mass protests and  a park that truly celebrated freedom has, under her leadership, devolved into just another piece of commercial real estate ripe for the picking. Helping Danny Meyer and other multimillionaires get richer by exploiting public property is not the purpose of New York City parks.

For me, when one considers the harmful effects of Wi-Fi that are now coming to light, Falk’s BID providing free Wi-Fi in a public park — which will cellularly damage trees, animals and human tissue — pretty much sums up the real effect of the Union Square Partnership on New York City.
Robert Lederman
Lederman is president, ARTIST (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics)

We definitely need the NID

To The Editor:
Re “Is NID really needed, and who asked for it anyway?” (talking point, by Eileen Stukane, Feb. 21):

I am a homeowner in a section of the West Village included in the proposed Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District and I am a member of the NID Steering Committee. I fully support the creation of a neighborhood improvement district to maintain the Hudson River Park we have all come to rely on and love.

The Hudson River Park is a remarkable, beautiful open space that undoubtedly improves the lives of those of us who live in the West Village. The modest assessment proposed is a straightforward measure to help ensure the park continues as a cherished part of our daily lives.

I know the NID takes very seriously its role in providing accurate information, informing the community of the proposal, and incorporating the community’s feedback. I have personally heard voices from all ends of the spectrum in this process — a process that seeks to include, not exclude, those affected by the proposed assessment. This high level of outreach is certainly the case with residential property owners and community members like me. In fact, I hosted a meeting this fall for neighbors to inform them of the proposal and to receive feedback. These types of meetings, both large and small, have been an ongoing process.

The proposed NID is part of an essential effort required to preserve a park that could easily return to the run-down waterfront of a not-so-distant past. It is time for our community to support the NID and protect this truly invaluable community asset.
Kate Bostock-Shefferman

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One Response to Letters, Week of March 7, 2013

  1. "…could easily return to the run-down waterfront…" Well, that's a big fat lie. but I wish it would. I liked it much better then. The sunbathing and people watching was spectacular! Now, the park is an antiseptic, film-studio backlot. It looks so fake. It would a lot nicer, and cheaper to run, if it had any sense of the beauty of simplicity – just paths and grass. What more do you need? What happened to the bohemian area's understanding that everything doesn't have to be world class state of the art?

    NID = gated community through taxation as fences.

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