Volume 75, Number 32 | Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, 2005


Wishes for 2006

As another year draws to a close and we move further onward into the new century, it gives pause to reflect on important issues that we’ve covered in the past year and to look ahead to how these and others that may emerge will play out in the year to come.

In this part of town, preserving a low-scale, livable neighborhood is a top priority. Last year saw historic gains. A major downzoning of the far West Village was approved, while two new historic districts are heading toward designation. To preserve the integrity of the new zoning and expected landmarking, however, we urge that the Department of Buildings and Board of Standards and Appeals not allow inappropriate projects, like the one on the Superior Inks site, the Arman Building at Canal and Greenwich Sts., Julian Schnabel’s 10-story addition on W. 11th St. or the rooftop addition and sliver tower at Perry and Charles Sts., respectively, to go forward. Also, the glass sheathing proposed for the new building at the Superior Inks site is not contextual with the Village; spare us a glittering Astor Pl. “squiggle tower” on the waterfront.

We’re eager to see City Planning move ahead with a contextual rezoning of the East Village and Lower East Side. As for the old P.S. 64, the Landmarks Preservation Commission must hold the designation hearing it promised — and expeditiously landmark this key historic structure. And the even more historic St. Brigid’s Church should be saved and put to constructive community use.

We’ll be watching to see how well New York University’s new campus planning chief, Sharon Greenberger, listens to the community and if the university will finally end its destructive tradition of building supersized, unattractive dormitories and facilities, shredding the Village’s fragile fabric.

The Washington Square Park renovation should proceed. But we agree with the Fine Arts Federation of New York, and hope that the Arts Commission will also agree, that the fountain should stay put. As the federation stated on Aug. 3: “The current location of the fountain is historical, relevant and, as records indicate, was even accepted as part of a harmonious landscape composition by both White and Vaux.”

In Hudson River Park, after their new supplemental training, we look forward to more sensitive PEP officers.

We hope Scott Stringer, the new Manhattan borough president, fulfills his pledges to reform the community boards, making them more transparent while nipping conflicts of interest in the bud before they fester; and putting resources into planning expertise at the community board level.

Mayor Bloomberg and the State Liquor Authority both need to understand that residents and nightlife should be able to co-exist without adversely impacting each other. We’d like City Hall to start thinking about sensible solutions to this worsening problem and the S.L.A. to start respecting community boards’ recommendations on where new liquor licenses should be approved or denied.

We know this list — addressed to our municipal and state governments and agencies, the borough president and N.Y.U. — is a tall order. We’re aiming high because we believe great things can be accomplished. Here’s looking forward to success — and to peace and prosperity in 2006.

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