Volume 76, Number 7 | July 5 - 11, 2006

Letters to the editor

Do circus reports to the max

To The Editor:
Thank you for the front-page story regarding Councilmember Rosie Mendez’s bill that would ban exotic animals from circuses performing in New York City (“Mendez cracks whip on use of wild animals in circuses,” news article, June 14).

Animals are horribly abused by circuses — how else could a wild animal be constantly forced to do “tricks”? Thankfully, 300 U.S. cities have banned exotic animals from circuses. Let’s hope New York City will be 301!

Thanks again for your coverage, and please do more! My husband, artist Peter Max, and I are sure that we don’t speak just for ourselves in saying that we want to be kept updated on this issue.

Mary and Peter Max
 

Reader says, shame

To The Editor:
Re “High Line Living” (Scoopy’s Notebook, June 28):

And what is a reporter doing mingling with developers, ugly people and bought-off politicians? Over the years, Amateau has been a solid reporter, but in the last few years, The Villager has become much more of an apologist for developers and people like Chris Quinn. Chances are Amateau wrote the Scoopy’s snippet, and if so, he’s reporting on himself. Isn’t that the kind of nonsense we expect from the corporate media?

Maybe it was the game hen.

Shame on you, Al.

John Fisher


Recycle plan dangerous

To The Editor:
Once again, efforts are underway to eliminate state protection for park use of the historic Gansevoort Peninsula at Little W. 12th St. (“Quinn talks trash; backs Gansevoort transfer site,” news article, June 7). This is to accommodate confused plans for a large marine transfer station to move wastes, with day and night shifts.

The planners misrepresented the situation in the project’s environmental impact statement by using an obsolete site plan, with the earlier elevated highway and no waterfront park. It shows easy truck access to the peninsula. But the current situation would be too hazardous to be acceptable.

In 35-mile-per-hour traffic, trucks would need to leave the highway while making a curve, with vision of pedestrians and baby carriages blocked from the north. With no space to spare, the trucks would stop in traffic and be rammed from the rear, or continue at highway speed while making a sharp right turn. They could likely flip over, hit pedestrians or both.

Those in charge of planning the facility admitted at a public hearing that the situation was dangerous, but continued anyway. Their “solution” is to use a motion sensor, with no explanation of how the device could be safe or practical, or how it would relay information to drivers in traffic. And a guard positioned to watch for pedestrians would also be out of view of drivers.

When a southbound yellow cab on the highway was making a turn at Houston St. on June 11, with stoplights and a place to wait, there was a fatal collision with another cab. Compared to that, what could be expected from a motion detector?

We were told that the Gansevoort Peninsula was chosen for the new marine transfer station because one had been there before, which makes it easier to get approval. But would a sane planner use a site where people are likely to be hit because “it’s easier to get approval”?

City legislation requires that rail transport be studied as an alternative to using the marine transfer station with barges, a requirement that was only superficially considered. (Obvious sites with space for side rails were not included.) Rail options could have multiple collection points, without costly construction required. Truck traffic would be reduced to a fraction while diminishing diesel pollution. Safer, with environmentally sound solutions. Two more advantages: No night dumping a few feet from the Gansevoort fireboat facility, which would keep the firemen awake. And maybe the planners would sleep better without creating hazards for park users.

Bill Hine


Bridge over troubled bike path

To The Editor:
Regarding Christine Quinn’s stance on increasing the use of the waste transfer station south of Pier 54 (“Quinn talks trash; backs Gansevoort transfer site,” news article, June 7):

I see her point, in that each community must shoulder its share of the burden on waste removal. However, recycling trucks entering the facility at grade crossing on the Hudson bike path spells disaster. Either have trucks enter only from a dedicated lane with a mandatory stop on southbound West St. or have the bike path pass over the entrance/exit to the facility. At this time, trucks turning into the facility from the southbound lane of West St. are free to cross the path with impunity while path users have a green light. The stoplight system for path users is a failure; there are too many unjustified disruptions, so users ignore them. A smart light with the above situation might work. Separating both streams of traffic with an under-/overpass would work best. Path users would have to put up with the incline, but safety is the prime concern here. The deal should include funds for this. If not, Quinn is selling the community short and someone will surely die before the problem is rectified. 

Hank Schiffman
Schiffman is ride librarian, New York Cycle Club


Cry me a river of sushi

To The Editor:
Re “Sushi Samba slips landmarks net for 5 years, maybe is caught” (news article, June 14): 

Are you kidding? Landmarks has a problem with some tents on the roof of Sushi Samba? 

Where were they when the facade got approved? Where were they when Caliente Cab Co. put a 15-foot margarita on their facade? Where were they when Jekyll & Hyde hung skeletons from their parapet? Landmarks’ most recent lack of leadership was to let the stable building on 18th St. and Seventh Ave. that housed Le Madri be torn down. And now they are complaining about some roof tents in an area of Seventh Ave. that has about as much architectural integrity as a strip mall? Where were they when all that crap got built in the first place?

Give me a break.
 
Bill Schwinghammer


Eighth St. will rise again

To The Editor:
Re “W. Eighth St. finds itself behind the eight ball” (news article, June 21):

I was impressed with the vast coverage given to the retail vacancies on W. Eighth St. Having lived here for more than 20 years, I can honestly say, Eighth St. has never looked better!

With all of the new and exciting retailers opening in just the past month, it seems like we are finally on our way to being a vibrant and neighborhood-friendly shopping strip.

Yes, the transformation from a crime-ridden street has been slow. But neighborhoods do not change overnight. Eighth St. had been declining for many years. The renaissance only began after the sidewalks were widened, and attention was focused on its future. Honi Klein deserves kudos for her tremendous contributions. Before the BID came into existence, the street was filthy and unsafe. Area residents avoided the block.

Today, families stroll in and out of all the new shops and anyone can walk here without fear. There are no drug dealers loitering, the streets are cleaner and viable businesses are returning.

Compared to other shopping streets in Lower Manhattan, Eighth St. is a bargain. Retailers here are signing leases for $85 to $105 per square foot. This is substantially lower than almost any other Manhattan neighborhood shopping strip. Eighth St. has had to compete with the likes of a revitalized 14th St., which is commanding retail rents of $150 to $200 per square foot, and Broadway, which has hit record highs of $200 to $250 per square foot.

Eighth St. has already seen the worst of times. What we are now experiencing are its growing pains. In five years, this will all be a memory and Eighth St. will once again be the gateway to the Village.

Adelaide Polsinelli
Polsinelli is board president, 2 Fifth Ave.


Vine did they do it?

To The Editor:
I would like to alert you to the fact that the General Theological Seminary has cut down the lovely wisteria vine that covered the south facade of Sherrill Hall, which has been much in the news recently. The wisteria vines — I think there were actually two of them — were given to the seminary by a neighbor who hoped they would hide the then-new building. They did, indeed, covering the seminary fence and hiding part of the building, and were a joy to the neighbors and to visitors to the neighborhood. Now they are gone.
 
John Wilson




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