Volume 76, Number 33 | January 10 - 16, 2007

Letters to the editor

We need a park, not tourists

To The Editor:
Re “‘People’s Pier’ vs. Performing Arts Center for Pier 40” (news article, Dec. 27):

While I expect that there will be a full public process regarding the redevelopment of Pier 40, I imagine that most neighborhood residents would agree that The Related Companies’ Performing Arts Center proposal is deeply troubling. The proposal focuses on creating a major tourist destination within the Hudson River Park segment located in the most park-starved neighborhood in the city.

New York City is already home to some of the most significant tourist destinations in the world, including Times Square, Broadway theaters and the World Trade Center site, which is certain to draw even more visitors once the permanent memorial is completed. The one thing our city is not lacking is attractions for tourists, as evidenced by the constant flow of tourists and tour buses throughout the neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan.
More than tourists, we need active and passive recreation space. Any redevelopment of Pier 40 must ensure that access to playing fields for local children and space for the passive enjoyment by neighborhood residents is paramount. In weighing the possibilities for the pier, we must keep in mind that although the park is a draw for visitors from within and outside of the city, it is, above and beyond all else, a much-needed neighborhood park.

Deborah J. Glick
Glick is assemblymember for the 66th District


Pier 40 works well now

To The Editor:
Re “ ‘People’s Pier’ vs. Performing Arts Center for Pier 40” (news article, Dec. 27):

There may be no better example of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” than Pier 40, object of a multitude of schemes to make it much, much better than it is. But what is it, exactly, that needs to be improved?

The huge center courtyard, so long an underused truck-parking facility, is now a green, well-lit athletic field, where kids and young adults come from all over the city to play soccer and softball from morning to night. The nicely run parking operation generates, it’s said, $5 million annually for the park — most of it, I’ll wager, from the vehicles owned by city residents, like me, who don’t have much choice anymore about where to put their cars now that developers have done away with so many parking lots hereabouts and on-street parking has become unfeasible.

It’s easy enough to say that cars don’t belong in Manhattan; but what are we car owners supposed to do on weekends when we need to get to our retreats far away from tourists and shoppers? Take a taxi? Hire a limo? Move to the suburbs? Forget it!

Gene Epstein


E.R. in critical condition

To The Editor:
Re “St. Vincent’s prognosis may include new building” (news article, Dec. 27):

Mr. Guy Sansone said in the article last week that St. Vincent’s managed to keep its affiliated doctors. Sorry, but that is not true.

St. Vincent’s E.R. was run with kindness, gentleness and efficiency, not like it is now — an assembly line. The E.R.’s director and associate director, two great doctors, were let go due to downsizing. Also, other great doctors were let go.

Please, Mr. Sansone — the “bigwigs” do not know how to run a hospital, because they are not doctors. I’m sure your salary alone could pay for the renovations.

Marianne Salerno


Wasn’t a silent night

To The Editor:
I’m still steaming with anger over what Grace Church did to me and my neighbors on Christmas Eve, and it’s not the first time they’ve done it. I mean the noise — the loud blaring of the church’s bells in the middle of the night, here in the midst of a residential neighborhood. If there was still a New York Herald Tribune, and if I were still its Editorial Page editor (I was its last one; it died in 1966), I’d probably be doing this as an accusatory editorial. But since I no longer have that forum, let me put it directly.

I don’t think Reverend J. Donald Waring would appreciate it if someone kept banging loudly on an empty garbage can directly under his bedroom window at night, and kept doing it until 1 a.m. That’s the direct equivalent of what you did to your neighbors on Christmas Eve, and you also did the same thing last year. When I turned in at around 11 o’clock, the church’s bells were ringing out loud Christmas carols, which made it difficult to get to sleep, though I finally did. But at least they were musical. But then came the awful sequel, the very same identical one I’d had to endure last year: an endless string, obviously automated, of the same five or six notes, monotonously, maddeningly and rapidly repeated over and over again, at high volume, until they practically drove me nuts.

Precisely on the dot at 1 a.m. the blaring stopped, blessedly. But I was still so angry that I couldn’t get back to sleep, and it wasn’t until 2:30 a.m. — Christmas morning — that I finally managed to. All thanks to the contempt that Grace Church apparently feels toward the comfort of its neighbors, and toward their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes.

The church may consider this making a joyful noise unto the Lord. I call it making an offensive noise unto the ears of those who need their sleep. I also call it an act of arrogant disregard for the normal decencies of civilized life.

I consider Grace Church itself an architectural treasure and a precious asset to the neighborhood, and its carillon a Sunday morning pleasure. But that doesn’t excuse gratuitously poisoning the night with intrusive noise that no one can escape.

Raymond K. Price


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