Volume 76, Number 34 | January 17 - 23, 2007

Letters to the editor

Mayor’s spinning our wheels

To The Editor:
Mayor Bloomberg’s admonishing city cyclists to “pay attention to cars” (“Wheel deal,” Scoopy’s Notebook, Dec. 27) is like Joe Torre telling Yankee batters to pay attention to the guy on the pitcher’s mound with the ball. Duh, we’re already doing it.

Unfortunately, the subject of the mayor’s off-key advice wasn’t a game, but the real-life (or death) matter of getting around New York City by bicycle.

Car and truck drivers killed 14 bike riders in New York City in 2006, including two on the Hudson River greenway — the supposedly car-free venue where Bloomberg dispensed his advice. Though the mayor didn’t say so, most fatal bike crashes involve errors by car or truck drivers, such as drivers’ failing to yield or aggressive passing.

I bicycled some 3,000 miles last year, including 250 miles carrying my 8-year-old on his little seat bolted in front of mine. We cyclists don’t need to be reminded to concentrate on the traffic jungle. What cyclists and all New Yorkers need is for the mayor to concentrate on his job and enforce laws against driver speeding, tailgating and bullying.

Charles Komanoff


Dormed if you do or don’t

To The Editor:
Re “East Village seems dormed; Landmark will be converted” (news article, Jan. 3):

I can’t figure out whether Andrew Berman is the Villager’s pet source or a weekly columnist who phones in stories to a cabal of hokey rewrite men and women. This article, adorned with witty turns of phrase like “Village of the Dormed” and “dormification fraternity,” reports that Berman is worried about a permit application filed by Herbert Hirsch Enterprises, owner of the former Cabrini Stuyvesant Polyclinic. He hasn’t seen the application yet, so he doesn’t know if it’s inappropriate — but, gosh darn it, it includes the words “student dormitory,” so it’s probably going to be upsetting. The Villager cannot even name the university that would lease the dormitory, but it’s still news, based on two words and a vague expansion plan (which Berman claims wouldn’t be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission anyway).

I’m a New York University student, and I’m confused by community attitudes towards my classmates. Sometimes we’re noisy booze hounds, dripping vodka and vomiting hundred dollar bills into the hands of greedy landlords. We move into Village apartments, driving up rents and waking elderly neighbors with our Dionysian orgies. We do the impossible and gentrify the gentrified. Other times, we’re hated for living in university housing. There, we are separated from the community, but our monolithic gray residence halls block wonderfully pristine views of the Lower East Side. It’s as if you want to exile N.Y.U. students to the far reaches of Long Island. Oh wait, you do — or at least Andrew Berman does.

The truth is, most N.Y.U. students are pretty humble. We just want an education, and we don’t really want to piss anyone off in the process. But it’s jarring to hear N.Y.U. blamed for all of the community’s problems, from ugly architecture and rising rent to loud noise and a raucous nightlife. Greenwich Village has always been known as an intellectually vibrant artists’ community that knows how to party. Most of us N.Y.U. kids just came to soak some of that up before we’re snapped back to our middle-class realities.

M.P. Devlin
Devlin is a columnist and opinion editor at the Washington Square News


Recipe for disaster

To The Editor:
According to the draft scoping document for a draft environmental assessment statement for the consolidated Sanitation garage for Manhattan Districts 1, 2 and 5, the Department of Sanitation proposes to store 29,000 gallons of petroleum products on D.O.S.’s proposed new refueling facility at Canal, West and Spring Sts.

Currently, Sanitation District 1 is located at this site with 8,550 gallons of stored petroleum products. The new consolidated garage would be an increase of 10,450 gallons of petroleum products stored on site. This site is adjacent to the Port Authority’s Holland Tunnel and the tunnel’s ventilation shaft.

The proposed new garage on the UPS site is adjacent to the tunnel and the proposed new refueling site. The proposed UPS site will have another 13,000 gallons of petroleum products stored on site. An explosion on these sites would be catastrophic to the Holland Tunnel, businesses, residents, pedestrian traffic, the streets, Route 9A, the Hudson River Park and Pier 40. All of these are within 800 feet of the proposed facilities.

I can only wonder what the Port Authority and Homeland Security would say to the siting of these D.O.S. facilities.

The loss of 251 parking spaces in the garage on Clarkson and Washington Sts. — for a new salt storage site — would also affect businesses and residents.

According to New York City Hurricane Evacuation Zones, the proposed sites are either in an A or B zone. The current D.O.S. site and the UPS site are in Zone A. Zone A would experience strong storm surges and flooding if any hurricane hit off New York City. Zone B would experience strong storm surges and flooding if a Category 2 through 5 hurricane hit off New York City. Remember Katrina!

I urge all who live in this area to come to the public scoping meeting on Wed., Jan. 31, at Kimmel Hall, New York University, 60 Washington Square South, Rosenthal Pavilion, 10th floor, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Ellen Peterson-Lewis


Weiss let us down on toll

To The Editor:
Re “Time to back up: Fix Verrazano toll” (editorial, Jan. 10):

While you recount the history of the establishment of the one-way Verrazano Bridge toll in 1986, you omitted mention of our then-five-term representative in Congress, Ted Weiss. The two people who steered it through Congress were Republicans: Congressmember Guy Molinari and Senator Al D’Amato. Although having a Democratic Congress, Weiss was impotent in his efforts to stop this bill. This despite the fact that his district was the only one negatively affected by the change. Weiss was so far left of even the most liberal Democrats that he was powerless to affect any legislation.

Harry Malakoff


E-mail letters, not longer than 350 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel.

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