West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 6 | July 11 - 17, 2007


It’s WIMBY, not NIMBY, on waste transfer station

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver put it aptly last month when, describing the marine transfer station Mayor Bloomberg seems determined to site on Gansevoort Peninsula, he called it a WIMBY.

 “This is not a NIMBY case, this is not ‘not in my backyard,’” Silver said. “This is a WIMBY case, ‘where in my backyard?’ There is a big difference between the two.”

Indeed, Gansevoort isn’t an appropriate location for this M.T.S. There are better alternatives — ones that the city inexcusably hasn’t adequately considered.

On Monday, the mayor, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a host of outer-borough politicians and Al Sharpton called with a unified voice for an M.T.S. for recyclable waste on Gansevoort. They spoke of how the mayor’s Solid Waste Management Plan will spread the city’s garbage burden equitably across the boroughs, relieving the Bronx and Brooklyn of an inordinate amount of waste being trucked through them. Quinn noted that a Gansevoort M.T.S., by using barges, would remove 30,000 garbage truck miles from city streets annually — and also that the plan would provide an educational facility on recycling.

No one is saying all of this wouldn’t be beneficial for the city. Again, it boils down to where this facility should go. The local community boards, local elected officials (except for Quinn) and Hudson River Park advocates have recommended two alternatives for the M.T.S.: using Pier 76 at W. 36th St., currently a Police Department tow pound, or using a rail link at W. 30th St. in the Hudson Yards to remove the recyclables by train. Community Board 4, which represents Chelsea, supports the Pier 76 option, since it’s behind the Javits Center, not a heavily residential area. The feasibility of these alternatives needs to be studied carefully.

Gansevoort Peninsula has always been envisioned as the jewel of the 5-mile-long Hudson River Park. It’s not a pier, but a remnant of landfill that once extended to a 13th Ave. before Manhattan’s shoreline was cut back for larger ships. The Hudson River Park Act mandates the peninsula be an open park. Just because an M.T.S. operated there from the 1950s to early 1990s is not a justification for reviving it there.

Someday, after the city has removed its garbage trucks from Gansevoort by 2012, as it must under a settlement with the Friends of Hudson River Park, Gansevoort will be a magnificent addition to the park, heavily used by Villagers and Chelsea residents alike and many others. To cede part of this long-awaited space to garbage trucks is not an option for this community.

The State Senate already has voted, 58-3, to amend the park’s legislation to allow an M.T.S. at Gansevoort.

We’re counting on Silver — and Governor Spitzer — to oppose this misguided plan, which has been totally lacking in community input. If a special Assembly vote occurs next week, Silver must stand firm. WIMBY — where in my backyard? Not at Gansevoort Peninsula for the M.T.S.

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