Volume 78 - Number 46 / April 22 -28, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Quinn: Let’s take our share

To The Editor:
I am writing in response to two letters to the editor that criticized the proposed Spring St. Sanitation garage (“Garbage before students?” by Meredith Berkowitz, and “Dump the megagarage!” by Ann Kjellberg,” April 8):

These letters inaccurately portray my priorities for our district. While no one in New York City wants a sanitation facility near their neighborhood, the reality is that all five boroughs need to share the burden of finding places to handle our city’s vast municipal needs. With sanitation facilities in the outer boroughs operating at capacity, our Manhattan community must equally contribute to keeping our city running.

Furthermore, we actively pursued negotiations with the Department of Sanitation to obtain a six-month grace period to explore alternative sites for the District 5 garage. In fact, just last week, we met with a group of concerned citizens, the Sanitation Steering Committee, which came up with alternatives for the facility, and our office subsequently passed on their recommendations to the Sanitation Department.

This issue is not just a simplified matter of choosing municipal needs over our city’s children. School overcrowding is a critical issue to our district and our city, which is why I recently recommended in the City Council’s budget response to the Mayor’s preliminary budget that the Department of Education be cut at an entirely different rate than other city agencies.

To keep our city moving forward, especially in these tough times, we must give equal attention to the critical services our city provides — this includes both keeping our schools strong and keeping our streets clean.                                                                                                                          
Christine C. Quinn
Quinn is city councilmember for the Third City Council District and is New York City Council speaker                                                     

Keep on writing!

To The Editor:
As usual, I waited for my mail on Thursday, which delivers my copy of The Villager. And, as usual, I got my copy and found my favorite columns and stories, especially those of political gossip and news. Then I read Ed Koch’s “On Film.” 

This past Thursday brought some extra exciting news of The Villager being judged by its peers as one of the best in the entire state of New York. Congratulations to your staff for the many prizes and recognitions achieved by the newspaper. You have a good reason to be proud of the record of awards, including five first-place awards.

Keep writing and publishing, and I will continue to get The Villager, and also patronize the shops and stores, and restaurants, which are smart enough to advertise and lend their support to our community paper — now recognized as one of the best!

Lorraine Colville 

Gerson’s housing hypocrisy

To The Editor: 
Re “V.I.D. gets view of candidates for D.A., Council, comptroller” (news article, April 8):

 In Ed Gold’s article, City Councilmember Alan Gerson states that he is proud of his record on affordable housing. I, for one, don’t agree that Gerson has anything to be proud about when it comes to affordable housing. 

Within Gerson’s Council district lies a 14-square block area that was designated in 1959 as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After this declaration, about 2,000 families had to leave their homes, before the government leveled the area’s old tenements to the ground. Affordable housing was built on most of the site, but the remaining five blocks   — at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge — continue to be used as parking lots.  

On April 2, 2003, Gerson was interviewed by The Villager on the subject of SPURA. In the article, Gerson stated that he did “not support any kind of housing” on SPURA’s undeveloped portion. Gerson further stated that this is “not an appropriate site for housing” because of its proximity to the Williamsburg Bridge. Gerson went on to say that he would prefer to see “commercial, light manufacturing and cultural uses,” but not housing on that site, and that he would “take the lead” from others who had been involved on this issue since the beginning of time.

Three weeks ago, Gerson stood up before the Village Independent Democrats at their candidates night and stated how proud he was of his record on affordable housing. Gerson should consider coming to the Lower East Side and trying to explain to our community why he doesn’t support the development of permanently affordable and integrated housing for low-, moderate- and middle-income families on SPURA’s remaining area. Maybe we can help him to develop his position further as we begin to formulate our final position on him.
Roberto Caballero
Caballero is president, Lower East Side Political Action Committee

Honey, they sunk the kids

To The Editor:
Re “Unity on renaming Union Square Park playground for Evelyn Strouse” (news article, April 8):

Although it is sometimes risky to second-guess the desires of the departed, one has to wonder if the late Evelyn Strouse, longtime leader of the Union Square Community Coalition, would have approved the idea of a sunken playground in Union Square Park.

This plan, made public several years after Evelyn left New York, will relegate kids and their caregivers to a 4-foot-deep pit accessible only by stairs and ramps.

Whether Evelyn would have wanted her name associated with such a design is, of course, a matter of conjecture. But having known and worked with Evelyn on the coalition a lot longer than those now urging the dedication of the playground in her name, I personally would rather see a tree planted in the park in her memory or a bench there labeled in her honor.

Jack Taylor
Taylor is a board of directors member, Union Square Community Coalition  

Not really, Rosie

To The Editor:
“The ‘war of the Rosie’ centers on pavilion’s use” (news article, April 15):

Rosie Mendez’s case is clearly put, except for some missing community considerations and history. 

For example, the Union Square Community Coalition is the advocacy group that succeeded in separating the playground issue from the pavilion-use issue, to which it was held hostage for over four years. It is due to U.S.C.C.’s advocacy that the playgrounds are larger and being reconstructed now.

With choruses of gratitude for Union Square Not For Sale and Reverend Billy’s keeping our attention on our park, and wooing Rosie!

Diana Carulli
Carulli is the head of Our Labyrinth Project

Frankel’s faring better

To The Editor:
I own and manage the Gene Frankel Theater at 24 Bond St. I just thought I should write to let you know what a great response the theater received from your article “Channeling icon’s spirit while trying to pay the rent” (Jan. 28) by Monica Uszerowicz, whom I met through Clayton Patterson. 

What two valuable people they are. Clayton and Monica take the time to notice what is really happening in our community. They saw that a historic theater like the Gene Frankel was suffering.

Well, we are back on track with a wonderful lineup for this coming fall. (Hint: Holly Woodlawn... .) 

I want to thank you so much, because I believe it was the article that really helped.

Gail Thacker

The cyclists’ view

To The Editor:
Re “Chelsea businesses bitter about bike lane; Project keeps rolling” (news article, April 15):

Patrick Hedlund did well to cover the complaints and opinions expressed by various merchants and store owners along Eighth Ave. But his fine reporting did not include cyclists’ views and needs. My understanding is that daily bicycle ridership in New York City is now at 135,000 and steadily rising. I’d like to provide some perspective from a veteran cyclist’s point of view:

According to the Department of Trans-portation, 225 bicyclists were killed in New York City from 1996 to 2005.

God only knows how many cyclists were seriously injured during that same nine-year period.

Of the 225 cyclists killed, only one was killed in a bike lane!

Many cyclists, including myself, have avoided Eighth Ave. until the bike lane is installed because that avenue has been notoriously dangerous for cyclists.

At the same time, I understand the merchants’ frustrations. But the avenue’s east side will still be available for truck deliveries. Had Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing plan been passed in Albany — instead of being killed in a back room, without even the upfront vote of a democracy — there would be fewer private automobiles, usually with only the motorist as an occupant, taking up valuable parking space.

I believe the bigger picture is to reduce the number of private vehicles in Manhattan. 

Bicycles are a nonpolluting, noiseless mode of transportation. 

As to potential customers being dissuaded from accessing these businesses because of the bike lane’s construction, I believe New Yorkers adjust. We are a hardy bunch.

And I remind the merchants that cyclists are also consumers and customers.

Being able to breathe cleaner air and to reduce the siege of noise and horn-honking makes New York more livable and more healthy for all of us. Sheldon Silver and his cronies in Albany should be blamed. Not cyclists.

Michael Gottlieb 

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 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. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.

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