Volume 73, Number 7 | June 16 - 22, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Affordable housing, no stadium

To The Editor:
Re “I am fighting for housing — for real,” by Chad Marlow, and “HKHY plan too similar to mayor’s,” by John Fisher (letters, June 2):

I want to encourage both Chad Marlow and John Fisher to look beyond their own issues with their local elected officials and the Hell’s Kitchen/Hudson Yard Alliance to look at the facts. The West Side needs new development and we need affordable housing. This is an opportunity we should not pass up. The HKHY Alliance platform seeks affordable housing through direct government subsidy, transfer of government land and inclusionary zoning for permanent decent affordable housing. This is in opposition to what the government proposes, 80/20 projects that the government passes off as an affordable housing policy.

We must negotiate with a plan. Is the HKHY plan perfect? No. But it represents the views of hundreds of West Side residents who have joined the Alliance because of the work it is doing in the community. I would only hope to continue the dialogue that Mr. Marlow agrees to work on. However, that can only occur when he and Mr. Fisher agree to work together instead of attacking those who are attempting to move forward on a plan for more affordable housing, open space and racial and economic diversity.

Unlike the mayor’s plan, the Alliance’s plan calls for permanent affordable housing, community planning, open space, residential neighborhoods and no stadium. If we are successful, we may accept some commercial development along a commercial corridor. That is far from what the mayor is planning, and is an alternative we must propose if we expect to win anything. Mr. Fisher wants to burry his face in the sand and say, “Don’t do anything.” Except the zoning already allows for 40-story buildings on 11th Ave. — so let’s get something better.

Finally, Fisher’s claims that the Alliance got $50,000 from Deutches Bank is just untrue. The Alliance has no money, does no fundraising, has no staff. It is a true community organization, which lists its members for the public to see, has organized hundreds of residents to appear at various hearings and is set to fight the city until the end.

I would encourage both Mr. Marlow and Mr. Fisher to remember who the enemy is here, not their local elected officials, but the mayor’s office, which proposed this plan. It would be a better use of their energy and mine if we could join together and fight the plan (on the parts we agree upon) and leave our disagreements behind. I would love to join, Mr. Marlow. Let me know when.

Harvey Epstein

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