By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Re Sarah Ferguson's "Love It or Level It" [June 1420]: We have reached out to all local politicians, the community board, and others for nearly eight years to see if there were any tenants who needed space or would talk with us about what the community's needs were, and all they do is protest. Just last Tuesday Councilwoman Rosie Mendez said she would meet to discuss the project. I made an appointment with her scheduler for the next day. I was then told she couldn't meet. She said she would get right back to me, and I still haven't heard back. No one from the community has a solution, only "we want our building back." The building was sold by the city seven years ago, and the dorm was designed in collaboration with the Landmarks Preservation Commission and Beyer Blinder Belle architects. The dorm will provide $60 million to local nonprofit groups and $60 million to participating universities over 30 years without any public assistance. So of course the universities are interested. The only reason they won't come forward before it's built is because City Hall has asked them to stay away, which will be proven in court. Instead of a beautiful building that could've provided funds to the community and included dedicated community space, the community may very well end up with a stripped structure to which it has no access. It can thank its community leaders, who chose malevolence over negotiation.
Gregg Singer, owner of the former P.S. 64 building
Why is there still support for Charas/El Bohio, which not only left the school, but also the community, and completely transferred its allegiance to Harlem? The old "bathhouse" near the Williamsburg Bridge would be a better place for development. To gut and rehab this building will do more good than a dozen P.S. 64s. Baruch has thousands of children and seniors who could be the instant beneficiaries. Singer's project means over $60 million that will come into the community at no cost to it. That is a win-win the politicians cannot match. Rosen's concern about air and visibility is bunk. He has three exposures left for his fancy penthouse. With or without the dorm, he still can't see the Hudson River. He is a developer who also wanted the property but lost out. Singer can stack his family philanthropy against Rosen's history seven days a week and win, blindfolded. Progress has a way of succeeding. When we look back, tomorrow is always better. The costs to students who will be living in the dorms is a feeble argument compared to the cost of education. Millions of families are paying $200,000 or more for four years of tuition. College dorms get added into the costs anyhow, and they are not cheaper.
Feasting on Flushing
Re Jarrett Murphy's "Melting the Iron Triangle" [June 1420]: The Economic Development Corporation is trying desperately to condemn and redevelop the Willets Point Iron Triangle. The Asian money brokers' influence and pressure on Mayor Bloomberg (and the City Council) have become seemingly unstoppable in the Flushing community's construction sprawl. Unless they tap into the tawdry, unsightly, overcrowded Willets Point area, they will run out of real estate. They have absorbed Flushing and have now directed their influence peddling through the EDC to the City Council with our area as the proverbial golden chalice. We in America have (regrettably) become accustomed to spin by our politicians and policy makers. What is on the drawing board for Willets Point is a classic example of that.
Jarrett Murphy's articles on the strangulation of New York by real estate developers are extremely important. These predators are destroying the neighborhoods, homes, and ways of life of the "little people" who have built, maintained, and lent vibrant cultural diversity to New York. If the Giuliani administration will be known for the Disneyfication of Times Square, Bloomberg will be known as the jackal that nurtured the privatization and surveillance of public space. He was entrusted with a New York whose hallmark was what Ed Koch called "seltzer" and he will leave it as the blandest corporate brand of fake orange juice.
Snitchin' out secrecy
When you read Nat Hentoff's "Closing Our Courts" [Liberty Beat, June 1420], you begin to think about what is causing this to happen in our country. Secrecy within government is understandable in times of turmoil and terror, but why has it been taken to such extremes? The primary excuse has been the war on terrorism. If this is the cause, eliminate it. Bring the troops home. Something else that must happen is that the state-secret-privilege issue must become a political one in the elections, not just an exercise in complaining by the media. Journalists must present the issues to the public with clarity and zeal if they expect anything to happen to eliminate much unnecessary state secrecy and regain freedom of information.
Stuck on stupid
As a retired teacher who hails from the New YorkNew Jersey area I want to congratulate your editorial perceptiveness. You are now, as always, so wrong on so many issues. I never feel as though I have to do or say anything to feel more secure than ever that the country will once again elect a conservative. Of course, I may be wrong about the next election, but you guys are so stupid, you won't get anything done.