Chris Thompson's 'NIMBY Love' [August 2228] trivializes a serious community effort to develop better alternatives to the Forest City Ratner project for Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn's largest (ever) mega-project. This article belongs in a society-page gossip column, because it focuses mostly on the personal lives of two individuals and misses the powerful role of hundreds of community leaders and activists who took part in the planning sessions that led up to the creation and refinement of the community's UNITY Plan. This plan looks at better ways to build over the rail yards. It is definitely not "NIMBY" (Not In My Backyard), and it addresses the transportation, open-space, and affordable-housing needs of the neighborhood. The plan proposes a truly transparent and public planning process for a site that is largely publicly owned, but is being offered to a single private developer to meet that developer's own business plan. We invite the Voice to take a serious look at the UNITY Plan when it is unveiled in September and to talk to the protagonists of the plan, community leaders, and the full technical team that we head up.
CRACKED THE WRONG CODE
Re Robert Sietsema's 'Rotten Tomatoes' [August 2228]: I enjoy FreshDirect, and I think that while some of this information may be true, it is mostly false and the opinion of one person. I don't believe the company delivers based on race. For one thing, I live in zip code 10002, which is predominantly public housing, and they deliver all over there. FreshDirect delivers to areas based on need. If you sign up for it, they will deliveras they did in my area, which is mainly black and Hispanic low-income. I agree, they do use a lot of boxes, but I have contacted them about that, and it seems that it is a known issue and their quality-assurance department is working on alternative packaging. However, to ensure that items do not get damaged, this is currently the main way they ship the items. I cannot comment on the trucks, but there are plenty of them, and not only from FreshDirect. While having more economical vehicles would help the environment, I don't think most companies can afford some of these luxuries. I think in future you should get your facts straight and not try to bring down businesses with your articles based on some false accusations. FreshDirect, in my opinion, is a great idea and should stick around.
The zip code for Woodside, Queens, is 11377 (not 11317), and FreshDirect definitely delivers there (as I know from personal experience). There are also plenty of white folks in my neighborhood.
On behalf of FreshDirect, I'd like to clarify a few facts about the company that were misrepresented in Sietsema's article. While the article was filled with inaccuracies, a few of the most glaring are addressed below. First, FreshDirect maintains a strict company policy requiring all trucks to turn off their ignition while making deliveries. The noise Sietsema mistook for an idling truck was actually the refrigeration system in our trucks that maintains the freshness and quality of each order. Furthermore, Sietsema asserts that it's hard to "think globally" because FreshDirect doesn't reveal the origins of its products, but the descriptions on our website clearly indicate that the company offers fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables from local family-run farms. We recognize that local shopping benefits our regional economy and reduces the amount of fossil fuel used in shipping, and thus we are continually expanding our local market offering. When perishable items, such as the heirloom tomatoes referenced in the article, are temporarily unavailable, our produce department rapidly restocks supplies. Finally, Sietsema's allegation that "it was clear . . . that FreshDirect was redlining" is simply false and defamatory. FreshDirect serves neighborhoods in all five boroughs and opens new areas based on demand (including one neighborhood mentioned by Sietsema that will be opening in early September). Where a neighborhood does not show sufficient interest in FreshDirect's services, the company cannot serve that area profitably. The neighborhoods that FreshDirect does serve are racially and ethnically diverse. FreshDirect takes tremendous pride in its selection, service, and quality, and an honest review of our services would reflect that commitment.
FREshdirect environmental initiative director
Long Island City, New York
I think that MediaBistro.com was and is a very useful site for a working writer, a resource, and something for which Laurel Touby should be thanked. Although I do not know Touby and did not attend any of her Media Bistro parties, I did frequently view the site. I read Tricia Romano's (hostile and not well-written) piece, 'The $23 Million Boa' [August 1521], and found myself liking Touby and respecting her more than before (nice pictures, too). I think Romano's cynical, even nasty reportage suggests a great deal about what's wrong with journalism today. Too bad Romano did not take any Media Bistro courses, as it's obvious they might have helped her understand something about respecting a subject and writing a well-organized story. Someone in one of those classes might have mentioned this to Romano: Ambition is not a sign of weakness of character, and honesty is not the same thing as insult.
Richmond Hill, New York
There's probably some unwritten rule that artists are not supposed to write in about a critical-type review on their own work, but my hope as a local artist who has been mentioned in the Voice four times since 1983 (and whose mother, Patricia Brant, had a column in the '70s) is that this is a paper still ready to bust bullshit rules. In 'Slouching Toward Gotham' [August 2228], R.C. Baker obviously did his homework about my old-school LES days, and his partial description of my massive (over 200 pieces) one-man show is as comprehensive as the 187-word allotment allowed. I just wish I knew what Baker meant by saying my scavenging and recycling material "gives this sculptor a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers of a certain age." The art that I've been doing since 1981 is now considered hip for a new and good reason: because it can be called "green" or "freegan," which are perhaps the main concepts currentlyfinallyon the table for saving the planet. If Baker wants to put me or my work "in the hearts of New Yorkers," it should be all New Yorkers, not just those of "a certain age." All New Yorkersand all people, for that matterwant to save the planet by implementing green materials, techniques, and actions.
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