70 years ago in The Villager

Volume 73, Number 24 | October 15 – 21, 2003

Letter From The Editor

Trust should revive the Pier 40 process

Following an action-packed week of events, it’s not entirely clear if the Hudson River Park Trust intends to issue a new request for proposals for developers for Pier 40.

The Friends of Hudson River Park say they agreed to drop a lawsuit over the recent failed Pier 40 development process in exchange for a promise by the Trust to issue a new R.F.P. for Pier 40. The Trust denies an agreement exists. Our informed hunch is perhaps it does.

We support the full redevelopment of Pier 40 into a site with 50 percent of its footprint as park and the rest commercial uses, still to be determined. There are also those who advocate the pier’s interim development with youth sports fields and added parking, until another R.F.P. is possibly issued, perhaps in several years time.

Yet, we feel the Friends’ withdrawn lawsuit had merit, in that the Hudson River Park Act, as amended, charges the Trust with developing the W. Houston St. pier in an expeditious manner. Also, many, including members of the Trust’s directors, point out that spending $5 million or $10 million on interim fields and structures on the pier, only to tear them out in five, six or seven years, is wasteful and would be better spent on the pier’s permanent redevelopment. That seems prudent advice to us.

Impact of film shoots needs to be addressed

In their unpredictability and sudden takeovers of neighborhoods, film shoots can be a maddening aspect of city life. Applications for these movie, TV and commercial shoots aren’t reviewed by community boards and, in general, the community is not notified other than flyers, sometimes posted the day of the shoot.

According to anecdotal reports from film crew members encountered shooting on location in the Village last week, the fall is always an extremely busy season, partly because it is before the holidays and the weather is good. “It’s been nuts,” one said. Unfortunately, many residents and businesses feel the same way.

We understand the film industry generates billions of dollars for the city and employs many creative people. But problems of noise, diesel fumes, bright lights shining into people’s apartments and congestion are pandemic.

A task force including local residents is working with the Mayor’s Office on Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to improve permit regulations for film shoots. In the meantime, we urge the city and studios to consider the impact these film shoots have — especially on Downtown neighborhoods, so often used as backdrops. There’s surely a middle ground where needs of film crews, residents and businesses all can be accommodated.

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