Letters to The Editor, Week of Jan. 10, 2019

Letters to The Editor, Week of Jan. 3, 2018


To The Editor:

I live on E. Sixth St. and walk to Astor Place. I could not understand why so many stores were vacant on the uptown, East Side corner of Third Ave. and St Mark’s. It seems that demolition is to take place. The Continental Bar is now closed, too.

The old apartment building where many of these stores were located, along with some “taxpayers,” has been vacated. The building has to have been there more than 125 years, and is a lovely remnant of the 19th century.

In my boyhood, long ago, it was a dump apartment building, many junkies were in there.

My father and I went inside to see a client of his, as he was a lawyer.

Will this lovely building be demolished, or is it landmarked?

Bert Zackim
Editor’s note: At last notice, that property was all slated for redevelopment as a new office building.


City can run the M.T.A.

To The Editor:

There is a simple legal solution to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s call for City Hall to regain control of the New York City bus and subway system.   

In 1953, the old New York city Board of Transportation passed on control of the municipal subway system, including all its assets, under a master lease and operating agreement to the newly created New York City Transit Authority. Under the late Governor Nelson Rockefeller in the ’60s, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was created. 

Buried within the 1953 master agreement between New York City and NYC Transit is an escape clause. The city has the legal right at any time to take back control of its assets. This includes the subway and bus system.

Actions speak louder than words. If Council Speaker Johnson or anyone else feels City Hall could do a better job managing the M.T.A. — including running the nation’s largest subway and bus system — they have the legal option to do so and regain control.

It should also be pointed out that Mayor Bill de Blasio appoints four of the M.T.A. board members and one of the four members of the M.T.A. Capital Program Review Board. A second member of the C.P.R.B. is appointed by Assembly Speaker Carl Hastie, who hails from the Bronx. This second member, just like the mayor’s appointee, is an advocate for New York City interests.

All five-year M.T.A. capital plans and any amendments require unanimous consent of all four C.P.R.B. members 

Albany manages the M.T.A. on behalf of City Hall, which is the actual original legal owner of record. New York City has the legal right to change the authority’s management team, if it so wishes.

Larry Penner

Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who worked 31 years for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, Region 2 New York office


Global-warming warning

To The Editor:

Re “Gov. Cuomo scraps 15-month full L-shutdown plan” (thevillager.com, news article, Jan. 3):

How can there be all this angst about our L-train tunnel nightmare with only bare mentions of what caused it and the near certainty it’ll hit us again? Sad to say, spending a half-billion dollars on repairs, bringing two years of nonstop commuter misery, doesn’t at all solve the problem.

Those about to fight their way every day getting across the East River should never forget that this horror is a dire injury from subway flooding inflicted by global warming in the here and now — and not comfortably coming in a far-off future. Doing this tunnel project without constructing vast protections for the entire subway system is more than mere folly. It’s pathological denial.

Another Sandy hitting us again is not just a possibility but a looming certainty. Read the recent United Nations report on climate change and weep. It’s one of the scariest documents in all of history — no exaggeration. Yes, the subway will be whacked again and maybe even worse.

Yet the city and state are spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars subsidizing the construction of huge glass towers New Yorkers don’t want anymore — except for the real estate billionaires (REBNY), luxuriating in their profits. That at least should stop, and the money should be spent instead to protect us all.

Bennett Kremen


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