Letters to the editor

Mixed view of Gerson

To The Editor:

Having read David Stanke’s highly critical Talking Point piece (Dec. 15 – 21, “Hey Alan, you represent me and my neighbors”), and the subsequent letters by constituents defending Councilmemeber Alan Gerson, I conclude that both sides raise valid points about the councilmember.

Alan Gerson is a fine and decent person who has done a lot for the Downtown community, and for which he deserves the accolades mentioned in the letters submitted. However, in the area discussed by Mr. Stanke — the councilmember strongly advocating for his constituents where their interests were opposed to those articulated by the 9/11 victims’ families — I am afraid Mr. Gerson must receive a failing grade.

Doubtless out of the sympathy we all felt for the victims’ families, Councilmember Gerson failed time and again to take strong positions for the needs of his constituents. (I also felt sympathy for the victims’ families, but I wasn’t representing Lower Manhattan.)

The result? We have a too-large and too-expensive memorial, with no provision for on-site tour bus parking and, if indeed the museum has free admission, New York taxpayers will be paying to maintain it.

John Ost

Pier review

To The Editor:

Re “Tribeca river center shifts in different directions” (news article, Dec. 29 – Jan. 4):

Coupled with the fact that the Beacon Institute for River and Estuaries has no track record on the Hudson, the notion that it would be given millions in Port Authority funding to plan a so-called urban estuary center for Pier 26 is astonishing since its own proposed facility to be located on parkland upstate has not yet been reviewed under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. 

But, an important question, too, is whether there should even be an “estuary center” on Pier 26 or, for that matter, Pier 26.  Locating such a project on a pier in the river would be contrary to Federal National Environmental Policy Act, which directs that non-water-dependent facilities should be built on dry land and not, in this case, compromise critical aquatic habitat.  

Building such a facility would send a terrible message that it is okay to destroy habitat with unnecessary pier structures and then assuage guilt for bad environmental planning by adding some “green” building that would extol the virtues of the Hudson’s estuarine resources. A kind of “destroy the village to save it” syndrome.

What’s more, there was no Federal environmental impact statement prepared for the proposed Hudson River Park or Pier 26 a decade ago.  Although there were hundreds of pages at a cost of millions of dollars, an inadequate state environmental review was given a rubber stamp approval by the Pataki administration.

There was also no specific review of an estuary center on Pier 26 because there were no details provided for what was then called an “estuarium.”  It was merely a dot on a map for the proposed park to show what might possibly appear in this area someday. 

Relying on the loop-hole-ridden Hudson River Park Act of 1998 for protection of essential estuarine resources also provides little comfort since the law is so porous and allows non-water-dependent structures in, on and over this critical aquatic habitat area of the estuary.  It would allow for example, a stadium built on floating structures because it uses the water.  In real life, the fact that a boat might tie up at an “estuarium” does not mean that the center is water-dependent.

Port Authority and other public funding should be spent on real environmental priorities that advance the protection and restoration of the Hudson and its critical habitats, rather than on projects that diminish them.

John Mylod

John Mylod is a commercial fisherman in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and was the executive director of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater until 1994.

Repair Iraq

To The Editor:

Congrats to the Downtown Express for letting its readers know our Congressional representative, Jerrold Nadler, is taking the lead and an effective stand in our foreign policy in Iraq (news article, Jan. 5 – 11, “Nadler would cut Iraq war money; says 9/11 dough should flow”). He is calling for its de-funding. I also think there is a middle ground of bringing the troops home and others into “green zones bases,” supplying humanitarian aid to repair the physical and economic damage and keeping some aspects of security. This would require only standard funding out of the giant military budget.

Bob Townley

Letters policy

Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.