Letters to the Editor

Whining riders

To The Editor:

 I have been reading the letters in your newspaper from readers regarding the dangerous habits of cyclists, as well as the recent front page story, “Bikers don’t walk a 1/2 mile in pedestrian’s shoes” (news article, Aug. 8 – 14), and the editorial, “Solving the West St. biking problem” (Aug. 29 – Sept. 4), with great interest.  In particular, it comes across as very pathetic the way some cyclists have written to whine and portray themselves as victims in order to excuse the way they endanger little kids, mothers with strollers, seniors and others, by riding on sidewalks and blowing through red lights.  Is one or two blocks really too far to walk a bike?  (e.g., West St. walkway between Murray St. and the delivery entrance of the World Financial Center)

 Everyone knows there have been more and more people moving to Battery Park City and Downtown. That means more families and kids walking, running and playing on sidewalks and in parks, as well as riding bicycles.  Understanding and following New York’s bicycling laws, rules and regulations is important.  Cycling on sidewalks by adults is prohibited; cyclists must stop at red lights, including those on bikeways.  Dismounting and walking a bike is common sense while passing through an enclosed and busy walkway.  Though there is no enforcement by security at the W.F.C. or by the city’s Traffic Enforcement Agents, cyclists need to do the right thing.

 There are so many issues to which we need to devote our scare resources, such as construction safety, school overcrowding and affordable housing, why are the city (through inaction and incompetence) and reckless, self-righteous cyclists creating an issue where there shouldn’t be one?

I live in Gateway Plaza, and spend a lot of time (along with my wife) walking around Downtown with my two kids and 8-week old daughter, whether to attend soccer or baseball practice at the ballfields, school at P.S.89, Cub Scouts at B.M.C.C., play at parks, go to the pediatrician, shop or dine.

  Ron Dowd

No style at all

To The Editor:

In regard to your article “The fashion queens of Christopher St” (news article, Aug. 29 – Sept. 4) Downtown Express and reporter Laurie Mittelmann should be ashamed of themselves. The glorification of these common street hustlers, thieves and prostitutes and their fashion habits is an unbelievable abomination. For years, law-abiding residents have had to put up with the disgusting street trash that pours out of the Christopher St. subway stations and infiltrates the streets of the West Village from the West Side Highway to Sixth Ave. every Friday and Saturday night. These people are a heinous nuisance and danger to the neighborhood where decent families try to live and raise their children.

You seem to think they add “charm” and bring character to the neighborhood while they commit crime, solicit sex, urinate, defecate, do drugs and perform lewd sex acts in the streets and vestibules of homes in the area. What are you people smoking? I assume, the crack these people are selling!

Wake up. If it’s fashion you want to see and report on, try Bryant Park during Fashion Week. I’m still in shock over this ridiculous article.

John Jonas

Something smells rotten

To The Editor:

In a recent letter to me responding to an inquiry about possible environmental contamination in Washington Market Park, city Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe observes in part:

“We have worked hard to make sure the lawn is robust and healthy since it is an important resource for the community…. We have not used any chemicals to help with its growth; instead we used a method in which we injected grass seed into the lawn.

This is very strange, and appears disconnected from reality:

Simple observation during the various phases disclosed the following steps: æration, spreading seed, additional æration, spreading more seed.  I note in passing: No tilth, no rolling; when I asked a Parks staffer engaged in this renovation why this was not being done, I was told to leave matters to the professionals.

If no fertilizing chemicals (natural or otherwise) were used it is hard to account for the reek that came from the part for a period of several weeks.

If the seed was "injected,” it is hard to see how there was sufficient available on the surface that birds were eating it and I was able to gather a large enough sample to send off for independent analysis (still pending…). 

Whatever the process undertaken, the lawn that is such an important feature of Washington Market Park looks shabbier than ever.  Signs forbidding strollers are ignored, and neither Parks staff nor intermittently available parks police discourage the practice.  The bare spots are still bare.  The open spaces look to be mostly weed, not lawn.  The tacky fence that was to keep people off the lawn while it was growing in remains — looking ever more drunken, leaning in and out. 

My letter was prompted by reports from Parks staff of dead birds in significant numbers; this is consistent with a large number of birds brought to my wife, Mrs. Jenner, and me in our roles as licensed wildlife rehabilitators. In one carefully monitored case, our supporting veterinary service found no evidence of life-threatening infection or of parasitic infestation, but did find some evidence of heavy-metal poisoning. Commissioner Benepe comments:

“We have in instructed our staff to contact the Park Rangers immediately if they find any more dead birds in the park. The Rangers will turn them over to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for testing.”

This is not reassuring.  The D.E.C. Wildlife Pathology Unit, which would do that testing, is kept short of funds by Commissioner Grannis’s staff.  The money is appropriated, but not released; I have this on excellent — unimpeachable authority.

One does not know whether Commissioner Benepe is just too busy to pay attention to the parks in his charge, and therefore believes all that is told him by staff, or if his complicity in all of this is more active.  One can clearly see that the policies of Commissioner Benepe — and of Commissioner Stern before him — have resulted in a park that is less than it was when the community ran it. 

Don Jenner