Letters to the editor

Unsafe streets

To The Editor:

I was happy to read Helaina Hovitz’s article regarding the unsafe crossings on Fulton and Gold Sts. which surround the Southbridge Towers community (news article, “Neighbors say Seaport crossings are not safe,” Aug. 28 – Sept. 3).

Back when construction began on Fulton St. I voiced my concern regarding the safety of S.B.T.’s’ intergenerational population, as well as the bustling throngs of tourists and residents and workers from the surrounding area who are forced daily to navigate the dangerous, make-shift pedestrian crossings. After initially opposing the sale of S.B.T.’s property to N.Y.C., I agree with it now. 

But as I wrote way back when these projects began, traffic lights or speed bumps were needed.  Stop signs that blend into the construction barricades are accidents waiting to happen.  Makeshift crosswalks painted over unpaved, uneven patches of pavement at the end of blind turns, carrying construction equipment, added to the regular flow of busy traffic and emergency vehicles on Fulton and Gold Sts., are totally unacceptable. 

It appalls me to watch on a daily basis my friends and neighbors dragging their walkers, or looking for some level ground to anchor their canes into in an attempt to simply cross a street to pick up a much needed prescription, or, to exercise what little independence they still possess, and, perform some necessary chores such as banking or shopping.  I pray when a young parent attempts to cross Fulton or Gold Sts., with their young children, while dodging the mighty swing of a back-hoe, or the frightening sight of a cement mixer, as it barrels along to its destination. Traffic patterns are changed each week.  Pedestrians never know where the oncoming traffic will be emerging from next. 

Now, I’m not one to stand in the way of progress, but I feel that we have years of construction, and, years of this same disruption ahead of us. I strongly urge that stronger, more stringent speed restrictors be installed, and that additional Traffic Enforcement Agents be assigned to assist and assure the everyday safety and improve the strained quality of life that we have been forced to endure for far too long, I urge that this be done before, and, not after, some unthinkable disaster.

Joseph Morrone

Quinn message

To The Editor:

With Christine Quinn getting only 52% of the district’s votes, maybe she will now comprehend that the community is unhappy with her record.  Did she expect to get our vote, when she voted for a three-district sanitation garage and salt shed at Spring St, ignoring Hudson Rise, the community’s alternative?  I assume Quinn will not be re-elected speaker.  Maybe she’ll have more time now to work on the issues that affect her district. 

Denise Levine

Vendor policy?

To The Editor:

Now that Ms. Chin has defeated Mr. Gerson for the District One City Council seat, the public artists of Soho have to wonder what will happen next. After years of meetings, negotiations, mediation, and hearings Mr. Gerson came up with a confusing vending plan that would have caused serious harm to street artists.

What will Ms. Chin do? Will she walk the same path that Ms. Freed and Mr. Gerson walked before her and come up ideas that are harsh on public art display while largely ignoring the huge illegal vending and art bootlegging problem? Or will she see that the heart of the problem is bootlegging/illegal vending, and finally come up with a plan that protects legal vending and artists while focusing on the legions of illegal vendors? Will she be able to tell the difference between the two groups when her predecessors seemed to be blind to the obvious variances?

It is up to public fine artists to define this difference for Ms. Chin. I hope that they take this opportunity to do so.

If, on the other hand, public fine artists will come to the table with Ms. Chin as professionals and as citizens they will do a far better job of protecting their rights than if the sit back and wait for the inevitable to come their way. It is their call. It will be interesting to see if fine artists have the guts to stand and speak their mind.

One certainty is that we will be reading it all in the Downtown Express and The Villager. For that we can be thankful.

Lawrence White

An unhealthy debate

To The Editor:

It’s not a new thing that so many citizens are up in arms about the proposed health care legislation. It’s not just that they don’t know the facts. I believe they don’t care to know the facts because they have, for one thing, been sold a bill of goods by the special interests here, namely the health insurance industry as well as the right wing in general. They talk about socialized medicine as if it were part of the red scare that I thought went out with McCarthy and his ilk. Of course, England has it, as do other civilized countries. At this moment it’s political suicide over there just to drop a notion about undoing those programs. Only in America do we still rant about socialism, forgetting that Social Security and Medicare are examples of very successful social programs in the U.S. 

The health insurance industry has done nothing to help the economy except hire people who would be better served using their experience in hospital administrations. I am convinced this would be a good idea. I recently had a hernia repair and was mistakenly billed $5,900 for surgery and inpatient care when in fact my surgery was as an outpatient. The surgeon was terrific, his crew was terrific; only the administrators screwed up. In the end it cost me $328, a genuine bargain.

President Obama is not totally blameless over the current snag. For one thing, he is a lawyer and quite apparently he is looking more and more as if he is against any reform in the medical malpractice issue along with the resulting problem of unnecessary testing, which the president himself has recognized as a big part of the cost situation. So he needs to get his act together. He may also simply have to wait until a detailed bill is put together that has all of the features he wants, including the public option or some acceptable variant of it. Then he can go out there and sell it to a public that surely has a lot more common sense that those few but very well-covered screamers. Get with it, media.

Barry L. Cohen


On Downtown Express.com

“Growing up with Downtown’s scars” (Downtown Notebook by Helaina N. Hovitz, posted Sept. 10)

You are not alone. There are many who continue to suffer the subconscious shellshock that you do.


Helaina, this is a beautiful, heartfelt piece. Having visited you two weeks after 911, I was very taken with your parents decision to stay and to aid in the effort to rebuild the area. Like pioneers, not running scared, you’ve forged ahead with heads held high. Too bad the city hasn’t done the same.

Libby Harris

“In debt and facing fines, Gerson loses last shot at matching funds” (New Article, posted Sept. 11)

Gerson is best you can get…because he has got the experience and he knows what our state wants. I’m going to support him.


I am supporting City Councilman Alan J. Gerson because even before he was City Councilman he was a long time community advocate. Now that he is a City Councilman he is effective, honest and … has a big heart.

Jack Wilson