Letters to the editor

School safety

To The Editor:

After reading many comments on safety issues in the rezoning debate, it sticks in my mind that residents who are advocating Option 2 seem to forget that half of the Financial District would have to walk their children across a more dangerous section of the West Side Highway.  The crossing at Albany St. is wider and a more life threatening experience than at Chambers St. 

I live in the Seaport area and brought my son to a gym class in Rector Place 1.5 years ago.  In order to get there we would have to detour the World Trade Center site, Trinity Place/Church St., the Battery Park tunnel, also known as Interstate 478, and run past the debris falling from the Deutsche Bank building.  We tried to take the elevator at ground zero, but it was always broken.  Needless to say, we dropped this class after one semester. 

We would walk down these streets where our stroller would not fit the width of the sidewalk, and I would be forced to walk on the street (Thames St., between Trinity Place and Greenwich St.)  After walking through the maze of small streets we would be forced to cross, or should I say run across, the West Side Highway. 

How many children need to be hit before you realize it is Option 3R that is the correct choice, the safe choice? 

Elizabeth Chen

“Looking for the least bad school option” (editorial, posted Jan. 21):

The editorial nod on Option #2 is irresponsible and shows how the moneyed Tribeca is able to dominate the interest of all of Lower Manhattan…. Why are Whole Foods complex condo owners more entitled to their first choice school than everyone else only because their developer told them they could go to 234 when they sold them the units at the height of the real estate boom? Worst of all, how does the editor come to the conclusion this “justice” for and entitlement of the Whole Foods complex owners trump all the community/quality of life entitlement of not just East Tribeca, but also FiDi and Gateway? Residents from all 3 communities not only don’t get zoned to their first choice school, but are zoned to a school in a disconnected, separate neighborhood from their own. Go figure.


It needs to be iterated and reiterated that Option 2 places the children of middle income renters, such as residents at 89 Murray, in P.S. 234. It’s imprecise and misleading to characterize the proponents of Option 2 as all real estate-boom elites, while the residents of New York’s Financial District and northern and eastern areas of Tribeca are characterized as the hard-working New Yorkers of old downtown. Tribeca is gentrified from top to bottom. The mixture of social classes that used to characterize lower Manhattan is history. … Neither zoning option is an adequate response to the Real Estate Investment Trust boom that descended on Lower Manhattan and changed its face forever. For now, one bad option must be taken over another; and the community must demand that developers and REITs must fund schools before they get to take their enormous profits home. The sniping evident in this conversation is like watching chess pieces argue among themselves, while the creators of this educational crisis simply escape the controversy, profits intact.

Brian Prager

“Silver backs school Option 3R” (news article, posted Jan. 26):

If you want to get it right, put option 3 (not 3R) back on the table for the vote tomorrow. Option 3 originally proposed by Michael Markowitz was taken off the table too quickly. People who live north of Chambers St. are more likely to take Tribeca Bridge (Tribeca Bridge is on the north side of Chambers St.) to safely cross West St. The North Tribeca community would be kept together and crossing West St. will be a little safer because Tribeca Bridge is on their route to PS 89. And crossing Tribeca Bridge is safer than crossing Chambers St. Between Options 2 and 3R, option 2 is the most sensible option. Between Options 3R and 3 (off the table), option 3 (not 3R) makes the most sense. Option 2 will keep families safe. Option 3 (not 3R) will make most of lower Manhattan happy and crossing West St. a little safer.


On behalf of (now) over 1600 residents of all 4 communities in Lower Manhattan, I congratulate Speaker Silver for providing clarity in the zoning issue and support to our children and our communities. We also thank him for taking seriously the safety of our children on both the South and North ends of the West Side Highway. The sad reality is that we don’t yet have enough school seats for our kids and by 2011 we will likely ALL face overcrowding again. I hope we can now turn our collective energy and resources, black and red, towards working together to make sure our 5 schools remain as stellar as they are. Kimberly Busi, M.D. Co-President PTA and Core SLT member, The Spruce Street School, south financial district homeowner and Tribeca business owner.

Kim Busi