Letters to the Editor

Disney-fication is cliché

To the Editor,

The Talking Point jeremiad that appeared in the November 17-23 issue of your paper by Tom Goodkind did no credit to your fine publication. I couldn’t read it without channeling the voice of Dana Carvey’s ‘grumpy old man’ character from SNL: “In my day…we didn’t have PLAYGROUNDS on our Pier! We played on the street and got hit by cars and we LIKED IT!”

The loss of the old Tribeca Pier 25 was surely missed. As the years of repair dragged on, our community suffered. But on a recent windy November Saturday, the new Pier was packed with hundreds of people–young families playing soccer, strolling seniors, teens on skateboards, even a sun worshipper. If one could travel back in time, say seven years to the same location, there would been just a fraction of that number. The old Tribeca Pier had some attractions to be sure: a mini golf course that would have been considered threadbare by trailer park residents, a dirty sandbox or two, and a large swath of cracked asphalt. It was…better than nothing.

 Funky? I guess that’s fair. But a ‘fantastic space’? True, it was ‘informal’ and had its share of ‘spontaneity’…but then, so do a lot of vacant lots near Shea Stadium. It doesn’t mean I want to live near one. Let’s call the old Pier what it was: tattered and full of mostly unrealized potential. Ask the people using the current Pier (as opposed to shaking their fists at it) and I bet few would choose to jackhammer the lovely native grass planters and playgrounds in order to bring back the prior windswept ‘funky’ version. And their numbers will surely decrease once the burger joint, proper bathrooms, beach volleyball, mini golf and more amenities come online.

To compare what The Hudson River Park Trust has done to ‘Disney-fication’ is not just a cliché in this case. It’s simply dead wrong. Unless I missed the half pipe next to Adventureland, it’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive design for giving something for everyone to enjoy. Perhaps being kid-friendly means unfriendly to the Tribeca version of the ‘get off my lawn’ crowd. I’ve seen adult painters and photographers and fishermen doing their thing (spontaneously!) and not a single costumed character.

Mr. Goodkind was right about one thing, though. Our new Pier WAS expensive. Civic niceties like our new parks and revived piers on the Hudson may soon succumb to the Red State, ‘government can’t and shouldn’t do anything’ mindset. Funny that we hear few complaints about the high cost of the highway that that serves mostly Jersey-bound commuters. Happily, we have a new lovely, free, open to the public Pier 25 and not a walled off garden for Citibank employees and their guests or a rotting monument to Tribeca’s days as a working port. I feel like kissing the bureaucrats who made it happen. Why the 1970’s nostalgists long for the good old days of unchecked urban entropy, is beyond me. To all of them, I suggest a one-way bus ticket to Detroit. 

Troy Torrison

Pandering to the autocrat

To the Editor,

Your November 24 issue exposed your bias in full view. Three articles occupied your front page: one regarding the 9/11 health issue, another of WTC workers, the last about the West Thames Street bridge. Forty percent of the first page is devoted to a Bloomberg puff photo when you already have an article about the Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill. In almost every issue, you variously describe down to the smallest detail when a parent sneezes at P.S. 234 or how the east of Broadway Beekman Street school is not quite up to snuff for some west of Broadway parents. Many times you report on the really great problems with the school system not being prepared with more schools for a growing Downtown child population, etc. etc. Mind you, this is due to Bloomberg’s giving away the city to his real estate cronies or his Board not having the wisdom to plan for such an eventuality.

Then I turned to page 7. And there is the most important New York City story of the last week – the Catherine Black chancellor appointment by Bonaparte Bloomberg. Doesn’t that story really qualify for the front page? Or does the autocrat’s underhandedness (like his third term deception) and his lack of “transparency” (to use the word of the Upper West Side academics; remember, we used to call it “truthfulness”) not qualify as the lead story? Perhaps Downtown Express just shills for Bloomberg or has he promised some new creative job titles at Bloomberg, LLP? (Perhaps Assistant VP of Communications, VP of Public Relations, or Assistant VP Kiss-Up?)

I look forward to your continuing to present major news of the schools front and center even if it taints the petty autocrat’s image.

Walter Silverman

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.