Letters to the editor

Esplanade safety

To The Editor:

Re “Walkers worry about esplanade bikers and bladers” (news article, July 23–29):

The Battery Park City Authority’s decision to allow bike riders on the esplanade, together with the complete lack of any effort by the authority to restrain reckless bike riding, amounts to an official policy of extreme irresponsibility.  It is almost impossible to walk on the esplanade without encountering reckless bike riding; and, in 11 years of living here and taking such walks, I have never once witnessed any effort by the park police to restrain or admonish reckless bike riders.  

Whether bike riding is allowed on the paths of other city parks is irrelevant. Battery Park City is not just a park; it is also a residential neighborhood. Moreover, the esplanade is one of the best places in the world for urban residents to walk, stand and sit near the water. No rational analysis could possibly conclude that the best use for the esplanade is as a bike path, with pedestrians venturing onto it only at their own risk. This is all the more true because there is a path specifically for bikes that runs along West St., a mere two blocks from the esplanade.     

When the next innocent pedestrian is maimed or even killed, the lack of prior preventive action by public officials will not be excused by any alleged failure of the local residents to have filed “official” complaints.

Richard Joffe

City: Chinatown is cleaner

To The Editor:

Cathy Glasson’s Letter to The Editor questioned Chinatown’s sanitary conditions and what she perceived as indifference from the Department of Sanitation (Letters, July 23–29, “Enforce clean laws”). Nothing could be further from the truth. Neighborhoods with low levels of cleanliness have always been a matter of great concern to Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, and Chinatown has been and continues to be one of his priorities.

As deputy commissioner, he worked tirelessly to improve cleanliness in Chinatown. Later on, during this first term as commissioner, he selected Manhattan 3, the district that includes Chinatown, for a comprehensive clean up program combining an intensive cleaning effort with a wide-ranging outreach and education drive and a vigorous enforcement campaign. His commitment remains strong today.

The department has an outreach program to educate both long-time residents and new immigrants about Sanitation rules.

In the last four months alone, our efforts in Chinatown included two press events; a door-to-door education drive for merchants with the assistance of a Chinese-speaking interpreter; distribution of informational literature in Chinese; loans of cleaning tools to Chinatown volunteers for a massive clean up; participation in an hour-long simulcast on 1480 AM Radio/Sino TV — a phone-in program — featuring Commissioner Doherty and a Chinese-speaking member of the Department’s Enforcement Division. During this hour, viewers called with questions. In addition, we are in the process of translating our Digest of Codes into Chinese, among other languages. Our Digest of Codes is a user-friendly compendium of Sanitation and city regulations to help merchants and residents comply with the law and avoid fines.

Outreach efforts notwithstanding, our enforcement agents patrol the entire city, including Chinatown, issuing notices of violation whenever warranted.

Above all, Sanitation provides a high level of service to Chinatown. We collect residential refuse and recyclables. We empty litter baskets daily. As a matter of fact, Monday through Saturday we empty litter baskets twice a day. Streets are swept according to alternate side parking regulations, while commercial streets with parking meters are swept six times a week, Monday through Saturday.

The department’s many efforts over the years have paid off and today Chinatown’s cleanliness scorecard is a full 40 points higher than a decade ago and Commissioner Doherty, who believes that complacence is the enemy of excellence, continues to work to further improve Chinatown’s cleanliness and quality of life.

Maria Termini

Assistant commissioner community affairs, Dept. of Sanitation

An idea for the dogs

To The Editor:

Re “A place to roll with puppies” (The Penny Post, July 23–29):

Suggesting that we increase the already overburdening population of animals for lonely Baby Boomers in Battery Park City is as malodorous as it sounds.

Perhaps we should inform the cooks from Zen of your great idea — a place to roll and come to spend some time with cats and dogs?

Or maybe a petting zoo on the top of the Freedom Tower — this is Libeskind’s first high rise. I’m sure he would be very receptive — “Ground Zoo?”  We could let tigers like Bobo walk freely amongst us on the esplanade without fear of being shot, yeah, that’s the ticket. Andrei, you mentioned that “city people in the summer are very much like prisoners.”  We are prisoners to the noise and hideous excrement left by the animals you so wish to make love to. A great “franchise opportunity” would be to take your two cats and all the animals from Battery Park, and let the real prisoners on Riker’s Island have a day with them. I am positive the local government has a grant just waiting.

Dr. Yilat Hune

Chatham Towers on garage

To The Editor:

We support a municipal garage and community/cultural center on the site of Collect Pond, presently a Department of Transportation parking lot during the week and municipal garage on the weekends.  This former municipal parking lot is located one block north of Worth St., between Centre and Lafayette Sts. have the capacity to hold more traffic and are easily accessible for cars coming off the Brooklyn Bridge or from Canal St.

Placing a 700-car garage at Chatham Green with a St. James Place entry would exacerbate the already congested traffic corridor of  Water St./St. James Pl./Worth St.  Chatham Square already severely impacted by the closing of Park Row would grind to a halt during rush hours and further impede emergency vehicle access.  The increased air/noise  traffic pollution,  dangers to pedestrians trying to navigate these streets and enveloping noisy and dusty construction would further disrupt business activity and  greatly reduce the quality of all our lives.

An income generating multi-level underground garage at Collect Pond would hopefully support the operation of an above ground community/cultural center.  This would do much to mitigate the loss of the former Municipal Garage at One Police Plaza and would be a win-win for the entire community.  Common Sense = Collect Pond.

David Cheng

President of the Chatham Towers Co-op board

Towers and tunnel


To The Editor:

The best way for Downtown Manhattan to show Al Qaeda that they have not been defeated is to bring back what they have taken away from, which is the real World Trade Center, mainly the Twin Towers (Editorial, July 23 – 29, “Rebuilding wisely”). The economy was in a slump since the attacks occurred just like the way it was before they were built.  Instead, people must face the plan that was originally thought by Daniel Libeskind, which was hardly liked by the public.  Over time, holes were punched into his plans, and I am glad that the West St. tunnel will not occur. People in Battery Park City hardly showed any support for it. Also, there are already several pedestrian bridges that cross over West St. right now, so there is no need for a tunnel. Just like the Freedom Tower, the West Street tunnel is just another project that is a waste of money.

Tal Barzilai

Pleasantville, N.Y.