Letters to the Editor

We’re regular season champs

To The Editor:

In the latest issue of Downtown Express it appears someone made an error (Youth article, June 17 – 23, “Blue Jays take the season title”). Although the Downtown Little league Blue Jays (with their 8-4 record) were reported to be league champions for the season in the Junior Division they were only the American League Champions for the season. My team, the Pirates (with a 12-0-1 record), were the National League Champions as well as the overall division champions which included Downtown Little League, Stuyvesant Little League and Greenwich Village Little League. The Pirates are the first undefeated G.V.L.L. team (in any division from T-Ball to the Seniors Division) in over three years.

Lou Scrima

Pirates manager

Soho school problems

To The Editor:

Re “Soho students arrested” (police blotter, June 17 – 23):

For nearly 30 years I have maintained my Soho studio just up the street from Chelsea Vocational High School. In that period of time I have witnessed and experienced many incidents with the students from the school. Some were positive, many were not.

However, when one considers the conditions inside the school, it is not surprising this sort of thing occurs — it is surprising that it does not occur more often.

I invite anyone to please contact the principal of Chelsea Vocational, and make an appointment to walk through the building while class is in session. Anyone who takes the time to do so will be shocked to see the dismal and totally out-of-date conditions in which these students are forced to try to shape their future. The building is not only an insult to the kids who go there, it is a disgrace to the city. It seems to me that if Charles Dickens were alive and writing — he would be doing his research at Chelsea Vocational High School.

One huge problem is that the school has no cafeteria or gathering place where the kids can hang out or exercise under supervision. Their gym is little more than four walls and two hoops. Without the appropriate gathering space, the kids are forced out of the confines of the school and directly into the flow of the neighborhood traffic, where they wander unchaperoned and uncontrolled. This is a failure in design of the school much more than it is a failure in the makeup of the kids.

If nothing is done to modify the school and provide these kids with a supervised space to eat and hang out, they will simply keep running the streets of Soho where mischief will continue to be a form of recreation. Police presence can help in the short run, but keep in mind that these police officers must come from other duties which are then neglected.

It seems to me that the only way to improve the situation at Chelsea Vocational is to improve the school itself. If we will give the kids a break and provide them respectful learning conditions, we will give the local Soho neighborhood a much-needed break at the same time.

Lawrence White

Neutral on traffic changes

To The Editor:

Re “Input sought on Canal traffic study’s second phase” (news article, June 3 -9):

It is perhaps understandable that with all the rebuilding activity going on in Chinatown these days that one could mix up projects and the different organizations undertaking these endeavors. In an effort to clear up the possible confusion created by this article, I would like to set the record straight.

First, the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation is well past the proposed stage in its evolution and has already undertaken several short-term economic development projects.

While the Chinatown Partnership L.D.C. is very interested in supporting solutions that would increase on-street parking, the organization has never spoken with anyone about a pilot project for installing muni-meters. The organization is exploring all possible options, including adding muni-meters. We are also interested in the parking study that will soon be conducted by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and the Asian American Federation of New York, who will focus its research on off-street parking facilities.

Contrary to the news article, the Asian American Federation was not involved in establishing the organization. However, York Chan, the chairperson of C.C.B.A., did play a major role in rallying the community behind the Chinatown Partnership. But, it was Asian Americans for Equality, a local community development organization through its 3-year-long community planning project, the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative, that led the launch of this new economic development organization.

Furthermore, the Chinatown Partnership has not agreed to oversee a street closure at the intersection of Canal, Baxter and Walker Sts. The Chinatown Partnership L.D.C. will closely examine the possibility of closing some streets during the evenings to create a night market. However, we are at the earliest stages of planning and have not chosen a location and would first work very closely with the residents and merchants to determine, the size, time and activities associated with a night market for Chinatown.

It is true that all of these recommendations can be found in the R.C.I. planning study released in April 2004 and that R.C.I. created the foundation for the Chinatown Partnership, however, the Chinatown Partnership is a separate, independent organization with 15 board members representing a cross section of business, cultural and civic leaders who are setting the organization’s policy and direction.

Robert Weber

Rebuild Chinatown Initiative

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