Letters to The Editor, Week of March 17, 2016

Letters to The Editor, Week of Jan. 3, 2018

Soho actually beat Trump

To The Editor:

“Who’s is this f—-n’ guy? Trump from Soho to Uh-oh?” (talking point, by Lincoln Anderson, March 10):

Trump did not prevail, as you have stated. He lost — big time.

His intention was to sell residential condos, which he disingenuously described as condo-hotel rooms. Soho and Greenwich Village activists knew immediately his proposal was a scam to skirt the zoning. The Soho Alliance sued and persuaded the New York State attorney general to include notice of our lawsuit in the condo offering, thus scaring off any potential buyers. Who pays $2,000 a square foot to buy into a lawsuit?

We also filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington that he was marketing Trump Soho as a “real estate investment,” yet never registered his investment with the S.E.C. This got the feds on his case and caused him lots of grief, which he admitted in his book “Never Give Up.”

Furthermore, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony you described, Trump famously bragged — and lied — that he had dozens of co-op units sold. In fact, only a handful were sold. But naive foreigners believed that statement and bought additional units, only to find out later that most of the units in the building were, in fact, not sold. So they sued to get their deposit money back, based on Trump’s fallacious public statements that day.

With no buyers at that point, and thus no income flow, the property went into foreclosure. With no buyers, Donald Trump was forced to use it as a hotel, which is a legal use in that part of Soho — a use no one here complained about and the use we wanted in the first place.

Trump even grudgingly admitted in “Never Give Up” that we activists had him on the ropes. He devoted an entire chapter to it, entitled “I Love a Good Fight,” focusing on his battle with us. At the chapter’s end, he admitted that we “caused him great anxiety,” among other uncharacteristic admissions of weakness.

So today the building is functioning legally as a hotel — which is what we wanted all along — and not a single condo has sold. No, Trump did not prevail. He lost.

Sean Sweeney

Sweeney is director, Soho Alliance 


Green with praise

To The Editor:

Re “Purple, pedicabs, a push for recycling: A look back at New York’s ‘Eco ’80s’ ” (news article, March 10):

Terrific article by Bill Weinberg — evocative, eloquent and succinct. I happen to disagree about Citi Bike; I think its positives far outweigh the downsides Bill mentioned. Ditto the pedestrian plazas. But no matter. Great piece.

And Carl Hultberg’s photos are indeed fabulous. Amazing that Carl was/is an activist, organizer, visionary, artist, photographer, chronicler and archivist all rolled into one.

Bravo to both Carl and Bill.

Charles Komanoff


In the doghouse

To The Editor:

As open space is intrinsic to the health and welfare of a community, there should be a moratorium for building on city-owned land Downtown. Community boards could help by working to protect what open space is left below 14th St., which has the least amount of open space in our city. But Community Board 2 wants to build housing in the open space at Hudson and Clarkson Sts. to save the Elizabeth St. Garden. The C.B. 2 chairperson’s reasoning is that we have more park here than on the East Side because of the Hudson River Park — but dog owners have been lobbying for that spot for years.

Currently, there is a problem for dog owners, who dwarf all other park-user groups, in terms of numbers. Basically, there is nowhere to go to play if you are a family with young children and a dog. There is nowhere to go if you have a service dog or want to train your dog, or if you have a small dog. This is particularly a hardship for the elderly since visits to the run are a free daily activity that connects to and builds community.

After eight years of lobbying by local dog owners, the Hudson River Park Trust gave a minuscule 2,400 square feet for the roughly 25,000 dog owners in the area. And after promising dog owners space on Pier 40, the Trust has reneged.

Dogs are a field sport. That is why we have used the blacktop field at Mercer and Houston Sts., though N.Y.U. is slated to develop it, and why we used J.J. Walker ball field until we were locked out — in favor of league sports — with no alternatives offered. Nowadays, when I go by J.J. Walker, I ask where the teams using the field are from. For much of the year, they are adult teams coming from other areas, where they have adequate parks and fields.

So how is it possible that dog owners are so underrepresented? Who do our community forums serve? The C.B. 2 chairperson advocates for more athletic fields in the C.B. 2 area. The C.B. 2 chairperson, the C.B. 2 Parks and Waterfront Committee chairperson and the current Hudson River Park Advisory Council chairperson are all ex-Greenwich Village Little League presidents.

No one representing dog owners has been invited onto the Parks and Waterfront Committee. Meanwhile, the advisory council has at least five ball league members and not one dog owner group member. In short, if your child likes the outdoors but not team sports — like my son — he or she is out of luck here.

How is this disparity allowed to continue? I challenge our community forums to represent all of us — since we all pay taxes for park recreation. Thanks to C.B. 2 for voting to save Elizabeth St. Garden. Now, please save dog owners’ space and any open space left. We don’t have any to spare.

Lynn Pacifico


She trusts in Taylor

To The Editor:

Re “Fox has his facts all wrong on Pier 57 project” (talking point, by Diana Taylor, March 3):

I could not agree more with Diana Taylor’s column concerning the Pier 57 project. As a Chelsea resident I stand in firm agreement with Ms. Taylor on the benefits of Pier 57 to the community.

The pier is finally ready to be utilized for the public after several years of going unused. Moreover, it would add more than 90,000 square feet of public park area for people to enjoy. The Hudson River Park Trust continually works with the community to inform its neighbors about the progress it makes, as well as gives us opportunities to give input before things happen.

As a parent I am constantly trying to build a better city for my own children and other children, and Pier 57 is part of this movement. I look to examples like the High Line of the greatness we can achieve by reutilizing abandoned and underused properties and facilities, and I hope we don’t forgo this opportunity to do something unique and special at Pier 57.

Catherine Juracich


Blaz in the zone

To The Editor:

On behalf of the dozens of tenants represented by the Haven Plaza Tenants Association, we support vital reforms that will grow and protect affordable housing. Our fellow tenants are working people. They need and deserve affordable housing, and the zoning reforms proposed by the mayor will significantly boost the supply of affordable housing in our neighborhood.

Decades ago, tenants had the support of programs like Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 to help them afford their homes. We need a new approach today that meets the needs of our time.

The crisis we’re in has meant all of us are spending more and more of our income on rent. Today, more than half of New Yorkers are rent-burdened, spending more than one-third of their take-home pay on rent. Every dollar spent on rent is one less dollar we have to feed our families, to educate our kids and to save for the future. It’s forcing families out of neighborhoods they’ve lived in their entire lives — and the only solution is to build a lot more affordable housing for the people who need it.

What the de Blasio administration has proposed will change the reality in our neighborhoods for the better. The mayor’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program change will make it a hard-and-fast requirement for developers themselves to build permanently affordable housing in any area of the city that is rezoned. That building will go along with construction that is subsidized by the city — and so exponentially increase the amount of affordable housing we can provide to our city’s working families.

We are also strong supporters of the Zoning for Quality and Affordability. By overhauling these outdated rules, as the city proposes, we could not just increase the amount of senior and affordable housing built in our city, but ensure those apartments are the kind we’d all be proud to live in.

The city is taking unprecedented steps to preserve existing affordable apartments and protect tenants in their homes — but we can only turn the tide of this crisis if we change the way we build affordable housing and demand more from developers.

Together, these reforms will strengthen our neighborhoods, serve our tenants and ensure New York City remains a city for everyone. We urge you to support them.

Erma Campbell

Campbell is past president, Haven Plaza Tenants Association


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