Letters, Week of Oct. 1, 2015

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

Settlement seniors’ payback

To The Editor:
Re “A hard row to hoe: Garden or housing at Little Italy lot?” (news article, Sept. 27):

The article on the Elizabeth St. Garden reports that a group of senior citizens from Hamilton-Madison House in Chinatown — located well over a mile away from the garden and in a different community board — were bused in by Hamilton-Madison House personnel. No doubt this was done to try to bolster Councilmember Margaret Chin’s flimsy argument of “community” support for the destruction of the beautiful garden.

It would have been admirable if these senior “activists” and Hamilton-Madison House were motivated by altruism or concern for affordable housing.

However, a check of the City Council’s budget data base reveals that Chin has given Hamilton-Madison House $211,000 since 2011. See www.council.nyc.gov/html/budget/database.shtml .

This tit-for-tat payback is yet another example of the pay-to-play and divisive politics that Margaret Chin continues to employ to destroy the Elizabeth St. Garden.
Sean Sweeney

Chin shows insensitivity

To The Editor:
Re “A hard row to hoe: Garden or housing at Little Italy lot?” (news article, Sept. 27):

Destruction of the garden would be a travesty — like destroying a work of art. As a senior in Community Board 2, I pass the garden several times a week on my way to the Chinatown Y / University Settlement House Community Center, and consider this little park to be a jewel — a beautiful spot, a unique refuge and a place for many in the community to enjoy.

There are other options in Lower Manhattan to build affordable housing with many more units. Margaret Chin’s advocacy for building housing on this garden site is misplaced and shows her insensitivity to the needs of this community, where there are few parks and where quality-of-life issues are so important to many of us.
Susan Fortgang

Who could even afford it?

To The Editor:
Re “A hard row to hoe: Garden or housing at Little Italy lot?” (news article, Sept. 27):

A number of housing groups have suggested that “affordable housing” should be renamed “income-based housing” because income guidelines are still beyond the means of many New Yorkers. Question is, how many of the people Margaret Chin bused in from Chinatown will actually be able to afford these apartments?
Stacy Walsh Rosenstock

Hail Mary!

To The Editor:
Re “No hope for a visit by pope in East Village, but a few score tickets” (news article, Sept. 27):

If Francis is the people’s pope, Mary Reinholz qualifies as the people’s pundit with this excellent piece of neighborhood vérité — a walk around the East Village that I found vivid, insightful, ironic and relevant to some of the major issues of Pope Francis’s visit.

It’s smart writing with a lot of heart. I like that.
Umberto Tosi

Thanks for the paper, Barry!

To The Editor:
Re “Honoring Benepes’ benefits to gardens and more” (news article, Sept. 27):

Many years ago, Barry Benepe, my next-door neighbor on Jane St., gave me the gift of a year’s subscription to The Villager. This led to my religiously reading the paper from cover to cover each week.

One week I wrote a letter to the editor about one of the articles I had read. That letter led to my writing for The Villager for more than 12 years and launched me in a career I would never have considered — writing for newspapers and magazines. Just another — granted, this is a personal note — extraordinary accomplishment of the remarkable Barry Benepe.

Merci, Barry!
Patricia Fieldsteel

No. 7 funding was flubbed

To The Editor:
“New Hudson Yards Station is on another level” (Rhymes With Crazy, by Lenore Skenazy, Sept. 17) missed part of the story. 

The original cost of the No. 7 subway extension to W. 34th St. Hudson Yards was $2.1 billion, and is now $2.4 billion, not counting the subway station that had to be dropped from the original scope of work, along with additional subway cars necessary to provide opening day service. 

Neither the city nor the M.T.A. could find $500 million to cover the planned new intermediate subway station to be built at 10th Ave. and 41st St. Deletion of this second station kept the project cost at $2.4 billion rather than $2.9 billion.   

What the public is unaware of is the M.T.A.’s decision when the project was in the planning stage several years before 2007. The agency instructed staff not to follow the federal National Environmental Protection Act process or enter the U.S. Department of Transportation New Starts process. The M.T.A. did not want to go after New Starts funding for this project. This would have had this project compete against both the L.I.R.R. East Side Access and NYC Transit’s Second Ave. subway projects for federal New Starts funding. The M.T.A. provided no financial assistance and insisted the city pay for virtually all of the project costs.

The M.T.A. could have leveraged the $2.4 billion in locally committed funding to apply for up to $500 million in New Starts funding. This could have convinced U.S. D.O.T. to provide $500 million in federal funding that would have paid for the deleted station at 10th Ave. and 41st St.
Larry Penner

A selfless volunteer

To The Editor:
Re “C.B. 3 member, wife, future in-law die in car crash” (obituary, Sept. 17):

Morris and I were friends for more than 30 years. We served together on Community Board 3. Although he was from Grand St. and had what appeared to be a more conservative voting record than I did, we had a lot in common and agreed on many issues.

When he knew he had to vote against an issue I supported, he talked to me and we came to an understanding.

What many people don’t know about him, and wasn’t mentioned in the obituary in The Villager, was that not only was he a volunteer for the Hatzolah ambulance corps and the auxiliary police, but he recruited many so-called minority kids and helped them eventually join the Police Department. 

When I was elected chairperson of C.B. 3, Morris brought his prized ambulance over to Smith Houses, where I lived at the time, and showed me all of the equipment and took me for a ride. He was very proud that he had been able to secure such lifesaving equipment.

People may not know that in 2001 he was hit by a fire truck when he was on a volunteer ambulance call. He was hospitalized more than a month. As a result, he was on modified duty at his job as a security officer in the World Trade Center. Because of that, he was reporting to work at 10 a.m. instead of his regular 8 a.m. Had he been there at 8 a.m., knowing Morris, he certainly would have been running up the stairs to help save people and probably would have been killed. I always thought that the accident saved his life. At least we had him for another 14 years.

His loss and the loss of his wife and future son-in-law is a tragedy not only for his family but for this entire community. There should be more people like Morris Faitelewicz. We will miss him.
Anne Johnson

A pioneer in recycling

To The Editor:
Re “Adam Purple, gardens godfather, 84, dies biking on Williamsburg Bridge” (news article, Sept. 17):

One of the things I remember about Adam Purple — and the obits have touched on it but have not gone into detail about it — is that he was recycling things in large quantities before most people had even thought about doing it or even called it recycling. He was a true pioneer in this respect.

I remember that after he was evicted from his Forsyth St. building, the word got around that there was a party there and people could come and take anything they wanted. I went and was amazed at all the different things he had in the building and how it was separated into different rooms. There was a room packed with magazines, a room with bike parts and other spare parts, a room with bottles, plates, eating utensils and on and on.

It was pretty amazing and things were orderly and separated. But there was a massive amount of stuff he had collected over the years and people were blown away and took a lot of the things. It must have been very sad for him to lose his garden and his building and all the things he had collected over many years.

One thing for sure, there will never be another New Yorker like him. It’s too bad because he was a visionary and a creative genius. His garden was like no garden I have ever seen before, and he used organic garden techniques before any of us had even heard the phrase “organic gardening” used.

Adios, Adam, and the cosmos must be spinning faster because you are part of it now.
John Penley

Writing of Rev-Les Ego

To The Editor:
Re “Adam Purple, gardens godfather, 84, dies biking on Williamsburg Bridge” (news article, Sept. 17):

Adam, I first saw your writing on a wall in 1972, the stoned brilliance of the Reverend Les Ego changed my life. You were the original Mr. Natural. Bless you for your many contributions.
Robert Sommers

Bean’s cold press

To The Editor:
Re “The Bean: The little cafe that could” (news article, Sept. 10):

Let us remember that the Bean on E. Ninth St. is responsible for putting a bakery and coffee shop out of business that had served the neighborhood and beyond for close to a 100 years. That’s “tradition.”
Jack Brown

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