Your Letters: Week of April 20, 2017

Soon It Will Be Too Late…

To The Editor

Re: “Do Something Meaningful For Supermarkets” (Talking Point by Kirsten Theodos, April 13):

When Ruth Messinger was the Upper West Side councilperson, she helped create the small Business Task Force. It was led by a wonderful cleaning-store owner; it’s so long ago I don’t remember his name. Gale Brewer was there with Ruth, along with an intern named Michael.

I do remember how hard everyone worked to get the word out that we were losing our small family stores at a fairly rapid pace due to enormous rent increases.

Learning from our effort with Sweet 14 — which ultimately failed to protect local stores — the Small Business Task Force tried to have the businesses lead the fight, but the results were the same.

The state again told the city that Albany needed to pass legislation protecting small stores and the city asked the state for the required enabling legislation. Family businesses do not have the time or resources to lobby and take time off from work to save their livelihoods.

Ruth and her staff worked hard on the issue, as did the hatters’ union, which donated a small office, and a few banks sent representatives, and at least two events were mobilized.

But business owners are not organizers, and after a few years everyone got discouraged.

And now rents have really gotten out of hand and an extraordinary greed for profit is pushing them even higher. No matter how outrageous this all is, it’s hard to stop what’s going on. And this is no longer just a Manhattan issue.

Soon it will be too late.

Susan Leelike


No Excuse Not To Vote

To The Editor:

Re: “Do Something Meaningful For Supermarkets” (Talking Point by Kirsten Theodos, April 13):

Ms. Theodos is absolutely right. The City Council should bring the Small Business Jobs Survival Act up for a vote and pass it because this would be in the interest of small businesses — and New Yorkers. There is no excuse for not putting the SBJSA to a vote. Our progressive leaders need to be brave and stand up against the real estate lobby in a meaningful way.

Alison Greenberg


Real Figures Worse

To The Editor:

Re: “Do Something Meaningful For Supermarkets” (Talking Point by Kirsten Theodos, April 13):

This is a good basic summary. However, as a practicing attorney representing small businesses in New York City for more than 30 years, I can say that only about 15 to 20 percent of businesses will either wait to be evicted or try to fight. That means that the real number of merchants that can’t renew their leases because of the huge greed and jacking up of the rents is about 80 percent. This translates into much higher numbers of small businesses unable to renew their leases, which can be seen by the vacancies on every commercial strip in every neighborhood in all five boroughs.

City Hall is rigged by the Real Estate Board of New York! That is the bottom line. Learn the facts, New York — not the phony excuses and alternative facts from people like Councilmember Johnson.

Steve Barrison

Barrison is co-chairperson, Coalition to Save NYC Small Businesses.


‘Throttling’ Traffic

To The Editor:

Re “ ‘Flip Fifth’ Plan Will Create Protected Bike Lane” (news, April 6):

Community Boards 2 and 5 have voted to throttle traffic on Fifth Ave. from 23rd St. to Eighth St. This will create the requisite traffic chaos and congestion it is designed to do.

Remember that bicycle lanes are not about bicycles (which carry under five percent of the city’s total passengers). They are about creating congestion. This should be of real concern to readers since the politicians of the area, including Deborah Glick and Brad Hoylman, support traffic throttling on 14th St. due to the L train shutdown “crisis.”

Expect more misery and delays from all of this. Congestion pricing failed totally politically, so this is the passive-aggressive answer: Create enough congestion and eliminate parking places, so we cannot park cars in the area.

The throttling of traffic on 14th St. will create congestion on the Village side streets, as well as a fight for parking spaces as those on 14th St. are eliminated to make room for Select Bus Service lanes. Bike lanes on 14th St. will just make it worse. It’s time to call our elected representatives.

John Wetherhold


A Great Victory For River!

To The Editor:

Re “ ‘Diller Isle’ Dead in the Water?” (news, April 6):

This is a great victory — and no thanks to the Hudson River organizations that dove into the tank, glub, glub, glub, glub, glub, on Diller Island. They turned their backs on the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association’s historic victory over the corrupt $6 billion Westway boondoggle, a victory that set aside this stretch of the river as a sanctuary for juvenile striped bass before they migrated to sea.

FYI, Westway was backed by two presidents, Carter and Reagan, two governors, Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo, two senators, Pothole D’Amato and Pat Moynihan, Mayor Edward I. Koch, The New York Times, construction unions, real estate interests and David Rockefeller, the latter whom essentially said, “Who cares if 36 percent of the juvenile striped bass disappear each year?”

Well, I daresay that he would have cared greatly had 36 percent of his bank’s assets disappeared each year.

Three Cheers for The City Club of New York!

Robert H. Boyle

Boyle is founder, Hudson River Fishermen’s Association and Riverkeeper.


‘A Blow to Thousands’

To The Editor: 

Re “ ‘Diller Isle’ Dead in the Water?” (news, April 6):

Score a victory for those who’d like to see Hudson River Park sink into the sea.

The court ruling, barring Pier55 from moving ahead, was a blow to the thousands who have been looking forward to this new treasure of a park on the city’s majestic waterfront. The asphalt-slabbed Pier 54 was shut for safety reasons years ago. In its place, a generous philanthropic gift offered a lush green garden and nonprofit arts center.

Pier55 wasn’t without controversy. The Friends of Hudson River Park — an independent 501(c)(3) organization — participated in hours of public meetings to evaluate this proposal, a gift in excess of $100 million offered by Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg. Community Board 2 went through the plan clause by clause — and managed to improve it. In the end, CB2 supported Pier55 after hearing from hundreds of voices in the community.

One group that wasn’t there to listen was The City Club of New York — a dormant organization that woke up to file its lawsuit. The City Club pursued its case with no input from the people who actually rely on Hudson River Park for open space — for access to water, yes, and also to sky, and air and green. Hudson River Park is all of these, in a city that hungers for them.

Pier55 poses no environmental threat to the Hudson River. Every court decision made that clear, including last week’s. And yet, there are still a few people who believe that the best future for the Hudson River waterfront is one underwater: Let the piers sink into decrepitude.

Seventeen million visits to Hudson River Park each year — runners and sit-in-the-sunners alike — are a testament to all the New Yorkers who beg to differ.

Susanna Aaron

Aaron is secretary, Friends of Hudson River Park.



Re: “Mission Affordable: Survey a Start for Better Grocery Shopping Options” (news, posted to chelseanow.com March 8):

The trouble is we need a supermarket [affordable] for Penn South residents, on our premises. How long is that lease to Gristedes on W. 26th St.? A Key Food would be a lot better, and not just for the retired and fixed income people, but for all of us living here where prices are too high. Too many of my neighbors walk all the way to Fairway and Trader Joe’s and avoid shopping in Gristedes unless it is “10 Percent Off Senior Discount Tuesday.” Western Beef is also a long walk and probably has the best selection of frozen foods, with good sale prices. I wish there was an Aldi close [by]. Many of us do shop in Whole Foods, where I know I can find my fresh fish and other things — but some people cannot afford to shop there either. I shop there mostly, but it costs me a lot on a fixed income.

Joanne Adler Sinovoi