Letters, Week of July 3, 2013
MTA stumbles on dangerous steps
To The Editor:
As a senior citizen, I have sent innumerable written notices to the MTA regarding the dangerous situation of the unhighlighted, and poorly lit, steps at the 12th Street entrance to the IRT Seventh Avenue subway line in Manhattan (14th Street Station, 12th Street entrance).
I know a senior citizen who stumbled and fell on these very same unmarked steps, and eventually died as a result. I hold on dearly to the banisters as I descend carefully, often missing my train.
Before another accident occurs, I wish to draw this dangerous situation to the attention of the general public in order to create pressure on the MTA to finally correct this problem.
Kudos, but try some transparency
To The Editor:
Kudos to Assemblymember Deborah Glick and state Senator Brad Hoylman for once again warding off the misguided, often-revived push to amend the Hudson River Park Act to allow residential development in our waterfront park. Although some may dislike the permission for air-rights transfers, I am grateful to our two legislators in finding other funding sources for our park.
Absent (and lamented by Senator Hoylman) was transparency. Proposed legislation that can fundamentally affect our precious open waterfront has to be reviewed by the community, not hidden from public view until it is done. When the Hudson River Park Act was enacted in 1998, it was only after many public hearings and committee reports.
Assemblymember Richard Gottfried has already announced that “provisions relating particularly to Pier 40 and Pier 76” will be on the block next year. Let our legislators and our governor pledge now that proposed future amendments to the park act — especially concerning these piers — will be reviewed by the public, not decided behind closed doors.
Geballe is District Leader, 66th Assembly District, Part A
Rising rents equal transient tenants
To The Editor:
Thanks to State Senator Brad Hoylman for defending affordable housing. As a rent-stabilized tenant, I am about to sign on for a 7.75 percent increase on a two-year lease, and I can tell you that 7.75 percent in itself will be a financial hit for me. That the Rent Guidelines Board is considering upping the ante to 9.5 percent for two-year leases is unconscionable.
There are other problems that threaten our eroding base of affordable housing. Twelve years ago, my building had 16 rent-stabilized units out of 16 units; now it has four. Relatively stable market-rent tenants are complaining that the rising “market rents” they are being asked to pay at renewal are too high. These rents are not justified in a four-story, walk-up tenement that is, on the whole, rather poorly maintained, and the tenants cannot afford the increases.
Now we have discovered that some of the units are being rented out as hotel rooms, at prices that are triple, quadruple, quintuple and beyond “market,” as well as legal, stabilized rents.
After petitioning in the area around Petrosino Square for the upcoming September primary, and being bowled over by how many people identify themselves not only as not registered Democrats but as temporary residents and noncitizens, I went online and discovered on Airbnb — one of the main clearinghouses for apartment hotel rentals — no less than 156 units advertised in the nine square blocks bounded by Cleveland Place and Elizabeth Street and Broome and Prince Streets.
My building has been plagued by burglary, blasting sound systems, hallways reeking of marijuana, trash being dumped inside and in front of the building, and the list goes on. As I wrote to my landlord recently, our affordable housing residence is being turned into a pricey flophouse for transients.
Who will step in to arrest this destruction of our homes and, as importantly, our sense of community, which depends on residential continuity?Georgette Fleischer
Fleischer is founder, Friends of Petrosino Square