Letters: Week of March 31, 2016
The case to curb Barneys’ loading zone plan
To The Editor:
Re: “Barneys Bargain Table: When Neighborhood Activism and CB4 Scrutiny Made a Retail Behemoth Blink” (news, Feb. 25, 2016):
At a recent CB4 transportation committee meeting, the luxury retailer Barneys made a presentation seeking to have three parking spots on W. 16th St. converted into a loading zone. There was strong opposition from the store’s residential neighbors at the meeting and the committee voted to recommend that the loading zone not be created. However, the issue will not be settled until Apr. 6 — when the full community board puts the issue to a vote. It’s unfortunate that this item is even still on the agenda at all. Barneys stated that they wanted to be friendly to the community and its concerns.
The community has spoken, yet Barneys has not withdrawn their request in order to make amends. This is a continuation of bad behavior on their part, and a lost opportunity to mend fences.
Some points of note:
—Barneys lied, saying the Department of Transportation (DOT) forbade them from loading and unloading via Seventh Ave. The DOT clarified at the meeting they certainly can load and unload from there, as Loehmann’s (the previous tenant of the space) did.
—Cars can barely fit between the curb and the bike lane on W. 16th St. Any loading zone usage with box trucks will, without question, partially block the bike lane on W. 16th. Barneys presented a diagram misrepresenting the location of the bike lane at the meeting. This shows a disregard for the safety of area bicyclists.
—The block association presented an agreement they had in an email that said Barneys would not load and unload via W. 16th St. Barneys had no explanation for the misrepresentation. They simply offered they did not want to honor that.
—Barneys said their priority is to not damage a marble floor at their entrance on Seventh Ave. The marble floor itself proves Barneys never intended to honor their agreement with the block association.
—Barneys claimed that loading and unloading on W. 16th St. will offer better security for their luxury products. The truth is that whether they unload on Seventh Ave. or W. 16th St., they would still need the same amount of personnel to watch the merchandise as it traverses the sidewalk in the open.
Barneys still has some time to do the right thing and fully withdraw their request. I hope they will.
Don’t get me started on Hudson Yards subway stop
To The Editor:
There are even more problems with new Hudson Yards #7 Midtown Manhattan Westside subway station — including broken escalators and out of service bathrooms, along with water leaks from the ceiling that are even worse. The original cost of the overall project was $2.1 billion and grew to $2.4 billion.
Neither New York City nor the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) could find $500 million to pay for the proposed intermediate subway station to be built at 10th Ave. and W. 41st St. that was part of the original project. The trick used by the MTA to complete this project within budget was to drop a portion of the original work. Deletion of this second station kept the project cost at $2.4 billion rather than $2.9 billion.
Keeping on schedule was just as bad. Construction started in 2007 with a planned completion date of Dec. 2013. The anticipated first opening day slipped several times from this date: first to June 2014, second to Feb. 2015, third to June 2015 and finally to Sept. 13, 2015 — 21 months late!
In the rush for final completion, you have to ask if the MTA cut corners in inspection and acceptance — also known as quality assurance and quality control — which may have resulted in the premature opening of the station. Did the MTA hold back release of retainage or final payment to contractors until they fix all these problems? Commuters and taxpayers should expect no less. How will the MTA respond in the future when the same contractor bids on other new construction projects?
FEEDBACK FROM FACEBOOK
Re: Loyal Customers Rally, as Supermarket Faces Lethal Lease (news, Mar. 17, 2016):
Under current laws, the owners of commercial properties can charge whatever rents they wish. I may be ignorant, but my perception is that elected officials have the power to change existing laws and to make new laws to protect the city, its culture and ideals, and its inhabitants. But the city appears, in case after case, to be “giving the store away.” While I understand that a show of support from citizens is helpful in passing laws, it seems to me that the support of the citizenry has not been necessary where the interests of rich and powerful global, international, and corporate entities are concerned. Indeed, my perception as a plain, non-rich citizen is that large groups of local citizens only get their way when higher-ups were planning to do what these citizens wanted anyway. How do our elected officials see our future? More importantly, how do elected officials analyze the present situation in NYC? And, most importantly, why do the elected officials appear to be protecting their own power bases at the expense of the life and health of the city?
There is a Gristedes a few blocks north on Eighth Avenue — what’s the problem?
I remember when this market opened, just after I moved to the Village in 1989. It has always been a wonderful feature of the neighborhood, with a great variety of stock, excellent vegetables and fruits, and superb, attentive service. If this business also goes under just because the forces of real estate have brought so much greed, it will be a tremendous loss.
Re: “Changes Coming to Clement Clarke Moore Park (news, Mar. 17, 2016):
I live near the park on W. 22nd St. The tall fence must remain tall. The West 400 Block Association and neighborhood residents worked for years to get the fence installed. The fence, which is locked at night, transformed a cesspool of antisocial and dangerous activities into the popular oasis it is today.
The fence was installed for the safety of the park and the homeowners on W. 21st and W. 22nd St. so that people wouldn’t climb into the park at night and over the back fences. Many hours were spent designing the park and security. Maybe someone should dig up the old files and take the history into consideration when making decisions. The Block Association pays for the locking of the park in the evening, so we are committed to the safety of the park and those surrounding the park.
I live across the park and wholeheartedly agree with Eileen McElduff’s comment. To implement the “Parks Without Borders” initiative at Clement Clarke Moore Park flies into the face of the neighboring residents’ safety, which should be the number one priority of any park design. Decreasing the height to four feet will make the fence easily scalable and revert the park to a haven for crimes of opportunity and the pissoir it once was. Those who have been in the neighborhood a long time know this unpleasant history of the park all too well.