Your Letters: Issue of Jan. 4, 2018

Chelsea’s Unprotected Houses Need LPC’s Attention

To The Editor:

Re “Making a ‘Federal’ Case for Expanding the Chelsea Historic District” (news article, Dec. 6, 2017):

How sad that these three irreplaceable Federal Style row houses are now lost. Although 345 and 347 had been substantially altered, they retained the original façade brickwork that might have served as an authentic base for replication of historic elements and restoration of the houses to their original appearance. Until very recently, Number 349 had a largely intact and characterful façade.

The value of potential new luxury construction underlying Chelsea’s historic row houses all but dooms them to be treated as teardowns unless they receive urgently needed landmark designation. This was seen most painfully in last year’s proposal to replace the oldest house in the Chelsea Historic District, 404 W. 20th St., with a new building twice its size, retaining only the original house’s brick street façade.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission issued a permit allowing this, along with demolition of the house’s more significant wood-clad side wall and infill of its adjacent horse-walk side yard which exposed the wood siding to public view, historically telling features highlighted in the District’s 1970 Designation Report which made the house a staple of Chelsea walking tours.

Save Chelsea hopes that the Landmarks Commission will make more informed decisions in the future and that they will recognize the importance of expanding the Chelsea Historic District to include vulnerable areas like the block of W. 19th St. The three-building hole knocked out of this historic street wall is an irreplaceable loss. It’s nearly half a century since the Chelsea Historic District was created. Chelsea’s unprotected Federal and Greek Revival Style houses are that much older, and sadly — as your coverage tells us — rarer and more precious.

Board Member David Holowka on behalf of Save Chelsea


Report Ducks Larger Issue

To The Editor:

Re “Report Ponders Pier 40’s Future” (news article, Dec. 6, 2017):

The draft report by the Community Board 2 Future of Pier 40 Working Group is thoughtful and thorough, but stops short of fully confronting the contradictions of the park mandate as interpreted and implemented for the past 20 years. According to the Hudson River Park Trust, the future of Pier 40 and the entire park/esplanade requires a $1 billion commercial center to be built in the river, which will fully pay for its own construction, financing, developer fees and maintenance, plus $12.5 million dollars to the park annually. That’s a big project, reminiscent of the Hudson Yards and the Time Warner Center.

The Trust needs to scale down its building plans and seek other models for maintenance and funding. The only way to keep the Pier 40 playing field protected from winds but still open to the sun and sky is to keep the existing donut structure. Adaptive reuse could fulfill most of CB2’s recommendations for park-compatible facilities, but probably not the Trust’s hopes for maximum revenue.

Chris Gaylord


Weakness Invites Terrorism

To The Editor:

Re “After Attack, Blockers Installed to Broaden Protections on Narrow Bike Path” (news article, Nov. 16, 2017):

This attack, like all Islamic supremacists’ attacks, was not meant to separate us from our values or undermine our way of life. It was meant to kill us. That more than 16 years after 9/11, more innocent people’s blood was shed just blocks from Ground Zero, where the dust of the collapsed towers fell, people who were teenagers then, massacred by the same death ideology, is an obscenity and an affront to the dead of Sept. 11.

And how do our elected officials react? With the same homilies. It’s an “attack upon humanity.” Great, now what do you plan to do about it, de Blasio? Let’s install barriers and more cameras, post more heavily armed guards, have more body searches.

Our inaction, our weakness, our cowardice contributed to these deaths. We are so afraid of offending or cheating somebody somewhere — not of discounting our values or traditions — that we cheat these innocents, visitors to our city, of their lives. Weakness encourages terrorists, not a nonexistent intolerance on our part.

Michael Burke


Onboard With Ferries

To The Editor:

Re “Ferry Increase Floated as Way to Ease West Side Congestion” (news article, Nov. 30, 2017):

Older ferries can emit unwanted levels of air pollution. However, all new ferries must have low-pollution (Tier 3) engines, which are now powering the recently built citywide ferry fleet. Fortunately, there is no black smoke.

Just like other methods of transportation, ferries are getting cleaner. More surface traffic would reduce already-slow speeds on Route 9A and probably add more pollution. Ferries will actually benefit children by giving them awareness of, and access to, our waterways. Many will become users (swim, kayak, sail), stewards and advocates for this incredible natural resource.

Tom Fox

E-mail letters to [email protected] (not longer than 250 words in length) or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to Chelsea Now, Letters to the Editor, NYC Community Media, One MetroTech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. Chelsea Now reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity, and libel. Chelsea Now does not publish anonymous letters.

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