Letters to the editor, Jan. 26

Greenmarket is a business

A fall afternoon in Stuy Town greenmarket.

I am the writer of the letter that the “Stuy Town greenmarket should remain as is” letter writer responded to last week. To say that I selectively quoted the letter from the Department of City Planning’s Director, Amanda Burden, is simply incorrect and misleading. I quoted exactly what Director Burden said specifically about greenmarkets, which is – and I quote – that “greenmarkets that operate as an open commercial use would be prohibited on residentially zoned portions of the site.”

I don’t know how Director Burden could have been any clearer about the illegality of the current location of ST/PCV’s greenmarket. It’s a commercial enterprise operating on a residentially zoned area of Stuyvesant Town, which makes it illegal in its present location. Period.

The writer of last week’s letter also says that the greenmarket is “barely commercial” and more accurately should be categorized as a non-profit and therefore should be exempt from the residential zoning law. Make no mistake about it; despite any other more elevated reasons that farmers grow things, they do it to make money because everyone needs money to live. Some people make money by going to work in an office; farmers make money by growing things and selling them. Very nice of them to work to provide food for people, but it’s a commercial activity, nonetheless.

As for the argument that the greenmarket is not really a greenmarket, but rather an “accessory agricultural provider,” tell it to Grow NYC. Grow NYC runs all of NYC’s Green Markets, including the one in Stuyvesant Town. Look at their website (grownyc.org)  and you will see there is no question that the farmers who come to Stuyvesant Town constitute a greenmarket. Sorry, but that argument isn’t going to fly either.

No one has suggested ending the Stuyvesant greenmarket and indicating that some of us are trying to do just that once again attempts to make this about “zucchini” and disenfranchising older, mobility-impaired tenants when it is actually about the zoning regulations and what is and is not legal. The greenmarket is a welcome addition here, but it needs to move to a legal location on the property, which Councilman Garodnick has said that he would happily facilitate. Management has shown contempt for the law over and over and it is up to concerned tenants to stop them. Most recently, management did it by imposing an illegal $8 keycard fee, contrary to the DHCR order on keycards and by having no fire marshal present, as required by their Temporary Place of Assembly Permit for the skating rink.

Come spring, if management re-installs the greenmarket in an illegal location, it will have a fight on its hands with tenants who take issue with it violating the zoning laws and commercializing the Oval and the Department of City Planning and/or the courts will be asked to settle the issue. Concerned tenants hope that management will do the right thing and work with Councilman Garodnick to relocate the greenmarket to a legal location on the property.

Name withheld, ST

Defending market freedom

In response to letter, “Take another look at the world,” T&V, Jan. 12 by H. Zwerling, which was written in response to the letter, “’Rand’ing and Raving,” by Mark Suall, T&V, Jan. 5)
Howard Roark, the fictional hero of “The Fountainhead” is indistinguishable from all real American capitalist visionaries from Robert Fulton to Bill Gates. Through Roark, Rand is simply defending those freedoms that made the United States the most technologically advanced, wealthiest society in world history. Unfortunately the politicians responsible for volumes of regulations and usurping trillions in taxes annually have created a tidal wave of debt and eroded our competitive advantage.

Meanwhile, the so-called “third world” is marching in the opposite direction. They have dumped central planning for market capitalism, necessitating the very freedoms Rand espoused.

Today, every organization that monitors global economies is in unanimous agreement: the move to market economies has pushed approximately 55 percent of the worlds population into the middle class. Of course that’s precisely why one country after another continues hopping on the Friedmanite, free market train. In fact, those stats are widely available to anyone, thanks to two more great American inventions – the personal computer and the internet. Simply type “global middle class growth” in any search engine and the reports pour forth.

Mark Suall, PCV

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