Letters to the Editor, Jan. 22

Jan22 Toon Uber gray

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

In defense of de Blasio on horses and pandas

Re: Cartoon in T&V, Jan. 8, depicting a panda driving a horse-drawn carriage in front of an irate Mayor de Blasio

Dear Editor,

I disagree with attacks and cartoons aimed at Mayor de Blasio with regard to his defending the rights of horses in this city. He is concerned with the treatment and welfare of them living in a very noisy, overcrowded city where they do not belong “working” in traffic. This is not early 1900s NYC with few cars going about 15 miles an hour on virtually empty streets with few pedestrians walking around Central Park, no steel drums, no electrifying manhole covers and stray voltage, no taxis careening in and out, no millions of horns continuously blasting nonstop at everyone and everything. Quite honestly, this is not even a peaceful place for humans to live.

As for pandas, I wouldn’t subject these adorable animals either to a life in this noisy city. Politicians note: Pandas cost a fortune to feed and the taxpayers will pay for this – in a city where humans go hungry and homeless.

Politicians joking about de Blasio imply he must “hate horses” when he took a stand against the inhumanity of having carriage horses in this city, surely must know that animal lovers of this city have a conscience and do vote. Everyone should take a lesson from de Blasio’s comment and get a better understanding of treating these animals more humanely which will reflect upon us as a more caring and humane society.

With regard to carriage horses bringing income into the city through tourism, why can’t carriage horse drivers decorate and drive Pedicabs – the city would be cleaner and by pedaling pedicabs, the drivers would be healthier!

Siobhán Cronin, ST

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Letters to the Editor: Jan. 15

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Subletting requires more than just matchmaking

To the Editor:

Your story of January 8, 2014, entitled “New business aims to find sublets for students in Stuyvesant Town,” may lead to a misimpression, namely, that making arrangements for a sublet through Lucas Chu may be the complete, legal process.

Tenants should be aware that ST/PCV sublets are governed by rent stabilization regulations. DHCR Fact Sheet #7 lays out the obligations of the prime tenant which include, among other things, informing the owner of an intent to sublet 30 days in advance by certified, return receipt letter and spelling out the terms of the sublease.

Unsuspecting tenants may not realize their obligations or even that they may be in violation of rent regulation laws and unknowingly circumventing these requirements. The result could be eviction should the landlord choose to pursue it.

Ultimately, the approval of a sublet rests with landlord. As CWCapital’s spokesperson pointed out, Mr. Chu is marketing a legal service. This “legal service” is essentially a matchmaking service, but will CWCapital/Compass Rock vet the subletters? Is CW/CR now relaxing subletting requirements?

It used to be – and may still be – very difficult, if not impossible, for long-term tenants to get approval for a sublet. Are students in a privileged position?

Frequent short-term subletting increases the transient nature and instability of our community. It depletes our quality of life. It undermines our security. Characterizing Mr. Chu and the landlord’s apparent comfort with his services as outrageous is understating the case.


Susan Steinberg,
Chair, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 1

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

MTA not responding to M15 concerns

To the Editor:

As a former chair of the Transit Committee of the City Council, I was interested to read about the M15 bus’s “most unreliable” award (December 18 T&V). There is a lot wrong with the way the local and the Select Bus Service operate – but the MTA does not seem inclined to evaluate the situation from the passenger’s viewpoint.

Dr. Fernandez is right in pointing out that SBS buses frequently take off while people are on line trying to buy their tickets. This route is a busy hospital corridor, and many people are using this system for the first time. So they have to read the instructions – but if it’s dark out, or if they have to reach for their glasses, or if their MetroCard doesn’t go through on the first try, they and those standing behind them are likely to miss the bus.

Bob Kaplan (writer of letter, “M15 bus’s ‘award’ is well-deserved,” T&V, Dec. 18) is right in commenting on the many times would-be passengers at a local M15 stop see “at least three ‘Select’” buses roar by while they wait – seemingly for an eternity – for the local…

If there exists any signage informing people that there are two different bus lines serving the same route, I haven’t seen it. That’s why so many people wave frantically, wondering why the bus doesn’t stop for them. How about signs explaining the situation? – and even informing the public where the alternate bus stop is – say one block north or one block south? Even an arrow would be better than nothing.

Which brings us to a major passenger objection to the way these buses operate. Many people are willing to take whatever bus comes along first – local or express – but it is virtually impossible to do so on First and Second Avenues. Even where the two stops are next to each other as at 14th and First, and one could manage to sprint from one stop to the other, the conflicting ticket-buying procedures would almost invariably render impossible this hypothetical “choice.” Once again passenger options are severely limited.

What I’ve cited above are largely procedural difficulties, some of which could be rectified, or eased, by an innovative MTA. But there are policy questions largely ignored by said agency.

Buses are the transportation method of choice for a growing segment of the population: many elderly (who are increasing in numbers) as well as others who, whatever the reason, cannot climb subway steps. And if they can’t climb steps, it seems reasonable to assume that they might have difficulty walking extra blocks to find a bus stop that works for them.

There was a time in our city when this population was served by more frequent bus stops – not fewer. Today the goal of Select buses is to make the trip faster — regardless of how many people are inconvenienced by the process.

Giving customers what they want is usually the formula for a successful business. Before expanding the Select service, perhaps the MTA should identify its customer base – and then take steps to accommodate these frustrated riders.

Carol Greitzer,
Former City Council member representing
Peter Cooper Village

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M15 voted city’s most unreliable bus

Three M15 buses line up alongside a bus stop in front of Stuyvesant Town on First Avenue. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Three M15 buses line up alongside a bus stop in front of Stuyvesant Town on First Avenue. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Thursday, NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives bestowed their annual dubious award of “Schleppie” for the most unreliable bus line in the city to the M15, including its Select Bus Service (SBS) option.

The Schleppie, which is represented by two lumbering elephants on a pedestal, was given to the First and Second Avenue Manhattan line because of its tendency towards bus bunching as well as major gaps in service.

The award, which has been given since 2006, goes to any route with an average “wait assessment” greater than 20 percent. This determination is based on official “wait assessments” for “42 high-volume routes,” chosen by Transit. Wait assessment measures how closely a line sticks to scheduled intervals for arrival. Wait assessment becomes poorer the more buses arrive in bunches or with major gaps in service.

Still, the NYPIRG had some words of encouragement for the route, acknowledging that in 2013, the M15 was the most utilized route out of nearly 200 local routes in the entire city. The local and SBS together move 54,310 riders on an average weekday. The report also said Transportation Alternatives was optimistic things would improve once the city implements SBS routes.

“New Yorkers know from bitter daily experience that bus service is slow and unreliable,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “But there is real hope for dramatic improvement in Mayor de Blasio’s plan to build a rapid network of 20 ‘Select Bus Service/Bus Rapid Transit’ routes.”

The report also went on to say that based on its findings, SBS routes were living up to the expectation of being speedier than locals, while also performing “modestly” better in terms of reliability.

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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 18

You  want to put it where?

Re: “CB6 to vote on sanit. garage alternatives,” T&V, Dec. 18

To the editor:

On December 10, my wife and I attended an open meeting of Community Board 6.  Our chief interest was the report given by BFJ Planning — a private consultation firm — outlining two options for the construction of a sanitation garage in CB6. One plan would place the garage at 25th Street and First Avenue (Brookdale) as an underground facility with other as yet-to-be-determined structures above it. The other plan would place the plant on Avenue C between 15th and 16th Streets — a flat site currently owned by Con Ed and used for employee parking fronting a huge baseball/soccer field used by our community’s children in the spring, summer and fall seasons.

Both options would put the garage in a flood zone. In the case of the Brookdale option, with the garage underground, a flood from a storm of the Sandy type would not merely flood the garage with salt water, it would create a submerged structure — as in swimming pool — with indeterminate consequences for the garage itself, overlying structures and the immediate intersection — not a promising option.

In the second option, the one on Avenue C between 15th and 16th Streets, a flood of the Sandy type would clearly impact on the garage, as it impacted on everything in our area in 2012, but  here is the significant difference: the flood waters would recede. Of course there would be damage, but in this simplified scenario once the salt water recedes the area would dry and repairs would begin.

This raises the obvious question: for whom is the first plan, the Brookdale option, a consideration? We have heard some strong and firm objections to it, and in contrast, reasoned favorable remarks about the option on Avenue C — if Con Ed sells/rents/ transfers the property to the city, which I am sure the city and Con Ed will “work-out.” So… do we have two options? If you think, as I do (with the limited information available to us ordinary not-yet-apathetic-voters) you will conclude that in reality we have been given one real option.

It is the multiple story site on Avenue C between 15th and 16th Streets. To be sure, the decision making process will appear open, above board, well-reasoned, and in the end wholly predetermined. The result will be a two, three, four, five story maintenance/cleaning facility right smack in a flood zone.

So… in light of what scientists have been long-warning about climate change and the certain flooding of lowlands — witness this area in 2012 — can a paid consulting firm and city fathers do no better than propose building a garage in an area that government itself has designated a flood zone? (A suggestion: in view of climate certainties, find an elevated part of the island.)

John M. Giannone, ST

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