City plan not Coney baloney: The Brooklyn Paper mailbag

To the editor,

Your Oct. 18 editorial (“Bloomberg’s Coney baloney”) regarding the city’s recent purchase of property in Coney Island’s amusement district misunderstands the city’s strategy for preserving the open amusements that are Coney’s defining feature.

The city’s number one goal, as part of a comprehensive plan to revitalize Coney Island, is to ensure that its iconic rides, arcades, food stands and other outdoor amusements are open and accessible in perpetuity.

While the city does propose to “map” the nine-acre open amusement area as parkland, it is not true that “virtually anything can be built” in mapped parkland. In fact, designation of property as “mapped parkland” permanently prohibits hotels, condos, convention centers and other similar commercial uses.

State legislation that will be sought by the administration will allow for a long-term lease of mapped parkland for amusement-related uses only, to promote the vitality of Coney Island’s amusement area while ensuring that incompatible uses can never be developed there.

Mapping the open amusement area as “parkland” is the best way to ensure that Coney Island’s amusements are protected irrespective of economic pressures — something existing zoning has failed to do.

The state legislation will be subject to public scrutiny. Under the zoning proposal that will be considered early next year, open amusements in the “mapped parkland” will become the centerpiece of a 27-acre year-round amusement district with — on the privately owned parcels — open and enclosed amusements, hotels, water parks, restaurants, performance venues, skating rinks and similar complementary attractions.

Amanda Burden, Manhattan

City Planning Commissioner.

MTA bums

To the editor,

I read your article about the MTA building at 370 Jay St., (“Downtown to MTA: Sell 370 Jay St,” Oct. 25) and thought it was long overdue.

Now the trick is to get the MTA to do something. They always figure that once the dust settles, they can go back to their old routine of neglect. The only time the MTA does anything is when its feet are in the fire.Al Pankin, Downtown

The BQ-Evil

To the editor,

Your article on the “triple cantilever” section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (“Triple threat! Experts: BQE repairs threaten ‘park,’” Oct. 25) reported that repairs are long overdue and the cantilevered section could collapse if it is not fixed by 2018, and a plan won’t even be in place until 2015.

In 1961, President Kennedy challenged NASA to get a man on the moon in that decade. Eight years and two months later, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

In 1994, an earthquake destroyed more than eight miles of the Santa Monica Freeway. That repair was started within three months and the freeway was reconstructed in another six months.

Six years to create the final plan for 8,000 feet of highway is a joke. And waiting three more years to start repairs that are currently overdue seems reckless.

This city has many great engineering schools.

Herbert Marks, Brooklyn Heights


To the editor,

Councilman David Yassky was trying to reframe the issue of term limits in a very self-serving manner (“Yassky is still undecided on term limits,” Oct. 18). When he said “it is incumbent upon me to weigh the benefits of a 12-year limit against the desire to have the decision remain in the hands of the voters.”

The issue is more properly framed as whether the Council should overturn the two public referenda that created term limits or leave the question alone.

If Yassky truly believed that the Council has the power to extend term limits and that 12 years is better than eight, then he should have proposed legislation that would make that extension effective only for those not already serving, including the mayor.

I voted against term limits twice. Yassky and all of the other councilmembers had a clear obligation to uphold the will of the voters, even though they may disagree.

Marc Korashan, Park Slope


To the editor,

Mayor Bloomberg’s call for a third term is an odd development. Suddenly Mayor Mike is under the mistaken impression that he can somehow rescue New York City from the mess that Wall Street greed has gotten us all into?

It’s funny how we as voters, and as “regular people,” didn’t share in any of the profits from which these bankers and investors benefited when the system was running amok, yet we will be called upon now to rescue it.

Robert Segarra, Park Slope


To the editor,

I am a regular reader of The Brooklyn Paper and I have never felt compelled to write a letter to the editor until I saw the front-page story about the cars that the judges at the Adams Street courthouse drive (“Un-American! Judges turn park into foreign car lot,” Oct. 18).

I acknowledge that it is quite possible that the article under this headline is meant to be humorous. But I still don’t agree with its premise.

I am a soon-to-be American citizen who lives in Carroll Gardens, and I am married to a state judge in Brooklyn. Want to know what I think is un-American? Judges in New York State have not received a raise in over 10 years! Not even an adjustment for the cost of living, which means that they, in fact, have seen their income reduced for the last 10 years, making it very hard, especially in the city, to maintain a middle-class standard of life.

This is a great country, a democratic country, which likes to hold itself up as an example to countries. One of the safeguards of a well-functioning democracy is the quality of its judiciary system. It is appalling that the state legislature has refused to give judges a raise for so long.

However “irksome” the temporary judges’ parking lot may be for pedestrians, is it too much to temporarily tolerate so that judges take advantage of one of the few perks they have?

The lack of a raise in 10 years limits the pool of people who become judges, including some who would be excellent at it.

And, by the way, that’s our 10-year old Volvo in the right side of the picture on your front page.

Please don’t throw around the term “un-American” in this manner.

Reineke Hollander, Carroll Gardens