The Brooklyn Paper mailbag - Brooklyn Paper

The Brooklyn Paper mailbag

To the editor,

I am a longtime fan of your paper and an avid reader, especially of your dedicated coverage of development and land-use issues. I was surprised by your article on the recent community board meeting concerning proposals for Atlantic Basin in Red Hook (“City scolded on im-port-ant plan,” online, Jan. 6) in that it set up a false choice between the beer distribution company and Tom Fox’s water taxis.

To me, the story omitted the third proposal that seems to have unanimous support in the community: Portside New York.

Portside is a small, home-grown cultural institution that brings together diverse constituents in Red Hook and the larger New York Harbor community. As an advocate for smart, forward-looking waterfront planning, it seeks to promote awareness of both our strong maritime heritage and contemporary waterfront issues through exhibits, events and programs.

Portside is seeking a permanent home and the basin is a natural place to bridge upland communities and accessible water-borne activities for the general public.

Portside (and especially the historic coastal tanker Mary A. Whalen) delivers an invaluable sense of place that is quickly disappearing in New York City’s waterfront communities.

A wide range of people at the meeting you covered expressed great enthusiasm for Portside New York’s proposal.

This support was expressed by at least one of the two other applicants, the Economic Development Corporation, several Community Board 6 members and a chorus of local residents and business owners.

My sense was that Portside’s proposal — which has a much smaller footprint than either of the other two — could be smartly integrated into any of the other uses that were proposed.

Perhaps this is why you overlooked it, but it certainly was worthy of a mention.

Tim Ventimiglia, Boerum Hill

He’s grilled

To the editor,

Gersh Kuntzman has become an old fogy!

I must tell you I have always had outstanding service at Peter Luger (“Steaking a claim! Luger’s must hand crown to Morton’s,” Jan. 10). Yes, sometimes you wait a few minutes, but wait until Morton’s begins to get crowded and you will wait, too!

And what do you mean that Peter Luger offers no appetizers and no salads? You obviously have never ordered the onions and tomatoes. Luger’s tomatoes are better than the steaks (most of the time).

I can cook a steak as well as most other places — except Peter Luger. I go there a few times a year and can honestly say I never had a bad meal there. I can’t say the same thing about Morton’s in Chicago or Ruth Chris’s or the Capital Grille, to name a few.

Sidney Meyer, Boerum Hill


To the editor,

The DUMBO Neighborhood Association supports appropriate development — but that means not compromising the majesty of the Brooklyn Bridge (“Walentas ‘Dock’ project sails,” Jan. 17).

The increase in density due to spot zoning changes for David and Jed Walentases’ Dock Street project will increase congestion and pollution; it will also seriously compromise one of the most historic waterfront areas in the country, if not the world.

DUMBO, Fulton Ferry Landing and the Brooklyn Bridge itself are all national, state and city-designated landmarks and historic districts. The very nature of these areas are under significant and what could be catastrophic development pressures should Dock Street be approved.

The proposed school, affordable housing and “green” building are all laudable features, but they have become the distraction over significant and permanent zoning changes to a fragile area.

The DNA is not opposed to a building being constructed at Dock Street, and absolutely supports a school or affordable housing at the site. What we are opposed to is a very tall building that will cast significant shadows on the surrounding blocks; eliminate the view of the Manhattan Bridge from the Brooklyn Bridge walkway; and forever change the Brooklyn waterfront and skyline.

Sheryl Buchholtz, DUMBO

The writer is president of the DUMBO Neighborhood


She says ‘nay’

To the editor,

I am annoyed by your recent story regarding my neighborhood (“Stableton?!” Dec. 27). When we organized “Stable Brooklyn” in response to out-of-scale development in 2005, we were setting up a Web site and we needed a domain name. The pun seemed to fit because it reflected our goals of trying to stabilize the flux that was occurring around us and the name also incorporated the stables, one of the defining features of the area. End of story.

Your reporter must have felt this was not a good enough story, so he invented his own, imagining that our group was on a re-naming quest and that there were people in favor and against it, etc. That’s a complete fabrication!

Our group’s energy (and imagination) has been spent on pursuing things that matter: zoning to protect our homes and ensure diversity in our neighborhood as well as traffic, pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian safety improvements for residents and visitors to the area.

Our community group’s name is a reflection of nothing more.

Mandy Harris,
Windsor Terrace

Editor’s note: The Department of City Planning and Councilman Bill DeBlasio are using the name “Stable Brooklyn” to describe the area to which Harris refers, evidence that our story was not a “fabrication.”


To the editor,

I am writing to express concern about a police blotter item in the Dec. 13 issue (“Semitic silliness”).

I was disturbed by the caption, “Semitic silliness,” which described two recent bias incidents in the 84th precinct where two Brooklyn Heights residents received anti-Semitic notes, one of which said, “Kill Jews.”

Bias incidents are not “silly.” Describing bias incidents in this manner belittles a serious problem. Please train your caption writer to be more sensitive in the future.

S. Small, Brooklyn Heights

‘Watch’ this!

To the editor,

I am writing in reference to the article, “90 to watch in ’09” (Dec. 27). Specifically, I’d like to draw your attention to number 72 on your list: the Bay Ridge Food Co-op.

As a member of the committee helping to make this food co-op a reality, I was thrilled to see us included in the article. But I was a bit dismayed to see a reference to last June about the initiator of the first meeting, Murray Gross.

Mr. Gross is no longer a member of the committee, for a number of reasons, and has become a bit of a polarizing figure as we move forward in planning this venture.

I am an avid reader, and hope that your readers could have the opportunity to follow one of the truly exciting news events of 2009, the Bay Ridge Food Co-op!

Michael Emperor, Bay Ridge

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