I knew that the National Wether Service was predicting a thunderstorm, but I wanted to get out for a bit to my usual haunts, Tompkins Square Park. The light was lovely, so I opted to get soaked (I knew my camera would be safe in its bag when the rain came) and get some shots as the storm approached. I headed down B below the park before it actually started raining, announced by a great clap of thunder. I looked west on 5th Street and saw a great wall of rain approaching. I warned someone carrying bags of groceries, that the rain was half a block away. I don’t think he believed me until the rain hit him a few seconds later. I made it home wringing wet, it felt great.
The leaning elm in the center of the park has been braced by an additional cable. It should be safe.
An icon I made today for my tree map of Tompkins Square Park. There is a new tulip poplar tree in the dog run, its leaves have just appeared. This illustration emphasizes their shape and vein structure. The map is going well. I will post an update soon. I’ve been extremely busy keeping up with all the Spring activity, photographing close-ups of all the emerging leaves on just about every tree in the park. I haven’t shared many of them on the web, it’s taking all my energy just keeping the photos organized.
A large turnout for CB3‘s Land Use committee meeting last night.
Fred Harris from NYCHA came to say that public housing is in financial difficulty as Federal support is drastically down in these political times where support for public anything is difficult to obtain. NYCHA wants to grant 99 year leases to commercial developers to their parking lots, playgrounds and parks (or as he called them “seating areas”. They propose that this is the only way that they can obtain the money to make needed repairs and preserve public housing. The proposal is here Only one person from the public spoke in favor of the leasing plan at this meeting.
The council members for the most part seemed to agree with the opponents of NYCHA’s plans.
Rosie Mendez. District 2 – City Council Member was also critical of NYCHA.
An advocate for trees and sky.
Notes from Kathy von Hartz: I am speaking for Friends of Meltzer, which is a
group of neighborhood residents who live near Meltzer Tower and are opposed to the NYCHA
Infill Plan, especially as it relates to Meltzer with its 250 low income seniors and its adjacent
park.When Meltzer was designed over forty years ago, open space was left to compensate for
the 20 story tower in a low rise area. NOW NYCHA PROPOSES TO TAKE THIS OASIS AWAY
AND LEASE IT TO DEVELOPERS TO BUILD A LUXURY RENTAL TOWER.
Our opposition is based on issues of environmental justice. The senior residents deserve to be
able to enjoy their last years breathin fresh air and walking and exercising and sitting in the
shade of the trees. At Meltzer, the Infill Plan would detroy this park with 30 five story high trees
that are over 50 feel high. THESE TREES AND THE FRESH AIR AND SUNLIGHT AND OPEN
SPACE ARE NOT REPLACEABLE.
Moreover, there are environmental issues for the neighborhood. This is a community with a
high population density. Meltzer Park is an oasis for the residents and the entire community.
When you walk by the park in summer, the temperature of the air is lower by several degrees.
Friends of Meltzer would like your committee to make a motion to oppose NYCHA’S current
plan because it will diminish the quality of life for Meltzer’s residents and the entire community.
Why should a large ungainly structure be imposed on paark space that was designed to make a
plaza for people’s use? This is not compatible with zoning that makes the City more livable.
We love the mayor’s Million Trees Initiative. So why cut down 31 trees in their prime?
Friends of Meltzer would like your committee to include a motion to require NYCHA to hold a
public meeting….as was requested in a letter by most local, state and federal officials. They
also requested that the Infill Plan follow ULURP requirements so that the community can know
the specifics of the NYCHA Infill Plan and have the opportunity to comment, especially as
regards to environmental concerns.
Friends of Meltzer opposes the loss of Meltzer Park because it will affect public health, public
safety and air quality.
I didn’t catch their names but they are environmental lawyers who provided a list of questions that NYCHA needs to answer. The conclusion of the Land Use committee was that this leasing project need to be slowed down and studied and that they need to have answer for many environmental problems.