Does the City Intend to Turn the Bowery Into Hotel Alley?
From Rob Hollander, LES Residents for Responsible Development
AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR LOCALLY ELECTED OFFICIALS REPRESENTING THE BOWERY AND LOWER EAST SIDE
To the Honorable Borough President Stringer, State Senator Connor, State Assembly Speaker Silver and Assemblymembers Glick and Kavanagh and City Councilmembers Gerson and Mendez,
The Department of City Planning has removed the Bowery from the Lower East Side rezoning plan, exposing the Bowery to out-of-scale hotel development. If the current LES rezoning is approved, prohibiting large-scale development to the east of the Bowery, the pressure to develop hotels on the Bowery will be irresistible. Such upscale development extending south to Canal Street will also transform Chinatown beyond recognition.
New York is losing its ethnic, historic neighborhoods to overdevelopment and gentrification. Chinatown and the Bowery are still lined with many of New York’s unique and historically significant structures. The area is thriving, busy, socially and economically successful, full of lively, commercial and residential street life and commercial activity that serves local low-income residents among human-scale mixed-use structures. These low-income neighborhoods are safe, viable, vibrant and community-oriented. They do not need gentrification or development and they will not benefit by gentrification or development.
Rather, overdevelopment will eliminate the street life, the small commercial operations and the local community orientation. Chain stores and commercial and residential displacement follow upscale development. Landlord harassment, already on the rise in the Lower East Side and East Village, will spread throughout the rest of Community District 3. Local businesses and residents will be driven out. Upscale nightlife will replace ethnic eateries. The unique character of Chinatown will be lost.
Is this City Planning’s intent for the Bowery and Chinatown?
If this is the City’s plan, then all New Yorkers deserve to know it.
Will you ask the city administration and DCP to announce publicly their plans for the Bowery and Chinatown? Will you ask DCP and the Mayor:
1. Does the City intend the Bowery to be lined with out-of-scale hotels?
2. If the City does not intend the Bowery to be lined with out-of-scale hotels, what immediate action will the City take to avert hotel development along the Bowery?
3. Will DCP include the Bowery in the current LES/EV rezoning to save the Bowery from destruction?
The people of this city urgently need to know if their government intends to rob them of their history, of their ethnic variety, of their favorite neighborhoods and of the character and beauty of their city, to replace these with revenue-generating glass-and-steel anonymity, banks, Duane Reades and chain stores, devoid of community, of street life, of human interaction, of stability, of community commitment, of any character that could be called New York’s.
Alice Abel, Alyssa Adams, Courtney Lee Adams, Deanna Anderson, Philip Van Aaver, James Battaglia, Martin Brown, Gwendolyn Bucci, Brent Buell, Keefe Butler, Ed Cahill, Elizabeth Capelle, Barbara Caporale, Esther Chambers, John Chin, Janice Cline, Carol Conway, Ellin Crane, Eve Cusson, Martha Danziger, James Dougherty, Wendy Davidson, Philip DePaolo, Lou Dembrow LES Girls Club, Ken Diamondstone, Udo Drescher, Susannah Driver, Nancy English, Eric Ferrara, Zeke Finkelstein, Martha Fishkin, Joanee Freedom, Eden Fromberg, Meghan Gille, Christabel Gough, Frances Goldin, Gail Goldsmith, Mark Hatalak, James V. Hatch, Luke Henry, Rob Hollander, Eric Hurliman, Joseph Iberti, Elissa Iberti, Rafael A. Jaquez, Sarah Johnson, Zella Jones, Virginia Kaycoff, Weiwen Ke, Susan Ko, Bill Koehnlein, Diana Lakis, Ronald Latigano, Marilyn Leong, Linda Levit, Adriana Lopez, Iris Lopez, Jennifer Lynch, Don MacPherson, William Manfredi, Michael Mauriel, Marilyn Mccall, John McDermott, Jane McNichol, Matt Metzgar, Louise Millmann , Rebecca Moore, Maria Muentes, David Mulkins, Cate Nailor, MaryBeth O’Hara, Michele O’Neal, Bob Ortiz, Tom Ostoyich, Gilda Pervin, Kenny Petricig, Daniel Peckham, Anthony Piantieri, Marie-Claire Picher, Mor Pipman, Don Pollock, Kathryn Posin, Gayle Raskin, Quinn Raymond, Ephraim Rosenbaum, Felice Rosser, Elizabeth Ruf, Elissa Sampson, Anna Sawaryn, Marion Schacter, John Schmerling, Roberto Serrini, Monte P. Schapiro, Joelle Shefts, David Sheldon, Jean Standish, Bonnie Sue Stein, Dr. Harlan and Rima Strauss, Dean Clarke Taylor, Ed Torres, Michelle Vergara, George Wachtel, K. Webster, Max Weissberg, Sue Williams, Katharine B. Wolpe, Sally Young