Dear Mr. Capsis:
In my opinion, the words you are seeking for Mr. Diller are “Thank you very much for the generous gift to our community and the City as a whole.”
We are West Village residents and 100% behind the Pier 55 project. We honestly do not understand the small (but vocal) minority opposed.
The design is breathtaking and will add much-needed public parkland to the area; this is hardly worthy of the reverse elitism so common in New York. You article is not news, but rather a very skewed editorial.
We all know that The City Club of New York was a force of good for preservation in the past (yes I am a staunch preservationist, when there is something to, you know, preserve). But, now, the Club is just a front for moneyed forces with their own agenda (I suggest an investigative piece on who is funding them currently and why).
You are worried about costs and at the same time condemn Mr. Diller for spending this large sum of money; you also have the audacity to tell him how to “spend $200 million.” It’s his money and he can spend it as he sees fit. Thankfully, he has invested it in a New York public works project even though he is a native of Los Angeles and spends much time there.
The closing of our downtown hospitals is an outrage, however, it has nothing to do with this project. Any attempt to combine the two is disingenuous. Opportunities like this, where a private donor is willing to pay for it all, do not come everyday. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but not as “The Voice of the West Village.”
—Michael, West 8th Street
Michael Thinks George is Wrong
Yes, well, Michael, you think that I should give Barry Diller a great big “thank you” for his agreement to spend $160 million to build and operate a 2.7-acre concrete entertainment island off 13th Street. You are “100% behind the Pier 55 project” and even feel that the design is “breathtaking.”
But Michael, as you noted, we are in a very different time. The wealth of this nation has tipped and is spilling into the hands of the very few, with 400 of the richest, like Barry, owning more than the poorest 61% (that’s 194 million people).
Some of our billionaires have become very serious about handing off their wealth, like Kenneth Langone whose father was a plumber. Kenneth gave $200 million to NYU, which named the hospital after him (NYU Langone).
Michael, I thank you for recognizing my fight to restore something more like a full hospital to the West Village—a hospital that can treat heart attacks in the minutes of life remaining after onset.
You can, of course, disagree with my characterization of Diller Island as exhibiting “Avatar grossness.” That is indeed my opinion but I hope you will agree that the $40 million you and I as tax payers will have to pay to build a bridge to Diller Island would be better spent to build a heart attack operating room here in the West Village to save lives.