WestView Letter May 2012 – Rudin and 75 Morton Street

Rudin and 75 Morton Street

Dear Editor,

As part of its pitch to gain official approval for its plan to acquire the St. Vincent’s property and turn the premises into condos, the Rudin organization fraudulently alleged that they gave the community the elementary school which will occupy the first six floors of the Foundling Hospital on 6th Avenue and 16th Street. The facts are, as you stated in your front page article, Rudin did not put up a cent, but merely acted as a guarantor that the City would pay for the space. What a farce. As though the City would default and the Foundling Hospital needed Rudin’s guarantee to go through with the deal. The most galling part is that not one single public official called Rudin on his obvious misrepresentation. Why? Because they needed cover to approve the land grab. Let the dumb constituents think they are actually getting a public benefit from Rudin in return for their looking the other way.

Now it appears that the farce continues. By what tortured reasoning is Rudin credited with having gotten the neighborhood a school at 75 Morton Street? He did nothing, yet as you pointed out, all the publicity credits him for obtaining more classroom space for the community.

Clearly, from the outset the politicians wanted St. Vincent’s to make a deal with Rudin. Rudin was going to buy the Hospital buildings on the east side of Seventh Avenue for 300 million dollars and St Vincent’s was to build a huge, edifice which was out of character for the Village, where the O’Toole building stands. But The Hospital was going bankrupt and its grandiose plans could never have come to fruition. Did any local politician really look into the finances of the Hospital? Did any of them actually scrutinize the feasibility of the project, and its potential damage to the character of the Village?

The answer is a resounding NO!

If any of them had thought outside the box, the Hospital just might have been saved (or another hospital replaced it), if not in its exact location, in the immediate vicinity. I know they didn’t even try!

You might say that is old hat; however, the same lack of foresight is being exercised in the present situation regarding Rudin’s latest application before the City Council to up zone the site of the condos he’s building. ANY SUCH UP ZONING WILL SET A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT AND WILL CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEMISE OF THE VILLAGE AS WE KNOW IT. The up zoning is only so Rudin can squeeze every last cent out of his condo

plan. Not only that, you can bet NYU is thrilled with this type of manipulating the zoning law. It will jump all over this change, and argue that if zoning can be changed for Rudin, why not NYU and massive expansion plan?

Rudin can certainly build and make a very handsome profit without contributing to the destruction of the character of the Village. It would require some statesmanship on the part of our local officials. It would require some guts. It would require setting aside concerns about obtaining campaign contributions and concerns about petty political ambitions. It would require politicians to be really concerned about their constituents, and not how they are positioning themselves for their next election bid. Do we have such elected officials? From my perspective, I would say we don’t.

Gary Tomei

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