NEWS AND ISSUES


May 28, 2009

Margaret Forgione
Manhattan Borough Commissioner
New York City Department of Transportation
59 Maiden Lane, 35th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Re: West 17th Street eplaystreetf

Dear Ms. Forgione:

As the State Senator whose district includes West 17th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues in Manhattan, I write to express my strong support for the proposed summer playstreet on that block. Fulton Youth of the Future (FYF), a Fulton Houses-based non-profit resource center for underprivileged youth, has proposed that the block be closed to traffic from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on four Sundays during the upcoming summer. The playstreet will be monitored by the 10th Precinct of the New York Police Department and FYF, who have also committed to supply, set up, and remove any necessary materials. In addition, Chelsea Improvement Company, a local business-led organization, has committed to providing sanitation and clean-up.

In an area with precious few publicly accessible open spaces, the playstreet would be an invaluable amenity for the blockfs residents. Children and adults alike would be able to enjoy a traffic-free day of leisure right in their front yards. While there are public green spaces within the two Fulton Houses developments on the block, those spaces become very crowded on summer weekends and demand is clearly exceeding supply. In addition, the playstreet will provide residents with a respite from the heavy traffic their street experiences on nights and weekends.

It is important to note that the playstreet will not be a street fair. It will be a space for quiet recreation, with tables and chairs set up for game-playing and arts-and-crafts activities. The proposal has garnered support from a variety of organizations – the 10th Precinct, 1OAK nightclub, General Theological Seminary, and the Fulton Tenants Association, among others – and has wide support within the community. The proposal has also been tailored to accommodate the entrance/exit of the parking garage to the Caledonia, a residential building on the block, so residents who park there can expect little disruption. Moreover, I am heartened by the level of organization that FYF has brought to this proposal, and look forward to a well-run operation.

Fulton Youth of the Future has proposed an innovative and common-sense solution to the problem of limited public space. The 17th Street playstreet will be an asset to residents throughout the neighborhood, and I give the proposal my enthusiastic support.

Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts on this matter, and for your diligent work on behalf of all Manhattan residents.

Sincerely,


Thomas K. Duane
New York State Senate
29th District


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