Sound Off to the Editor

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To the editor,

Last month your reporter, inaccurately reported that Community Board 6’s Landmarks-Land Use Committee had voted against recommending to the City’s Board of Standards and Appeals that New York Methodist Hospital receive requested variances to build a new outpatient care center.

To your credit, you pulled the inaccurate article and replaced it with one that correctly stated that the Committee had, in fact, voted to recommend the variances, with conditions.

This month, the same reporter got the story wrong again. Her article about the hearing on the project at the Board of Standards and Appeals begins with these two paragraphs:

“New York Methodist Hospital must alter its controversial plans for an expansion that some Park Slope residents say would wreck their tree-lined streets with traffic, smog, and out-of-place architecture, the city demanded this week.

“The Board of Standards and Appeals told the hospital to tweak its proposal to be closer to the what current zoning allows after Slopers in attendance argued that the hospital’s rationale for why it needs such a big facility has not passed muster.”

In fact, the B.S.A. made no such “demands.” Instead, they asked for further clarification and information about the plans, which they will review and which will be up for discussion at an April hearing. Whether the Board will then request any alterations in the plans has yet to be determined.

Furthermore, your reporter stated that hospital “reps are sure they can convince municipal bean-counters to okay the project. ”

Neither I nor anyone else affiliated with the hospital made any such arrogant statement. What I said was that we are confident that we will be able to provide the requested information and answer all questions to the Board’s satisfaction at the continued hearing in April.

I would not presume to predict what the B.S.A.’s decision will be.

While the opposition’s arguments are covered in your article, there is absolutely no discussion of the many positive statements by Park Slope and other Brooklyn residents who support the proposal. I am disappointed that this story is not receiving balanced coverage. Regardless, I would hope that even a biased article could get the facts straight.Lyn Hill

The writer is vice-president for communication and external affairs at New York Methodist Hospital.

A trolley enthusiast’s castle in the air of returning streetcars to Red Hook screeched to a halt, when three of his prized cabs were donated to a museum by the owner of a lot that was home to the rusty buggies for the past 10 years (Streetcar named expire! Trolleys trucked away from Red Hook are latest blow to rail dream,” online Feb. 12).

Brooklyn Historic Railways Association president Bob Diamond said the deportation derailed his dream to restore trolley service to Brooklyn, but the lot’s owner said dispatching the carriages off to a train archive made their renovation a reality.

Online readers railroaded our comments section.

Great article but some inaccuracy: There was no “trial run.” The Brooklyn Historic Railway Association had a bona fide contract to build and operate a trolley line to the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel from the Red Hook Pier. It completed all planning requirements of the city, including the City Environmental Quality Review, and the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. The reason why the project ended was not for lack of funding — there were many places B.H.R.A. could have received funding. The project ended because the city’s Department of Transportation revoked the permits and permissions for the tracks in the streets. They revoked the permission out of the blue and without any notice, just like they did with the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel.R_I_L from RED HOOK

It is a pity the city did not bring back trolleys to Brooklyn. The subways are too Manhattan-centric, which is problematic for Brooklyn, given the renaissance that’s happening; we need more intra-borough transportation. Trolleys, beyond their practical benefit, bring a lot of cachet to a place, too. San Francisco and New Orleans both get a lot of character from theirs.Scott from Park Slope

I don’t know if the trolleys are a good idea or not, but this guy does not seem to be the guy who could make it happen.

Jay from N.Y.C.

Noting wrong with streetcars in general. However, if this city were to eventually restore such service it should be with modern ones and not these museum pieces, which should be restricted to an occasional fan trip.

K.B. from Greenpoint

Is there a Kickstarter campaign or something going on to revive this project? Seriously the single bus line here is killing me. Want to roll on some smooth track to other parts of town! I hope they resume their project soon. Maybe with the new mayor in town…Dick from Red Hook

Bob Diamond lost a bunch of them at the Navy Yard. Now this. What a shame. It was a great dream, as indicated on his website.Jim Reilly from Brooklyn

Street cars happen to be under review again by the City of New York. There’s a draft line from Queens right down to guess where, Red Hook! So hold you theories guys as Bob Diamond may just be a diamond in the ruff. Ding, ding, ding, comes the trolley (again!).Resident from Brooklyn

I remember Bob Diamond from the early 1980s and I was actually a member of his train restoration club. To call him a train buff is not very accurate. Actually he and his fellow volunteers are historians. Ever since he discovered that tunnel underneath Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, he worked and fought for a trolley line from Red Hook to Downtown. If anyone failed it was the City of New York by ignoring Bob Diamond’s pleas to reintroduce a part of our history for everyone to see and enjoy.Bob from Gerritsen Beach

I hate to break this to Bob Diamond, but if there was a way to save those trolleys, he would have found that long ago. The trolleys are gone and they are not coming back anytime soon. If there was a way a to keep them intact, a solution would have been found decades ago, rather than remove or pour over the tracks entirely. Even if it could be brought back, where would the money for it come from, let alone who will be footing the bill for it? Unfortunately, Diamond has to understand why N.Y.C. no longer has grade level transit, and why it was taken down in the first place rather than sulk over that loss. Trolleys and streetcars were removed because their tracks represented a danger. I can still remember hearing about how 10th Avenue in Manhattan was such a danger with all the streetcars running it. Many of them were lost to buses, because they weren’t limited to tracks or wires.

Perhaps the reason why other places in both the country and world can have these could be because they have the space and aren’t so densely populated as N.Y.C. Again, if there was a way to save the trolleys, that would have been the case decades ago.Tal Barzilai

from Pleasantville, N.Y.

Next up, restoring the horse drawn carriage to the Hook. Helpful when we get the snow, we can convert them to sleighs!Billy One Eye from ParkHook

Shame on the Brooklyn Paper for running these puff pieces on Bob Diamond. They’re not real journalism. The Times figured out by 2004 that Bob’s dream was a pipe dream, but Bob likes to sue, so I’m not putting my real name here.The Real Trolley King News

from Red Hook

The idea is a really good one. Criticizing Bob Diamond is way off the point. No one person can change the Department of Transportation, as Bob has known for years, since he used to be a D.O.T. employee. More to the point, trollies make a lot of sense, just like they originally did. It was the “money power” and lobbies that went for buses and cars, instead. Nothing happens until someone figures out how to make money off it.Thomas Lawrence from Brooklyn Heights

Bob Diamond’s Brooklyn Historic Railway Association has been reporting questionable financials for years. Notice how it does not claim any trolley cars on their Form 990 as assets.pirichardtracy from Brooklyn Heights

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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