LITTLE ITALY NEIGHBORS ASSOCIATION
266 Elizabeth Street # 4 New York, NY 10012 Tel (212) 502 3591 Fax (212) 545-8161 Email email@example.com
11 August 1999
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
Dear Mr. Mayor,
The residents of Little Italy have been working very hard along with Community Board 2 and the NYC Parks Department to initiate a beautification program for all of Little Italy. We have received strong support from residents, building owners and small businesses that are very excited about this venture. The Parks Department has already approved thirty-six trees to be planted throughout the entire Little Italy community on Elizabeth Street, Mott Street, Mulberry Street, Prince Street and Spring Street. However, the six trees approved for Mulberry Street now appear to be in jeopardy.
The Parks Department has told us that the Street Activities Permits Office (SAPO), headed by Mildred Duran, is preventing this program from happening on Mulberry Street. In addition, other previously planted trees on Mulberry Street are being threatened with removal because of a supposed "no tree policy" for Mulberry Street. When the Parks Department asked why there seemed to be a problem with the six trees in question, they were told by Mildred Duran that according to a zoning resolution, trees were not allowed to be planted on Mulberry Street. After requesting a copy of this resolution, the Parks Department pointed out to Ms. Duran that nowhere does it mention that trees are not allowed. In fact, it is mandatory for new buildings in Little Italy to plant sidewalk trees, except for Mulberry Street, where planting a tree is at the discretion of the landlord.
Members of LINA requesting further clarification on the Mulberry Street tree planting issue have made calls to Mildred Duran's office. Yet, Ms. Duran's office has not responded to any inquiries. This lack of response has left us in limbo and somewhat confused. Why would SAPO prevent Little Italy from undergoing a beautification process? Trees add to the tranquility and beauty of any community.
Talk is going around the community, via input from City agencies, that the reason for preventing tree planting on Mulberry Street is that the organizers of the Feast of San Gennaro and the Mulberry Street Mall, headed by Anne Compoccia, have raised serious objections to tree planting because it will interfere with street fairs.
In fact, the issue of Mulberry Street tree planting was brought up at a Town Hall meeting on May 4, 1999 at P.S. 130 that was sponsored by Community Board 2 and attended by community residents, businesses and building owners, including Ms. Compoccia. At this meeting, Ms. Compoccia publicly announced to all present, including then Board Chair Alan Gerson, District Manager Arthur Strickler, and other CB 2 representatives, that the Mulberry Street Mall and Feast organizers would NOT object to tree planting on Mulberry Street.
The street fair objection has already been dealt with at a public forum. There are no resolutions on City books precluding tree planting. Most importantly, we have requests that have been signed by city property owners confirming that they would like a tree planted in front of their building.
We, therefore, respectfully request that the Mayor's Office insure a fall 1999 planting, as originally planned, for Mulberry Street so that the beautification program for all of Little Italy can continue on schedule.
Debby Corper for Little Italy Neighbors Association (LINA)
cc: Henry J. Stern, Commissioner, NYC Parks & Recreations, fax 212-360-1345
Rudy Washington, Deputy Mayor for Community Development & Business Services, fax 212-788-0070
Randy Levine, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Planning and Administration, fax 212-788-2976
Rosemarie C. O'Keefe, Commissioner, Community Assistance Unit, fax 212-788-7754
Mildred Duran, Assistant Commissioner, Street Activities Permit Office, fax 212-788-7887
C. Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President, fax 212-669-3380
James Smith, Chairman, Community Board 2, fax 212-254-5102
Alan Gerson, Community Board 2, fax 212-254-5102
Kathryn E. Freed, City Council Member, fax 212-788-7727