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While I applaud the effort to ensure that the community around the Seaport has a voice via the Seaport Task Force, I have to question the naiveté of the community leaders opposed to developing the Seaport. NYC is a tough place to get big projects done. The idea of driving a community effort sounds great, but I fear that it will fail, and the Seaport continue to decay.
Contractors cost money and money demands a return — unless that money comes from government coffers, which are looking lighter each day under this administration. Unfortunately, this is not the High-Line — with well financed supporters and a pretty specific end (i.e. a park). The Seaport is a costly development effort that will need to take some compromise from all parties.
Residential needs inclusion — it creates stability and avoids the tourist trap that the Seaport became. It also funds commercial and parkland. Small businesses are the lifeblood of any neighborhood, but they need foot traffic to survive — without some larger scale development of some type, whether a residential tower, or destination marketplace, I fear that there just won’t be enough interest to keep the area afloat.
A balanced approach seems most sound. Vilifying “big developers” or marginalizing the community does the real stake holders, those of us who live downtown, little good. We need an active Downtown filled with retail and residential, greenmarkets and green streets. I hope the current “anti-business” sentiment doesn’t cloud the notion that investment is what moves bulldozers, not good intentions.
I don’t live in the Seaport, but as a Downtowner for the last 10 years I have slowly seen the Seaport fall apart, sadly. And what had potential with the Durst development that supported Jack’s, Bin 220, and others, now looks like it will whither away without another shot of adrenaline. I hope the Seaport gets it!