2001-04-12 / Letters/Opinion

Letters To The Editor Let’s Keep Canarsie’s Charm Dear Editor:

Letters To The Editor Let’s Keep Canarsie’s Charm Dear Editor:

Letters To The Editor Let’s Keep Canarsie’s Charm Dear Editor:

I’m writing in response to a letter ("When Will Destruction of Historic Houses Stop?") and a column ("Everything Old Isn’t Necessarily Historic") in your March 29th edition about Canarsie’s future.

The former explored the enrichment value of preserving our old empty structures that remain as historical evidence of Canarsie’s claim to fame of being a remote, quaint community. The second opinion proclaimed that we must honor progress over historical preservation.

Both have us conjure images that represent extremes, however, neither focuses on the present real problem of over-crowding that is threatening the very fabric of our community.

Quality of life issues may determine how we are accustomed to living, declining conditions, and the repercussions we can expect if we do nothing. Ignoring this will have us "for the sake of progress," subjecting ourselves to streets full of blowing and stacked garbage; hundreds of cars parked on the street because driveways and garages are slowly being eliminated; corners and side streets plagued with loitering because a community once suitable for a measured population must now accommodate a multitude. We’ve become too complacent and because this change has been somewhat gradual, the culprit responsible for the decline continues undetected.

How can we as a community reduce our over-crowding? Canarsiens must control and regulate the type of housing being built. We are allowing single family homes to be demolished at an alarming rate. Local politicians and community boards must be made to realize that we won’t tolerate a decline in the quality of our lives to satisfy their need for increased number of constituents and voters. We must invest in our future and halt the trend of destroying single family homes and in their place erecting multi-family townhouses, which occupy the same space previously but may now accommodate more people. A single garbage can of "4" is now being a "stacked mountain" from 16. The shortage of space results in owners resorting to using balconies as storage sites that become eyesores.

This of course might represent an exaggerated view, nonetheless it should make us aware of a real threat not only to Canarsie, but to the surrounding neighborhoods.

It’s time for all these areas to reclaim their right to live in quaint, charming, and spacious communities where the true definition of "residential" is visually evident. We must invest in our future by insisting that local politicians, community board members, and city officials place an emphasis on zoning laws that not only preserves single family homes, but encourages refurbishing and modernizing existing structures.

This "townhouse" blitz is the city’s attempt to alleviate its housing problems and place the burden on the inner boroughs. Several city and state programs are designed to entice and favorable influence the construction of these complexes with little or no thought as to the drastic impact this reconfiguration and increased population does to an area.

We Canarsiens must now learn to support and uphold the standards of "residential living" just as sections of Mill Basin and Bergen Beach have or risk destroying the charm of Canarsie’s landscape.


Darryl M. White

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