2008-07-18 / Letters

Waterfalls Do Not Starve Seniors

Dear Editor,

In this week's opinions, the editor equates the loss in funding for the city's senior food program to wasteful spending on "Manhattan projects that bring little to locals" citing as an example Olafur Eliasson's public art piece, "The Waterfalls." His next statement, that the Waterfalls "will cost the city taxpayers $15.5 million, a sum that would feed many seniors for a long time," is utterly incorrect and sadly indicative of the Wave's reliance on personal bias and hearsay rather than fact checking. The New York Times explains in it's June 28, 2008 article, "Calculating the Worth of the East River 'Waterfalls"" that "the $15.5 million it actually cost to construct the installations {is} paid for with $2 million from the quasipublic Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and donations from 120 individuals and groups, including Mr. Bloomberg and his company." These numbers are backed up by the New York Post, as well, if you're not a fan of the Gray Lady.

While I am certainly no advocate in cuts to critical services for senior citizens, I object to the implication that public art is not only wasteful spending, but that it somehow robs meals off our seniors' plates. As with other pieces of public art, viewing "The Waterfalls" is completely free and an opportunity to all inhabitants of New York City to experience art without a hefty admission fee. And as with other major public art pieces, like Christo's Gates, the project actually brings in revenue; the $55 million projected by the Economic Development corporation may be up for some debate, but nonetheless, the monies generated will far exceed the $2 million put in by the LMDC. I personally am looking forward to taking our new Rockaway ferry to get a unique water view of Eliasson's Waterfalls.

SUSANNAH RAY

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