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Report: Masaryk Towers Closing Rivington Walkway

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The Villager is reporting the tenants of Masaryk Towers have voted to gate off a section of Rivington Street used by a lot of people to walk between Pitt and Columbia Streets. The large cooperative just to the north of the Williamsburg Bridge owns the walkway. Right now, the path serves as a convenient link for many residents, especially elderly tenants of the Baruch and Gompers public housing developments.

The closure was apparently prompted by concerns about security. According to the article, City Councilmember Rosie Mendez is concerned about the situation and has asked for a meeting with Bernice McCallum, head of Masaryk’s board of directors.

Resudents believe the decision is especially problematic since the NEST School closed off a section of Stanton Street, meaning pedestrians must walk up to Houston or down to Delancey.

Last month, we reported about neighborhood activists’ campaign to get Masaryk to repair a crumbling sidewalk on Columbia Street.

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  1. One of the insurance issues is the broken walkways at Masaryk, which have caused injuries to many of the cooperators. The Co-Op Board has said it fears injured parties would sue. The City has not released funds which would repave. Masaryk is full of dips which drop a foot or more, pavements slant & a number of repairs have also sunk, causing many major & minor injuries to residents & visitors. However, it is criminal to close off the streets. There is no way to reach Grand Street Settlement, except through Rivington Street. That is a five block detour, along lonely, broken streets, in order to reach Grand Street’s Senior Center. Closing off Rivington would not keep out the drug dealers & party people who congregate all night in front of Masaryk buildings. They are residents & friends of residents.

    Also, those gates will be jammed & broken in a week. They’ll have to be taken down, or residents will be trapped. And the quality of the work done by most contractors almost guarantees it.

  2. I heartily disagree with you shemichaels, Rivington street should be closed off to the public. I have witnessed numerous fights between mobs of teenagers from the surround NYCH projects walk in from the Rivington street exit and start fights, loiter on the bench and degrade the overall quality of life.

    I understand your frustration with the closing of the gates and the shoddy workmanship performed in the past, having a defeatist attitude will never solve the issues. I don’t want to see neighborhood ruffians causing strife and conflict within the complex. When we can successfully seal off the exterior dregs of the neighborhood we can deal with the inherent problems within.

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