Tompkins Square Park

by Barry Drogin

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To The Editor:

Thank you for Tom Robbins' "Fire Storms" [May 17-23], especially the historical perspective. It is important to remember that not only was the Bronx burning, so was Alphabet Town - known today as the East Village.

Since the head of the defunct Arson Strike Force admits that the ratio of convictions to arsons is "incredibly neglible," more Fire Marshals is unlikely to accomplish much. Lobbyists will keep NYC from removing all incentives, but at least:

1. Landlords should be required to financially compensate displaced tenants,
2. Insurace policies should be written so that fires of "suspicious origin" are reimbursed less, and
3. Ideally, zoning should force affordable housing to be replaced with comparably affordable housing.

Arson is the ugliest underbelly of gentrification; legislative solutions are required.

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Last Updated: August 4, 2007