Pamela Jean McNair
December 22, 1997
Ms. Pamela Frederick
Re: HS Systems, Inc.
Dear Ms. Frederick:
My c1ient, HS Systems, Inc. (“HS Systems”), has requested that I respond to Manhattan Community Board No. 4’s (“Board No.4”) letter of November 6, 1997, addressed to the honorable Rudolph W. Giuliani. HS Systems and I find the nature of your letter troubling, particularly in light of HS Systems’ very positive response to the requests which Board No.4 has made during recent years. Indeed, I find the statements in Board No. 4’s letter to be inaccurate, inflammatory and potentially libelous. The first page of the letter depicts a scene that is much more likely to be found in a Charles Dickens novel than on the 300 block of West 45th. One need only walk down West 45th Street to know that Board No.4’s characterization is far from reality. Frankly, the appearance of the block is similar to, if not better than, that of other streets in the surrounding area.
Though the first page of your letter is troubling, the second page is absolutely outrageous. To call for the cancellation of HS Systems contract with the City of New York, to disparage the quality of HS Systems’ services and to broadcast such a baseless letter to a long list of public officials is completely irresponsible and totally malicious. As a former constituent of Board No. 4, it disappoints me to learn that the use of such tactics is the method by which the Board chooses to represent its people.
Having reviewed the correspondence between Board No.4 and HS Systems from the past four years, I can only conclude that the Board No.4’s complaints regarding HS Systems have risen to a level of pure harassment. Over the years, in each of its letters, Board No.4 has made the same complaints regarding HS Systems: crowds; noise; trash; public urination; loitering and drug use; illegal parking; graffiti; and lack of illumination and security gates at the entrance. Although HS Systems has responded to each of these complaints and, although Board No.4 has commented favorably, in writing, upon HS Systems’ actions, Board No. 4 continues to complain. In a letter to you dated August 1, 1997, HS Systems again outlined the actions it has taken, with respect to each of these complaints. A copy of that letter is attached for your convenience. Moreover, HS Systems has repeatedly informed Board No.4 that HS Systems is merely a tenant in its building and that the appropriate recipient of building related complaints is the managing agent, Williams Real Estate. Nevertheless, Board No.4 continues to blame HS Systems for structural and building management issues such as lighting, security gates, graffiti and certificate of occupancy. In fact. one might surmise from Board No.4’s letter that Board No. 4 caused a New York City building inspector to pay a visit to HS Systems in response to a complaint which could obviously only be addressed by the building owner. This is harassment.
In its letter, Board No.4 states that West 45th Street is a residential block. This is a very self serving statement considering that located on the same block there is a theatre, a hotel and an adult entertainment establishment. Since all of these businesses attract large numbers of people outside of the normal business day, one can only conclude that Board No.4’s tolerance for business-related activity in the 300 block of West 45th Street is, at best, selective. For example Board No.4 attributes crowds, noise, trash and parking violations to visitors to HS Systems. Yet, the theatre seats over 1400 people, all of who are asked to arrive at the same time for eight shows per week. It should be noted that with its seating capacity, the theatre can be expected to draw far more people to West 45th street in any given week than HS Systems. Surely, 1400 theatre patrons constitute a crowd, no matter how quickly they enter or exit the theatre. As well, such a large number of people can be expected to make some noise and leave behind some trash, especially as they exit the theatre around 10:00 or 11:00 PM. As for parking violations and congestion, this is a problem on most streets near a theatre. Theatre patrons often arrive by private car, taxi and limousine/service car and, of course, one always sees taxis and, in particular, limousines/service cars waiting to pick up their fares after the show.
Board No.4 has called HS Systems’ entrance a “haven for drug users” after business hours. However, HS Systems is aware that the hotel has received more than occasional police attention for drug-related activity. Further, the adult entertainment establishment, like any club, is a business that attracts noisy and sometime unruly patrons whom more than likely spit, urinate and leave trash on the sidewalks, especially when intoxicated. In fact, to attract patrons, this club uses advertisements that have been seen strewn on the sidewalks. Additionally, food and beverage deliveries to the club, at early hours, are less than quiet. HS Systems, during its short hours of operation, cannot possibly cause any more disruption than these other businesses. Does Board No.4 complain about the theatre, hotel and adult entertainment establishment with the same fervor with which it complains about HS Systems?
Board No. 4’s treatment of HS Systems reflects a classic NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) attitude; which is deplorable. Perhaps it is Board No. 4’s perception of the nature of HS Systems business and the socioeconomic status of some of its clients that has drawn such negative attention. For the record, HS Systems is a diagnostic center, not a clinic. Therefore, HS Systems only evaluates people, it does not treat them. Oddly enough, HS Systems operated in its present location for almost four years before Board No.4 began to complain.
Crowds, noise, trash, public urination, parking violations, graffiti, etc. are very much New York problems that exist in the best and worst of neighborhoods. On West 45th Street, HS Systems has done an exemplary job in helping to control these problems and improve the quality of life. In keeping with its desire to be a good neighbor, HS Systems has asked me to convey its continued willingness to remain available to Board No.4 to address any reasonable concerns. However, HS Systems will not tolerate further harassment by Board No. 4.
Very truly yours,