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Letters to the editor

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To The Editor:

I had the “displeasure” of seeing someone’s brainchild for Times Square.

Now, don’t get me wrong the idea of allowing a “square” in that area is great for pedestrians and, in particular, tourists. And mobs of people milling about those streets struck me as kind of cool, so when my bride and I had a play in the city I was excited to be one of the strollers.

It was a shock, and I really couldn’t believe my eyes. Yes, the streets were blocked off and traffic seemed to be moving along as good as it can get in Times Square, however, as for strolling, that was impossible. Some idiot has placed lawn chairs everywhere and there were hundreds if not thousands of people sitting around drinking their latte’s, smoking cigarettes, enjoying the night air and just gazing about.

Instead of being able to walk about and look around, we found ourselves watching every step so as to not bump into someone’s chair. Walking from 42nd Street north up Broadway to 51st Street took as long through the maze of lawn chairs as it does with just the crowded sidewalks.

Let us not even discuss the down side to this situation. I hesitate to think of the chaos that would result if a firetruck, ambulance or other emergency vehicle were to have to get in there. I know the people would scatter but would they take their lawn chairs. I don’t think so. Then, I also noticed extra police and firemen in the area to, probably, be on the spot in case there was an emergency of some sort. More tax dollars wasted. I don’t even want to ask who paid for those lawn chairs. You can bet it wasn’t our fair mayor.

Lastly, we all know that all these good people sitting around eating their dirty water hotdogs, drinking their soda and smoking their cigarettes are going to get up from their chairs and walk to the nearest trash disposal point to help keep the area clean. Yes, I think you know the answer to that one so now we have more sanitation workers on overtime. I think this idea of lawn chairs has got to go. There is a large bleachers built over TKTS if people want to sit and enjoy the view but not in lawn chairs.

Bill Miller



To The Editor:

Stanley Gershbein [“It’s Only My Opinion] takes a shot at Colin Powell, finding it “ludicrous” that Powell advocates higher taxes.

I hesitate to challenge Mr. G (the ‘Sultan of Ludicrous’) on his home turf, just as I would hesitate to challenge Babe Ruth (the ‘Sultan of Swat’) about baseball.

Nevertheless, it sounds pretty reasonable to me that Mr. G and I should pay for the idiocy of Cheney and his ilk – and, to a limited extent, Bush – who were elected on our watch. It sure beats passing the bill on to our children and grandchildren.

Winston Churchill once growled that “there is nothing more stimulating than being shot at without result.”

Mr. Powell must know that.

Brian A. Jones

Brooklyn Heights

Stanley Gershbein responds:

Dear Mr. Jones,

In my experiences as the ‘Sultan of Ludicrous,’ I have met many people who would love to see taxes increased, but not for them. They want me to pay higher taxes with the hopes that theirs will be reduced.

A recent Rasmussen poll tells us that 51% of Americans want a tax cut while only 34% do not; and 64% of this nation prefers a government with fewer services and lower taxes.

Hey, pal. What’s with this “Mr. G and I……” thing? You want to pay more – leave me out of it. If “it sounds pretty reasonable” for you to pay more taxes, go ahead and do so. Our government will gladly accept it. And while you’re at it, feel free to pay mine also.

As for passing any bill on to our children and grandchildren, the numbers brought about by the last administration are miniscule when compared to the gargantuan debt being created by President Obama and the current administration.

I don’t believe that you really want to pay more taxes. You are merely attempting to bait me into a decent debate, as you usually do. I think any man who really wants to pay more taxes might want to investigate increasing the doses on his meds.

Thanks again for writing.


To The Editor:

What do the Atlantic Yards, WTC and West Side Arena have in common? All will evolve, rather than appear, instantly on the skyline and none will resemble their initial vision.

This ought to provide a moment for reflection, regarding the role of architecture, hubris, politics, and planning in our city. Will we continue to see another development deal, another architect, another political legacy all intertwined in a misbegotten attempt to control that which clearly cannot, and perhaps should not, be controlled? We seem to constantly delude ourselves, regarding the way cities grow best. The beauty and diversity of a great city has always been more than a single author can successfully imagine. Our worst legacy is our failed master plans with their projects, urban renewal, superblocks, and highways that have destroyed and isolated neighborhoods. Our most humane urban environments are those that grew incrementally, responding to our needs as they arose and reflecting the rich tapestry of human expression.

So, if development of the Atlantic Yards is to progress – and I doubt that anyone would argue that the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush or its open rail lines should remain as is – let’s strategize the most effective approach for its realization.

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