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He’s got a problem with those who don’t want to ‘Flea’

The Brooklyn Paper
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To the editor,

As a Brooklyn Flea supporter and sometime seller, I attended the July 24 meeting at Queen of All Saints to hear the church goers’ concerns about the new Brooklyn Flea (“Flea market meeting gets heated,” online, July 25). Instead, I walked out deeply troubled by anti-Semitic comments made by the parishioners.

At first, it seemed their main concerns were about the increased traffic and noise during their previously quiet and tranquil holy day, Sunday. They complained about lack of parking, bathroom requests, and noise, among other grievances.

I was shocked when Kathleen Walsh, a parishioner at Queen of All Saints and “a resident of the neighborhood since 1942,” got up and rhetorically asked, “Would such an entity be allowed across from a synagogue?”

Her comment reeked of classic historic Jew-hating. This same type of anti-Semitic rhetoric was prevalent in pre-Nazi Germany, where the Jews were portrayed as having too much power. Being a “Jewish peddler” myself, and a relative of Holocaust survivors who lost most of his family during the war, I was more than hurt by Ms. Walsh’s beliefs and those expressed by other church supporters in attendance. Taken in direct relation to the Flea market, her statement seemed to me to be identical to Hitler’s charges that Jewish peddlers have too much money and influence.

The congregation even blamed the Flea for their church’s own dwindling attendance. (Reality check: the Flea has only been open for three months, and the Catholic Church has been slowly losing members since the 1960s.) Imagine the attendees of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue complaining about the traffic, shoppers, sirens, trucks, and hoards of tourists out front on Sundays? And when is street parking guaranteed for anyone in New York City? Why can’t parishioners take the subway like the 7,000 or so attendees at the Flea do? Get real.

What about “love thy neighbor?” Instead of trying to ban the Flea the parishioners should be instead thinking, “How can we benefit from this new exciting enterprise right across the street?” One speaker, Howard Pitsch, made the most sense of all when he suggested that instead of being adversarial, the church should embrace the Flea and open its doors to the newcomers. Perhaps even some of the new visitors would stay and rejuvenate the parish.

In towns and cities across the world, the houses of worship are the centerpiece of the community — and open-air markets often gather there every weekend, just like on Lafayette Avenue.

The Flea haters even brought up the tired old argument used by the Atlantic Yards supporters that (I’m paraphrasing here), “You newcomers have no right to express your opinion about my neighborho­od.” Wait a minute. Exactly how long does one have to live in Brooklyn in order to be considered a real Brooklynite?

The bottom line is, anyone who lives in Brooklyn today has a right to express his or her opinion. The government only requires 30 days of residence before you get a driver’s license; that sounds like a good guideline here, too.

Abby Weissman, Fort Greene

Hospital woes

To the editor,

While I applaud The Brooklyn Paper’s continued interest in the happenings at Long Island College Hospital, I think it is imperative that locals be made aware of the truly dire situation within the institution (“Heads roll at wobbly LICH,” July 26).

Not only have numerous programs been closed in the last year, several more are on the chopping-block. Continuum Health Partners, which owns the hospital, seems to be only interested in making money, not in providing quality services to people in the area. Continued program closings would leave thousands of people with no local health care; the nearest hospital is Woodhull Hospital, a city facility with a questionable reputation.

Downtown Brooklyn residents deserve high quality care and a wide-range of services, all within the neighborhood. Local residents need to stand-up for what they deserve.

Marie Cierra, Brooklyn Heights

Bike bandit

To the editor,

As someone who has gone through the shock and anger of having many bikes stolen over the years, I certainly know what your editor, Gersh Kuntzman, must have felt when he discovered his own transport ripped off one fine morning (“Gersh taken for a ride,” Park Slope edition and online, July 26).

With bike riding and commuting becoming so much a part of life for everyone, myself for sure these days, and the city providing so many handy bike lanes, perhaps The Brooklyn Paper could offer tips on the best — and worse — ways to hang onto you bike.

As a recent victim, it seems Gersh would be a good first subject.

By the way, I enjoy and read your paper every issue.

Gene Kahn, Windsor Terrace

Editor’s note: Kuntzman offers these tips, all gleaned from his recent misfortune: 1. Don’t use a thin chain. 2. Don’t chain your bike where it is visible to anyone. 3. Listen to your wife when she advises you to follow suggestions 1 and 2.

Fight goes on

To the editor,

I was disappointed to read Alec Brook-Krasny’s response to my letter pointing out his lack of involvement in efforts to save Victory Memorial Hospital’s emergency room (letters, July 10). As I stated previously, Victory was in the heart of Brook-Krasny’s district in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge, and it was his Democratic political party leaders in Albany who did not listen to our pleas to keep it open.

He claims that just because I have questioned his pubic record as our assemblyman, I am “mudslinging” and “in need of a new job.” Rather, I was merely distinguishing myself from his failed record for our district. It is ironic that Brook-Krasny never challenged or questioned the main assertion of my letter. It is not “mudslinging” to ask why our assemblyman was nowhere to be found in the fight to save Victory.

I will never sit idly by as our community gets the shaft from leaders in Albany.

Bob Capano, Bay Ridge

The writer is a Republican running to replace Brook-Krasny in the Assembly

Venting & vending

To the editor,

I have enjoyed your coverage of the Red Hook vendors, and especially enjoyed the video that Gersh Kuntzman did during that press conference (“Our man grills the commish,” The Brooklyn Angle, online, July 24).

I loved seeing Kuntzman grill Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Sen. Charles Schumer!

It’s hard to believe that they didn’t even have the decency to respectfully acknowledge what those vendors went through (both in terms of complying to the regulations as well as their financial losses).

I am looking forward to following the rest of your reporting.

Chantelle Karl, Manhattan

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