Larry Hart wrote these beautiful lyrics to Richard Rogers’s “Where or When,” which sort of describes the feeling of Déjà vu: “It seems we stood and talked like this before. We looked at each other in the same way then, but I can’t remember where or when. The clothes you’re wearing are the clothes you wore. The smile you are smiling you were smiling then, but I can’t remember where or when. Some things that happened for the first time seem to be happening again.”
According to my handy dictionary, Déjà vu is a French phrase meaning “already seen,” and it refers to the experience of feeling sure that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously.
The key word here is new. The only thing new the MTA offers are service cuts and excuses, excuses, excuses!
In last week’s column I warned you that nuts and bolts are falling again under the old West End line el now called the D, for Déjà vu.Actually they never really stopped falling, it’s just that they’re hitting more people and cars now.So the warning still stands, especially on the 26th Avenue curve where new track work was put in this year. Channel 11 WPIX News showed one on air last week when Craig Gelman of Hilna Motors pointed a dangling drag screw to the reporter, ready to take its gravitational pull to someone’s poor head. The last time I looked it was still dangling.
The previous week, coming back along Stillwell Avenue from Assemblyman Colton’s Kings Highway office with a copy of a letter written to Transit Authority President Tom Prendergast, I saw News 12 reporter Alicia Reid standing in front of her camera at Hilna Motors showing a fallen missile in her hand. I parked behind her, waiting to get her attention. I wanted to identify the 2-pound drag screw for her, that I mentioned in last week’s column. I had brought a shopping cart full of them to Brooklyn’s Supreme Court with State Senator Marty Solomon in a 1980 lawsuit instituted to make the MTA stop them from falling.
I showed her the letter from Assemblyman Colton requesting a meeting with the MTA president and his engineers at the Hilna Motors site, with Colton’s experts to determine how to ameliorate the high-level screeching noise that literally stops business every single time a train passes by. Déjà vu? I told Reid that screeching and train noises clearly indicate poor maintenance, which was now obvious with so many MTA missiles falling upon unsuspecting pedestrians and motorists. The workers at Hilna motors are contemplating wearing hard hats at that location, said owner Louis Gellman.
So here’s the media scorecard so far regarding coverage of the MTA missile site since Wednesday June 23: The Daily News article, News 12 Alicia Reid, WPIX Channel 11 news, and of course this column (going back 32 years!). MTA inspectors: ZERO!
State Senator Marty Golden had a town hall meeting on June 29 at Saint Finbar’s Center, and there were scores of angry residents and business people there along with a cadre of city officials ready to take and respond to complaints. Thanks to my friend Yoketing Eng, president of Community Education Council 21 and new member of Community Board 11 who not only drove me to the meeting, but took my handicap scooter for me, allowing me to move freely in the center seeing old friends, old dance pupils and some people who were so young when they met me decades ago who still remember my battles against the screeching trains and nuts and bolts falling. There were so many notables and friends there. Unfortunately there were too many complaints and happenings to report here, but I will attempt do so in next week’s column.