‘Sound off to the Editor’ — a soapbox and then some! • Brooklyn Paper

‘Sound off to the Editor’ — a soapbox and then some!

To the editor,

Hurricane season is coming. This time last year, who knew that we would be brutalized by Hurricane Sandy?

So many of us are still experiencing the results of that terrible storm, and will continue to do so for many years to come. We lost our homes and our possessions, and some unfortunate souls even lost their lives.

If there is anything to be learned from that devastating storm, it is that our city should be more prepared for future emergencies, and not muddle through at the 11th hour, like it did with Sandy. Plans should already be underway for turning open spaces like Floyd Bennett Field, Marine Park, and Prospect Park into rest and recovery centers. The mayor should be coordinating with service and relief industries to make sure that we have enough provisions on hand, and that we can respond adequately. We should have emergency beds, toilets, showers, and other amenities that can be placed inside emergency tents to be erected in centralized open spaces, with information centers set up to assist and direct people.

There is no reason why we can’t access sufficient resources, living as we do in the richest and sharpest city in the world. If Washington stopped giving away our tax dollars to countries that don’t appreciate them, then maybe we would have enough funds to help Americans in an emergency.

Sandy’s starkest images included the terrible sight of people roaming the streets barefoot and bereft, waiting for help to arrive and not knowing where to turn. That should never be allowed to happen again. We’re better than that.

Wanda Sampson

Coney Island

Preserve 9-11

To the editor,

A whole new generation has grown up in the 12 years since 9-11. Many of the people you see walking on the street, sitting next to you on the subway, or working with you, were in grade school or high school on that terrible day.

They can’t be blamed for thinking of 9-11 much in the same way my generation viewed World War II. It was a distant reminder that someone fought for our freedom.

I hope 9-11’s memory will always be preserved, and that it never becomes like another Memorial Day, commemorated with sales and barbecues, when its true meaning is to honor the soldiers who died defending our liberties. Fred O’Hare

Marine Park


To the editor,

The CitiBike bike-sharing program is a joke, and the worst is yet to come. What’s going to happen to all those bikes and their sprawling parking stations in the winter?

Will the bikes still be used in the snow and slush, or will they just sit around growing old and rusty? Also, the whole point of these bikes was to make it easier for us to get from one destination to another, but how will winter’s traffic snarls affect that bright idea? Will the bikes and parking bays be stored away for the winter, and if so, where?

This program was ill-gotten from the start. Mayor Bloomberg’s cronies got the contracts to build the bikes, and his well-connected pals were spared the inconvenience of having them installed in front of their ritzy homes.

Let’s see what happens after the first major snowfall of the season. My bet is the city will remove the bikes and their cumbersome stations — probably at taxpayers’ expense. William Salvatore

Park Slope


To the editor,

Pro-car bigots make no bones about disliking cyclists and pedestrians. They dismiss them callously, and they’re the first to rush to judgement over a proposed bike lane or pedestrian plaza.

But did they ever stop to think about all the good bicyclists and walkers do? A lot of wonderful charitable work would probably never get off the ground, if it wasn’t for bicyclists and walkers. People bike and run to raise millions of dollars in research funds for cancer, AIDS, babies, Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, wounded soldiers, disaster victims, and numerous other worthy causes.

So don’t knock bicyclists and walkers. They do a lot of good. Motorists only pollute the air, honk aggressively, and guzzle enough gas to keep us indebted to foreign oil mongers.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that getting around on two wheels — or two legs — is kinder to people and the planet. Charlotte Berger


‘American’ first

To the editor,

I recently became a proud U.S. citizen, but I’m troubled by my new nation’s obsession with race relations.

Everything here is divided along racial lines. If someone says something untoward to someone, it is immediately judged to be racist, instead of maybe just stupid. While all racist people are stupid, not all stupid people are racist.

Even with a black president in office, Americans can’t seem to get over the compulsion to play the race card at the earliest opportunity. Equality is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone here has an equal chance of living a good life, if they so choose.

We might also be better off, if we referred to ourselves as Americans first. It would be great if we were American Africans, American Italians, American Spanish, American Irish, etc., instead of the other way around.

Putting “American” in front of our race would make a big, psychological difference, and go a long way in uniting us.

When someone asks me what nationality I am, I say proudly, “I’m an American!”Louis Montero

Sunset Park

Ailing hospitals

To the editor,

Every time I pick up the paper, it seems another Brooklyn hospital is closing.

Four Brooklyn hospitals — Long Island College Hospital, Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale Medical Center, and SUNY Downstate Brooklyn — may shut their doors for good this year, unless the federal government bails them out. That leaves Brooklynites living near those areas in dire straits.

People get sick. That’s life. We should be upgrading our existing hospitals to make sure that they remain in mint condition — not shutting them down and risking people’s lives.

Miranda Aristide

East New York

Atlantic Fall

To the editor,

The Atlantic Center Mall is only eight years old, but it’s already an eyesore.

I shopped there recently, and I was shocked at how run down it had gotten. The stores inside were ragged looking, and the merchandise was strewn about and not nicely displayed, as if nobody cared. Also, the sales staff could have been more helpful. The whole mall just looked shoddy and old.

A lot of money has been poured into the Atlantic yards area through private and public partnerships. But by the look of things, it has quickly gone to pot. I won’t be returning in a hurry.Fran Stritch


For kid’s sake

To the editor,

More people are moving into the city. Kids are a big part of that population boom, meaning we need more space for recreation.

Why isn’t the city turning vacant lots into play areas, instead of allowing developers to put up expensive condos that few New Yorkers can afford, and which are mostly lying around empty?

We should extend the program that transforms schoolyards into play and sports areas further out into the community.

There was a story in your paper recently about soccer players turning the grass at Fort Green Park into a dustbowl because they were using it as a soccer field. Our youngsters need to be occupied with something else than mindless computers games. Giving them more sports areas to vent off their teenage frustrations and develop sportsmanship is a good start.George Harris

Fort Greene

Brooklyn fan

To the editor,

I visited Brooklyn on a recent trip to New York, and wanted to let you know what a good time I had.

I was a bit sceptical when the friends I was staying with in Manhattan suggested we go to Brooklyn. Like most other tourists, I always thought Manhattan was the bomb. I was wrong!

Brooklyn, to my pleasant surprise, had lots of exciting things to do and great places to see, but it also had community appeal. We enjoyed a Brooklyn Cyclones’ game and a wonderful ride on the Cyclone Roller Coaster in Coney Island. And later, we soaked in the nightlife in Williamsburg.

Thanks, Brooklyn, for making me a huge fan. I hope to return someday soon.

Amelie Janssen

Schaerbeek, Belgium

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