To the editor,
My wife and I just returned from our summer vacation in New York to our home in Lisbon, Portugal, and we are still savoring the memories of our wonderful trip.
We had a great time visiting all the wonderful museums, theaters, art galleries, and restaurants in Manhattan. But the reason why we are writing to your Brooklyn newspaper is that what impressed us the most — the part we enjoyed the best — was when some friends suggested that we take in the sights in Brooklyn. We’re so glad we did.
What a fantastic place your Brooklyn is! We thought it was, in a way, even better than Manhattan because it offered us some unique experiences that we otherwise may have missed out on.
We went to Coney Island, where we rode the Cyclone and Thunderbolt roller-coasters (we’re still spinning from those exhilarating rides!), ate something we’ve always wanted to — a knish and a Nathan’s hotdog! — and watched a Cyclone’s baseball game in charming MCU Park. However we think it should be renamed Cyclones Park — MCU Park is far too banal. We also visited some wonderful nightlife in Williamsburg and enjoyed a lazy afternoon in Prospect Park.
We wanted to write and let you know that Brooklyn played such a big role in our overall vacation experience — it made our good time even better. Thank you, Brooklyn!Camila and Adriano Belo
To the editor,
New York is the obvious choice to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. It has always been a Democratic city, and Democrats know they can count on a vote from New Yorkers.
The planning committee will be making its rounds this month and in September to check out six cities — Birmingham in Alabama, Cleveland and Columbus in Ohio, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, Pheonix in Arizona, and New York City, specifically in Brooklyn. It should save itself the trouble and just go ahead and pick Brooklyn. We have the perfect venue in Barclays Center.
New York has been the host city for several Democratic national conventions, going back to 1868 when Horatio Seymour was selected as the presidential nominee at Tammany Hall. The last Democratic national convention was held at Madison Square Garden in 1992, when the party chose Bill Clinton, who ended up serving two terms as president, as its candidate.
New York has much to offer the delegates, some of whom have never been here, and their visit would definitely boost our economy. It’s a win-win situation, so c’mon, planning committee — pick New Yawk. It’s a no-brainer.John Castleton
To the editor,
Why even bother with the American naturalization process if we are going to treat illegal immigrants like legal citizens. People who break the law to come here can now open bank accounts, sign apartment leases, and access other services where a photo ID is required, thanks to the new municipal identification cards.
It gives outlaws a legal footing where none should exist, and allows them to be absorbed legally into American society when they haven’t paid their dues or gone through proper channels, like legal immigrants have.
The mayor, the City Council, and the president all seem hugely concerned over rights for undocumented folk, when they should be improving life for taxpaying Americans. After all, we are the people who are footing the bill for the floods of illegals already here, and the tens of thousands more coming in each year across a border which urgently needs to be sealed.
We should be dissuading immigrants from coming here unlawfully, not making it easier for them.Les Fierstein
To the editor,
I love what they have done with Brooklyn Bridge Park. It used to be a wasteland of abandoned buildings and inaccessible bays. Now it is a family-style park, with lots of recreational opportunities, including barbecuing, a sports pier, and restful spots to just hang out with family and friends, or just chill out by yourself. There’s even a mini-beach and a quaint bridge connecting Brooklyn Heights to the park areas. On a recent Saturday there, I saw what had to be more than 100,000 people there having a great time.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is already a fantastic place to unwind after a hectic workweek, and when they complete it, it will be the garden spot of the city. Its visionaries and planners encountered a lot of obstacles along the way, but they never gave up. Hats off to them for their perseverance! It’s paid off.Rebecca Winters
To the editor,
Our commercial corridors used to bustle with mom-and-pop shops, but sadly that is a thing of the past.
These days banks, drug stores, and telephone companies are muscling out small businesses who cannot afford to stay because their rents are too damn high.
Banks with names I’ve never heard of before are competing with Duane Reade, Verizon, and other big-name commercial entities for top-dollar space. I counted two banks, and three cellphone places on one block on Kings Highway the other day.
When small shops are elbowed out of the way, it ruins the neighborhood and robs its soul.
Kings Highway used to be a great shopping strip a few years back. People would come from all over to spend money there, but now it’s a messy patchwork quilt, with a monstrosity of a mall on the way. Heaven help us!Ruth Weingarten
To the editor,
The merger of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bay Ridge with Christ Church makes me sad because a piece of our local history will be gone forever.
The house of worship was known as the Church of Generals because Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson once worshipped there, but dwindling church membership has made what once seemed impossible the inevitable.
I recall a few years back we lost the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church due to a similar shrinking congregations. It was built in 1899 and known as the “green church” because of its pretty, green, serpentine stone with a brownstone border. It also featured a crenelated clock tower and was on the National Register of Historic Places. But that didn’t stop church officials from selling it off like a worn-out shoe, claiming it was too expensive to do essential repairs. Today there is a school there, but I still miss the green church, which should have been preserved for Brooklyn’s architectural posterity.
We should save our history — just because. One reason why tourists flock to Europe is to see the historic sites there. The Roman baths in England were just a place where the Romans washed, but now it is a big tourist attraction because the British had the vision to preserve their ancient history. I’ve been to the town of Bath and nothing compares to walking in the footsteps of history.Veronica Walters
To the editor,
Under our Constitution, the duties of the President include “taking care that the laws be faithfully executed.” There’s nothing in there about the President writing those laws or changing them. That’s a power granted to Congress.
And that doesn’t change if Congress chooses not to write laws which the president says are necessary. The president has the right to cajole, to persuade, to compromise but, if he is not successful, he still doesn’t have the right to legislate, and he is not absolved of the duty to enforce laws already written.
For instance, if Congress passes a health care law and the president signs it, he does not have the right to unilaterally make changes that violate that law. Even if the law bears his name, it doesn’t mean that it belongs to him and that he can do with it whatever he wishes.
Or, if Congress chooses not to pass “immigration reform,” the President’s duty is still to enforce current immigration law, regardless of how many “pens and phones” he owns.
If a president is allowed to usurp the functions of Congress, what’s next, those of the judiciary?
The Supreme Court each year receives about 10,000 petitions of which it agrees to hear approximately 75. In all the other 9,025, the decisions of lower courts are allowed to stand. If a president doesn’t agree with their rulings, does he have the right to intercede here too?
“Don’t you think your gun control laws are a little … restrictive? Didn’t you guys ever hear of the Second Amendment? No highway funds for you.”
Remember, the next occupant of the Oval Office might not necessarily by “your guy” (or gal).
The Founders had a healthy respect for the dangers of concentrated government power and tried to control it with a system of checks and balances. It’s a good system, not perfect, but good. We should try to keep it.Dr. Stephen Finger