The Brooklyn Paper mailbag • Brooklyn Paper

The Brooklyn Paper mailbag

To the editor,

I’ve been driving for over 45 years and rarely in that 45 years has the Brooklyn Bridge been completely open to traffic in both directions (“The fix is in: Bklyn Bridge repairs to cost much more,” online, March 2).

If you had a construction job working on the bridge, you could have retired and the work will still be uncompleted. Now new construction is scheduled for next year — what are motorists supposed to do, jump up and down because it will be done in three years instead of four?

It’s a pity that we seem to be spending good money on bad projects. I would like to know how much money over the last 45 years has been dumped into what I see as wasteful projects. The city could have built a new bridge and connected it to the roadways and then saved the Brooklyn Bridge as a monument.

Now there is talk of putting a toll of $2 on the bridge to sit it traffic while the construction work is being done. It’s time for the politicians in Albany to wake up and see first-hand what motorists have been suffering with for over 45 years.

What should be done is build a new bridge and put people back to work under the stimulus plan. That’s how things get better. Constantly repairing the bridge is like putting money in your Edsel.

Edward F. Ulon,

neighborhood withheld

Byrd soars

To the editor,

I could not agree more with Francis Byrd’s letter objecting to The Brooklyn Paper’s Feb. 5 editorial calling for the use of precious federal stimulus dollars for the arena at Atlantic Yards (“Another stunned response to arena editorial,” letters, Feb. 21).

We are in a time of crumbling schools, bridges, and roads, and failing hospitals in a wasted economy. How audacious it would be to utilize much-needed public funds from public taxes to subsidize the opiate of the masses, sports.

Statistical analysis has shown time and again that the arena would cause traffic problems and divert funds from needed infrastructure projects on an entertainment project that ultimately creates few jobs beyond peanut and hot dog vending.

I am sick and tired of this country’s meatheaded overemphasis on sports over intellectual and scientific pursuit. At last, we now have a president who upholds scientific pursuits.

As a former teacher, and writer in residence in schools all over the country, I can testify to how an over-emphasis on sports has been destroying the mental powers of this nation.

Ratner’s projects have been proven time and again to hold only his self-interests and not the public good. This is a tired debate, but the economic downturn should toll the death bell for such frivolous use of public funds as sports arenas.

It is the main thing that has soured me on Mayor Bloomberg and Marty Markowitz with their pandering to jock-head mentality, while actually supporting big corporate sports.

Let’s get back to the days of friendly neighborhood baseball and basketball teams who compete for physical fitness and fun, and leave the corrupt, overpaid, sports industrialists in the dust of a crumbling economy where they belong with their steroids and multi-million-dollar salaries that outshine scientists and doctors who cure diseases and educators who grow our minds.

Dr. D.G. Luttinger,

Brooklyn Heights

Not so ‘Smart’

To the editor,

Over the past few weeks, I feel that the columnist “Smartmom” has crossed major lines as both a parent and a writer.

Not only has there been the recent drama of her refusing to give her own children the privacy they deserve (“Smartmom’s family hates her column,” Jan. 24), but now she’s decided to take a frankly unprofessional and childish approach to responding to criticism.

She spent two articles crying and moaning about the criticism she’s been receiving, and really, if she’s supposed to be a writer, she should know how to deal with a reasonable critique.

Smartmom has consistently proven to be a bad stereotype of Park Slope parents, as well as the weakest aspect of The Brooklyn Paper, and her recent temper tantrum over something any self-respecting writer should be used to is an all-time low and a waste of paper.

Andrew Wiggin, Park Slope

Skip to the loo

To the editor,

The Landmark Preservation Commission held a public hearing March 3 on the proposed automated pay toilet at Grand Army Plaza (“The GAP Crapper,” Feb. 28).

I feared this installation might jeopardize the placement of the returning 1869 Lincoln statue to a spot on the Plaza’s axis which would respect the 1865 plan of Stranahan, Vaux and Olmsted. The site selected is near the heavily used B41 bus stop across Flatbush Avenue from the Library. There is no visual impact on or from the park or Plaza.

I praised the proposal, but also offered an anecdotal alternative. Informing the Commission members of the perfect alignment along the Plaza’s axis of the Empire State Building, Bailey Fountain, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch and the mirador inside Prospect Park, I continued with a little known history.

The Plaza opened in October, 1867, with a single jet of water as its centerpiece. Four months earlier, in a progress report on the Plaza, the long-defunct Brooklyn Eagle (not to be confused with the newspaper that bears that name today) referred to the jet as the “Fountain of the Golden Spray.”

This name means exactly what you might expect. Olmsted and company would applaud a public toilet on that spot as proof that we, in 2009, understood their intent as the Civil War was ending. Perhaps a fountain’s waters could mask the access to a permanent facility within.

Richard Kessler, Park Slope

Marty tolls

To the editor,

Marty Markowitz should be begging for tolls on the East River bridges (“Is the Beep all honk and no gas on bridge tolls?” online, March 2). Most Brooklynites who commute to Manhattan do so by subway, and they are going to get slammed by fare increases, while drivers continue in their free luxury.

J. Mork, Prospect Heights

Not co-opted!

To the editor,

I get why The Brooklyn Paper wants to scotch the tabloid-driven tale that the Park Slope Food Co-op is a festering den of Israel-bashers (“The Food Co-op is not — repeat not — considering a ban on Israeli products,” online, Feb. 20).

But many people in the Slope (myself included) have a lot to say that is critical of Israel yet is in no way anti-Semitic. We do not view the Gaza siege as self-defense, but as a concerted effort to pummel Palestinian civilians. We also view Bibi Netanyahu as a dangerous ultraright demagogue who should be loudly opposed. Calling for a boycott of Israeli goods is just one way of expressing this view.

A good portion of us are Jews who have had enough of the demonization of Arabs and of anyone who speaks ill of actions of the government of Israel.

Those who view this stance as a threat to Jews are wrong. The sooner we put aside the knee-jerk xenophobia, the better.

Ethan Young, Park Slope

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