The Brooklyn Paper mailbag • Brooklyn Paper

The Brooklyn Paper mailbag

To the editor,

I saw your article about the filthy streets of Bay Ridge (“Bay Ridge trashiness is caused by you!” May 8) and I couldn’t agree more.

As a resident of Bay Ridge Avenue, I am appalled at how easily residents discard their small parcels of garbage on the sidewalk, even when there is a trash can in plain sight. I constantly approach litterers and give them back what they have discarded. Most of the time, the person sheepishly takes back the refuse. Most of my friends and family think I’m crazy and it’s just a matter of time before I approach the wrong person. But turning a blind eye to the issue silently makes it acceptable.

Why can’t a resident comment on how disgusting it is to see someone throw a half-eaten sandwich, candy wrapper, or used Q-Tips (I swear I’ve seen this one) onto the street?

There are several people in our neighborhood who rummage through the plastic/glass recyclables looking for deposit returns. Unfortunately, most do not take the time to open the bag gently, instead tearing holes into it. When the sanitation workers come for collection, some of the contents fall to the ground through the ripped hole. The workers don’t seem concerned with the mess left behind. Broken glass is a hazard for bicyclists, skateboarders, children, and animals.

When I read that there was a movement to remove garbage cans from certain parts of the neighborhood, I thought, “What a dumb idea!” The explanation was that a couple of cans had been removed and on those corners, the trash issue was greatly improved. Following that thinking, if we removed ALL the cans, ALL the garbage would go away. Really?

At the heart of the entire issue is civics. We have come to be afraid to speak up for what’s right. We allow others to litter, curse, blare music, and speed recklessly because we don’t think it’s our place to comment on another’s actions. Little by little, we’ve allowed unacceptable behavior to become the norm.

Next time you see someone litter, have the nerve to point out that it’s simply wrong. You’ll probably be told to mind your own business; just point out that you live in the neighborhood, so it is your business.

John Clements, Bay Ridge


To the editor,

The Brooklyn Bridge is the icon of our borough, its historic span crossed by admiring Brooklynites and visitors from around the world. Jed and David Walentas’s Dock Street project, an 18-story mixed-use proposal to include a middle school, would tamper with this national treasure (“Smaller Dock Street project moves forward,” online, April 22).

We all agree that middle school classrooms are needed. But the Walentases’ effort to foist their project on the community is as ludicrous as would be building adjacent to the Eiffel Tower.

They have used our desperate need for a middle school to both threaten and divide our community, and presented us with a false choice.

This project is not about a middle school. It is about a wealthy developer who wants to make a profit at our collective expense.

The School Construction Authority, which operates in secret, has made site decisions that ignore public input.

There are many other proposals to solve the middle school problem, but the Department of Education has rejected them, for reasons I believe to be unfounded. I advocate increasing the capacity of PS 8, if possible, or developing one of several other sites suggested.

Ken Diamondstone, Brooklyn Heights

The writer is a candidate for City Council.

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