Letters to the Editor

Transit cuts

To The Editor:

Re “The fault lies not in the M.T.A., but in our legislators” (Talking Point by Francis Menton, Feb. 26 – March 4):

If the M.T.A. rescinded the limos for its board and others, as well as lifetime free travel, it would pay for a lot of proposed cuts. Finding competent contractors who submit reasonable bids for on-time and quality work is another way for the M.T.A. to get ahead.

Susan Leelike

To The Editor:

One of the reasons for the M8 being chosen, along with so many other lines, to have service cuts is because of an invalid count. When the M.T.A. did its so-called study to see which lines were less traveled, it only counted fares, not people. The M8 line is used by many senior citizens who pay half fare and many students who pay no fare (and rightly so). 

By only counting the amount of money taken in, the M.T.A. wrongly assumed that less people used the bus line. The M.T.A. needs to be ordered to redo that study so that people are counted and not fares.

    This agency’s decision to cut services on bus lines is a slap in the face to every senior citizen in the city and every student. Shame on the M.T.A.!

Jay Matlick 

Hateful column

To The Editor:

Bonnie Rosenstock’s column (Downtown Notebook, Feb. 19 – 25, “Sidewalk swastika solution; Trying to pave over hate”), deserves a correction.

In 1943, I was born in Berlin, the day before Hitler’s birthday. I spent the first few days of life in a bomb shelter, as Allied bombs filled the skies. My mother, I found out later, induced her labor to make sure I was not born in a bunker. 

The Nazi reality intimately shaped my life and continues to obsess me. How could it have happened? Beautiful Jewish girls disappearing from classrooms, as my mother told me, whole families disappearing from neighborhoods. The collective national suffering and a personal helplessness made me leave Germany in 1963, a country that for me was still exploding with racism and anti-Semitism. 

I’ve lived in the States for 45 years. I was a professional photographer, and started shooting and documenting the vibrant Lower East Side, working-class Puerto Rican community in 1975. My work is now archived at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College.

Ms. Rosenstock writes that I was photographing “poor Latinos” — an insult to both myself and a vibrant community that survived decades of economic assault. She also offers a deeper slur in her piece when she suggests I was insulting Jews, and by inference, that I am connected to a horrifying swastika recently discovered on E. 10th St. This is a symbol that means nothing but suffering to me. In my view, Ms. Rosenstock, whom I barely know, wanted to connect a German to this story. Why she chose me I don’t know. That she connected my life to a Lower East Side swastika is to me unimaginable. 

The character denigration used by the Germans is a technique in my view that Ms. Rosenstock used in her story. She never used my name, but the community knew it was me. Since the story ran, I have received countless phone calls and e-mails, while my neighbors stop me on the street, outraged to see my identity implicated in Ms. Rosenstock’s narrative. 

Ms. Rosenstock is right to be shocked by a swastika in the middle of New York City. But if anyone needs to pave over hate, I would suggest it is her — hate against Germans, Puerto Ricans, and anyone not of means. 

Jacob Riis, one of the country’s most important photographers, built his reputation documenting “poor Jews” in the late 1800s. He made an enormous impact. A hundred years later, I am doing the same with my work, in the service of a diverse Lower East Side immigrant community. 

Marlis Momber

Letters to The Editor (Posted, Feb. 25):

I am always amazed at people who move to this neighborhood because of the great schools. Crowded schools aren’t great. Period. But then, I don’t much understand the GenX take on children: I don’t understand spending outrageous sums to live in lower Manhattan, to send their children to public schools, then pay large amounts for add-on classes, when the same money would buy a nice home in, well, New Jersey (…) and let them send the child to a nice country day school until it could be packed off to someplace in New England. But then, I also think it abusive to raise children where constant construction raises clouds of debris with every pollutant buried down here over the last three hundred years. Do these people condemn their trophy-children to lung diseases, just so they can play at being “Friends”?

Donald Jenner

Letters to The Editor (Posted, Feb. 26):

Wondering why wasn’t it mandatory that permits would not be issued to the developers of the newer BPC “family” buildings unless they agreed to give up a few floors per building to house a small school, which would seem to be in keeping with the DOE’s preference for building smaller schools over large ones? Also, I have to agree with Mr. Jenner on some of his points. After spending the summer with my niece and nephew who attend public school in a supposedly backward and undereducated state, I was rather alarmed to find they were a full year ahead of my children, who were attending one of the better Lower Manhattan public elementary schools. Which left us with what we felt were only two options. Either shell out $ 30,000 per child for a private school on the Upper East Side or move. We moved.

B. Smith

Letters policy

Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.