Letters to the Editor

Nine words

To the Editor,

I’m writing to commend your current editorial — “Polling aside, it’s not a mosque, it’s a right.” The title alone captures in nine words the crux of a pointless, two-month-long debate.

As you point out, Cordoba’s right to build is granted by the City of New York, and the right for people of any faith to worship there is guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. So, the facility can be built regardless of public opinion.

As for the worthless Quinnipiac poll results, what I’d like to see is a study that asks people if they want a new public swimming pool, gymnasium, library, theater, child-care center and separate prayer space — as actually proposed — rather than asking opinions about an “Islamic cultural center” as the facility was inaccurately described in the Quinnipiac poll.

Equally useful would be research to find out how many people have any accurate information at all about this proposed facility. I suspect very few, since most news stories in major media prominently feature the word “mosque,” but few if any mention a public swimming pool.

Thanks, also, to Aline Reynolds for a concise summary of how and why the CB1 Financial District Committee initiated the Cordoba dialogue on May 5 and took two months to conclude it (“For C.B. 1, Cordoba issue in the past, wants to move on”).

I was glad to see Ms. Reynolds’ story document the apparent desire of CB1 members on both sides of this debate to finally drop it gracefully and get back to work on substantive issues. An ancient adage says, “Only fools fight in a burning house.” It’s gratifying to know we all can agree on the wisdom of that, and resume working together on the more serious problems facing our community.

Ro Scheffe

Chair, Community Board 1 Financial District Committee

Go for it!

To the editor,

I’d like to express an alternate viewpoint concerning the “hiking alone” issue, raised by Geraldine Lipschutz’s letter – July 2.

The highlight of my life (at least up to now!) was the five years I explored the Gila Wilderness of southwest New Mexico, solo. This gal, Bromf – born and raised by an extremely overprotective Italian mother and fresh out of Catholic school, broke free, hobnobbed with a few of the last of the old time “sourdoughers” (prospectors), learned the art of mule packing and set off, completely alone, for five years, in one of our nation’s wildest, largest and most isolated wilderness areas. I traveled on foot with a pack string of three burros, carrying my camp supplies.

Had I waited for the “right” companion to accompany me – I never would have ventured out at all. Nor did I want a partner! I had come to deeply cherish the absolute silence, the communion and oneness with all of Nature that, I feel, comes only from a solitary experience. Can you imagine Christ in the wilderness, John Muir walking and studying the Sierra Nevadas, Thoreau on a nineteenth-century mountain man with companions? Of course not!

Yes, I did have on or two “close calls” (usually due to a momentary carelessness of my part) but I would never trade the joy, ecstasy and spirituality of a solo experience for the comfort, safety and security of group travel.

Solo hiking is not for everyone but if you feel so drawn – here’s my advice:

Obviously, thoroughly prepare for and know what your doing. Know the terrain, be prepared for all conditions and carry along plenty of common sense. Sit silently, “go within yourself” and you’ll receive and answer concerning your right path. Once you know, completely let go of all fear and uncertainty (safety is mostly and inner state of being anyway). GO FOR IT and ENJOY!

Patricia D’Anella-Rourke

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.