Letters to the Editor

Regrets that remarks ‘popped out’

To The Editor:

Re “Fare ye well, good luck” (Scoopy’s Notebook, March 31):

Certainly, after a six-hour-long community board meeting filled with contentious issues, several of which didn’t turn out favorably, I was exasperated and looking forward to taking a breather from my board duties.  

My lament that Community Board 2 is no longer a progressive leader, as reported by Scoopy, was born more of the heat of the battle than truly expressive of my sentiments. Sure, there are individuals with whom I frequently disagree; but, by and large, I have the highest respect for my former colleagues on the board and the blood, sweat and tears that go along with their volunteer service for our community. 

It has been my honor and privilege to serve with my hard-working neighbors and I’d hate for my sour-sounding gasp to seem like some kind of parting shot. In fact, I’m eager to spend some sunny afternoons enjoying the fresh air and community spirit with my former colleagues once Local coffee shop gets its anxiously anticipated, pop-up cafe parklet operating, right outside my apartment windows. 

Ian Dutton

A dollar a day for the needy

To The Editor:

When I look back on it now, I guess it really all began in the 1980’s, when I was working for the New York City Department for the Aging. It was in the middle of what we thought of then as a very cold winter day. I was running back and forth in our large suite of offices, supervising our staff of 20 workers as they counseled people with a myriad of problems and informed them of their eligibility for various benefits. In my travels, I kept passing what looked like an Indian man who was barefoot in sandals. Although he may have been accustomed to it, it bothered me so much to think of him going back out there like that. So, I stopped him on the way out to give him a $5 bill from my own pocket to use for some socks. As he took the money, he stared straight into my eyes and said, “This is a blessing for you.”

I have never forgotten that, so much better than the usual “Thank you” — don’t you think?

Fast-forward to the present and Earl. I think he is the one who started me on my present road. Earl is a very friendly, cheery black guy who is often sitting (now become wheelchair bound, since I first met him) on the Eighth Ave. side of the Jane St. Garden, saying “Hi” while shaking his can of change. I got into the habit of stopping to talk to him and maybe giving him a buck or emptying my change purse into his can.

After I’d had to rush past him on my way to the subway a few times, without having the time to search for my change, I decided to have my dollar for the day ready in my pocket before I left the house. As it turns out, Earl is not always there — but if not, I now will give it to the first homeless person or street musician I come upon.

The habit certainly makes me more alert to those who could use an extra dollar. One day as I was withdrawing some money from the A.T.M. on 12th St. and Eighth Ave., I became aware of a small woman who was rifling through a huge bunch of recycling bags of empty bottles and cans, looking for those worth deposits and transferring them to her bags.

I thought of how unjust the world is, that I could withdraw what I wanted from one magical window, while she had to search for 20 bottles for $1!

When I gave her my dollar for the day she spoke to me in Spanish, a thankful sentence that ended with “bendicion,” which meant it was a blessing for me.

Since I’ve been telling friends about my dollar-a-day practice, two — Joyce and Riko — have joined me in it. They report it to be quite satisfying, as well. Yes, we do also give to organized charities, but really enjoy the experience of person-to-person contact.

So I am writing this in hope that it might go global — who knows? Try it, and don’t forget — it will be a blessing for you! 

Pamela L. La Bonne

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