St. Paul’s banner

The following is an open letter sent to Trinity/St.Paul’s Parish.

I am currently a community member of St. Paul’s Chapel.  I live across the street in 176 Broadway along with my wife.  My wife and I also worked in the World Trade Center for a combined 13 years.  Obviously, Sept. 11, 2001 was a troublesome time for the many people of the world, and my wife and I lost very close, personal friends that day. St. Paul’s was an integral part of the recovery for Lower Manhattan, not only in terms of the symbolism of its survival, but for the love and spiritual guidance that it provided in the months following the tragic event. For that, I applaud you and the efforts of your church community. Now that two years have passed, we are beginning to see signs of the rebirth of this area and the general glow or spirit in the air that comes with new beginnings. 

I am writing because I am deeply troubled by the message the church is currently sending to the community.  I am referring to the fierce, life-sized banner depicting the death and destruction of that day on the front of that most historic landmark. Although this may not be your intention, it gives the impression that the entire event is now commercialized and that the church is being opportunistic.  This poster looks more like an IMAX movie advertisement.  My wife and I cannot walk past that poster without feeling the pain of that horrible day.  It is a brutal and constant reminder of the reign of evil brought down upon us on that day.  This poster does not represent rebirth, it does not represent new beginnings, and it does not represent the spirit and dignity of that beautiful church.

My appeal to you is to reconsider the display.  There has to be a more subtle and respectful way to advertise the current exhibition.  We live in this neighborhood.  We are working towards not only rebuilding our community, but also rebuilding our spirits.  This Poster display only hinders that healing process and blackens the tone of the neighborhood and greater community.  Please consider our appeal.

Jon-Paul Rorech

Congratulations Express

To The Editor:

Re: “Express wins NYPA awards” (Downtown Local, April 15-21, 2003):

Though a resident of Upper Manhattan, I take the train each week to Chambers St. to pick up Downtown Express because it provides focused coverage on post-9/11 Downtown recovery, something very important to this citizen-taxpayer concerned with restoring a valuable tax base and jobs.

So, I was delighted to read Downtown Express’ well-deserved New York Press Association Community Leadership award and recognition for D.E.’s in-depth coverage and general news reporting at the NYPA convention in Saratoga Springs, New York. Congratulations to all.

My thanks again to your hardworking reporting staff for continuing to provide the only focused and dedicated coverage of Downtown New York.

Alice F. La Brie

Closure wastes money

To The Editor:

In the course of a press conference (reported in a Downtown Express article on Chinatown and Park Row), Mayor Bloomberg made a point of deferring to Police Commissioner Kelly on the issue of “security” (“Chinatown searching for answers on Park Row,” news article, April 22 – 28, 2003). Since this magic word has been a boon to the purse and power of Mr. Kelly’s team, to the tune of $5 million a week for a show called “Operation Atlas” our commissioner is flying high.

Our poor billionaire mayor is wrestling with a $4 billion budget deficit (the same amount of money that the Dept. of Defense has allocated for Iraq/reconstruction) that has led the slashing of vital social services providing tangible security, unlike Mr. Kelly’s lavishly funded Operation Atlas.

To raise money for a city that cannot find the means to repair a pothole, Mayor Bloomberg is currently considering a mass infusion of slot machines, as the final solution to our money problems.

If the Dept. of Defense can donate $600 million to Bechtel, (one of the largest construction companies in the world), for their contribution to the $4 billion a month cost of “peacekeeping” in Iraq, surely they could help out some of their friends in New York City.

It would be a shame to see “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….” sacrificed to hungry slot machines.

Shelly Estrin



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