Volume 18, Number 1 | MAY 27 —JUNE 2, 2005, 2005

Letters to the editor

Cycling leaders and safety

To The Editor:
Re “A cyclist’s death is a reminder of streets’ dangers” and “More are now riding brakeless track bikes” (news articles, May 20 - 26):
I was saddened to read of the traffic death of cyclist Brandie Bailey. Unfortunately, as your article points out, track bikes, with their lack of brakes and their foot-gripping rattraps, are accidents waiting to happen. As a New York City street cyclist for over 30 years, I have seen my share of accidental injury and death. The bottom line is, when you enter into traffic on a bicycle, you are taking your life in your hands. Experienced riders translate this to mean that whatever happens to you is your fault. To ride with any other attitude is to invite disaster. Which brings us to the Critical Mass ride. Its members are participating in exactly what not to do on a bike. Instead of riding in a thin single file, they try to outmuscle traffic with huge clusters of shouting bicyclists, endangering both other bicyclists and pedestrians. They create confusion, noise pollution, violate traffic laws en masse — all on an extra-busy, end-of-the-month Friday night, with its heightened levels of driver and pedestrian intoxication. Critical Mass is critically dangerous. And its “leaders” are irresponsible in their failure to promote safe cycling, and to educate bicyclists like 21-year-old Brandie about the second-to-second danger of riding a bike in New York City’s streets.
David Rockwell

Puts his mouth where his mouth is

To The Editor:
Re “He’s king of the jungle in New York City” (news article, April 29 - May 5):
What a great guy.

As I read to the end of his article, I began to wonder if he is a vegetarian, and there was my answer. When I joined PETA in 1984 my reaction was the same. Why be kind and caring of some sentient beings and subject others to extreme deprivation, cruelty and killing, just because they taste good? (We are extremely prejudiced against the so-called “food animals.”)

His cause is awesome; to think that 300,000 animals were drowned in the river as a means of disposal many years ago.
The quote from Gandhi says it all.
My heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Boks.
Patricia A. Volk

Souvenir lessons

To The Editor:
Re “W.T.C. souvenir sales down: Vendors mad, residents still wary” (news article, April 29 –May 5):

The Downtown Express continues its excellent coverage of “Ground Zero.”

Those responsible for the redevelopment and the memorial to Sept. 11, whoever they are, need to take heed of the words of visitor to Ground Zero Dee Gorter of South Dakota on why she made a purchase from a local vendor: “I just bought it to try and understand what happened here” and “I’m here to appreciate history.”

How will visitors like her be able to do that with a memorial that, as the designer Michael Arad says, is not “too literal” so as to allow each visitor their own “interpretation?”  That, as one art critic praised, “Does not confront or even acknowledge the terrorist attacks?” That not only ignores the history of the attacks but by failing to recognize the order behind them - a plot conceived and carried out by men, it consequently misrepresents it as some sort of “random” event, diminishing the meaning of the deaths of all those killed? That in order to protect the “integrity” of the memorial would relegate all the familiar remnants of the W.T.C., those that can fit, underground? The terrorists attacked the W.T.C. because it was iconic of America; the memorial rejects its remnants because they are iconic of the attacks.

By ignoring the history of the attacks we have a memorial — at the site of the attacks — that delivers no message to future generations, except that a lot of people died here and it made a lot of other people feel bad.

Considering the monumental nonsense surrounding Ground Zero, come the future, the vendors might be doing everyone a favor.
 Michael Burke

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