Volume 20, Number 33 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Dec. 28, 2007 - Jan. 3, 2008

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Letters to the Editor

9/11 fear & questions

To The Editor:
Re “‘Legend’ conjures up those 9/11 fears again” (Talking Point, Dec. 21 – 27): The article by David Stanke is a compelling depiction of someone’s post-9/11 reaction. His advice is probably a valid explanation as to how our bodies are programmed to deal with trauma. Our bodies are amazing — they’re very self-protective. Traumatic events are diminished to the point where it is no longer a threat to you. Your body protects itself by forgetting. My body’s attempt to protect me by diminishing the attack is null and void.  I will always live in the day of 9/11. But for me I see it as something I cannot help myself from doing. I am stuck in time where my only brother was murdered.

I can’t forget because my mind still can’t accept or explain why, why were all those lives taken on that day? Why haven’t I felt eagerness from our nation’s politicians and its citizens to answer my questions as to how we were so vulnerable on that day, and why not one person has taken any responsibility for not doing their job? Why do I constantly hear we will never live on defense again from those whose only purpose is to gain political power from the events of 9/11?

Our diminished consciousness has allowed most to collectively breath a sigh of relief, and to move on. Our fear should not be of another attack but should be placed squarely where it belongs. Fear of those who want to exploit it, of those who say get over it, of those who can live without the answers.
Barry Zelman

Time for common sense

To The Editor:
Re “Port closes in on retail deal, pushes back memorial date” (news article, Dec. 21 – 27)

Julie Menin, Community Board 1 chairperson and 9/11 memorial foundation member, also sat on the 13-member memorial jury that managed to give America a 9/11 memorial that does not acknowledge 9/11. People (the nabobs) all had the crazy idea that the 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center site should actually honor and remember the people who died, and genuinely preserve the significance, magnitude, and impact of 9/11 for future generations to confront. Or we could remake the site as a monumental tribute to ourselves.

Now, since the world is coming to the site for 9/11, and they’ll get waterfalls and trees carefully chosen and placed to look like the facade which cannot be returned because it “would tell us what to think” — you can’t make this stuff up — and a 9/11 museum hidden underground so visitors to the 9/11 memorial are not accosted by genuine artifacts of 9/11, accessible and exited by ramps — it just gets better and better — that might have a little impact upon Menin’s hope for busy cafes and shops and a successful remade W.T.C. site. Here’s an idea: the new Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx? Let’s take out the stadium and Yankee parts. And then put it underground.

Of course, another good idea is to add traffic to the site, that’s sure to make it more attractive. Who doesn’t love traffic? Especially in Manhattan. Just as long as we don’t have shops targeted just for tourists. Now that would be a disaster. 

Delay the building of the memorial by two years? Fine. Now let’s take this extra time to finally, at long last, get past ourselves and apply an ounce of humility and common sense to what we are building there. Can we do that?
Michael Burke
Pyramid point

To The Editor:
Re “Landmarking can be a drag’” (news article, Dec. 14 - 20):

It is great news that the Landmarks Preservation Commission is at last considering granting landmark status to a few properties in the East Village. While the architecture of the West Village is largely protected by contiguous historic districts, preservation advocates on the other side of Fifth Ave. have not been as effective. Familiar low-rise streetscapes — and ethnically and economically diverse faces — are rapidly disappearing, replaced by tall, shiny, new dormitories, hotels and luxury condos, especially on the Bowery and Third Ave.

I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, long enough to see the prostitutes and skinheads, drag queens and addicts give way to hedge-fund managers, baby carriages and branch banks (sigh). The Pyramid Club certainly should be remembered as the democratic vessel where all those disparate, alienated, creative elements were brought together. This only-possible-in-New-York mix produced a look and sound that defined the 1980s internationally.

The building at 101 Avenue A is likely eligible for listing just because of that recent cultural history. But its past is richer and deeper still, and just as dependent on the indomitable population of the East Village. Like Webster Hall (also under L.P.C. consideration) it was a focus of immigrant life — the site of balls and weddings, political meetings and labor rallies. For the last quarter of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, under a succession of names, this hall was critical to the education, recreation and organization of a thriving German community.

I love the neighborhood and am saddened by the recent loss of its unique institutions (2nd Ave. Deli, CBGB). Homogenization of the East Village may not be inevitable, but surely there is not much time to prevent it.
Leo J. Blackman

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