Fixing rubber band problem a stretch

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To the editor,

After reading Gersh Kuntzman’s column about postal workers who litter local streets with used rubber bands (“Time to ‘band’ together in Slope,” July 28), I was reminded of my own experience battling this persistent problem.

A few years ago, I phoned the Times Plaza Station [on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill] and, like Gersh, suggested that the postal workers recycle the rubber bands and save the USPS money. For about a month, there was an improvement, but the rubber bands soon reappeared.

Now I just collect them and give them back to my mail carrier once in a while. It’s just easier than tackling the larger problem.

R.K. Dillon, Park Slope

• • •

To the editor,

I have a suggestion after reading the rubber band column: Perhaps the Postal Service should print little newspaper articles on those rubber bands. Then the letter carriers can just throw them on our stoops.

Alex Holdsworth, Park Slope

A true Angel

To the editor,

The Broken Angel should be saved (“Plea for Broken Angel,” Fort Greene–Clinton Hill Edition and online, Aug. 8).

When I saw this fantastic building for the first time I was highly inspired.I would want to live in such a building; The Broken Angel reminded me of buildings by Gaudi, the famous Spanish architect and artist. But his buildings are in Barcelona. In New York City, they probably would not have been allowed.

It is deadly for art if decisions are made by people who do not understand art and do not travel to other places to get inspired. The Buildings Department should be proud of the Broken Angel and do everything to help save it!

Some rules are not written in books ... and great new inventions can only come true if someone has the guts to give it a try. From an architectural point of view, there is not much excitement here in Brooklyn, so it would be great to see some more extravagant buildings instead of these ugly high rises.

It is a disgrace that architectural art is not recognized in a so-called “world city.”

Sena Muhlmann, Downtown

Downtown praise

To the editor:

I am writing in response to recent quote by my colleague, Joseph Aquino, regarding the potential of Downtown Brooklyn (“Marty casts his line for Nordstrom,” July 28).

Prudential Douglas Elliman has had a thriving base in Brooklyn for more than 20 years. Our firm truly believes in Downtown Brooklyn and the future of the area, and we are thrilled with such recent developments as the opening of a new Trader Joe’s in the Atlantic Avenue corridor.

Given the opportunity to comment on the topic, I would have painted a more optimistic and possibly more insightful picture of Downtown Brooklyn’s bright retail potential and promise.

Prudential Douglas Elliman is proud of the work we have done in Downtown Brooklyn, and the role we have been able to play – along with so many other dedicated firms and individuals – in its continued revitalization.

Faith Hope Consolo, Manhattan

The writer is chairwoman of the retail leasing and sales division for Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Longfellow high

To the editor,

I am neither a fan of Henry Longfellow nor his poetry, but I feel that the removal of his name from PS 94 (“School’s memory short on Longfellow,” June 23) undermines the very foundation of public education. The Longfellow School represents a conception of learning that allows the students to discover themselves through an education of diverse languages and cultures.

This might seem an obvious method of education for someone living in Brooklyn today, but it wasn’t always. Before certain individuals consider pressing the name change further, they might want to educate themselves a little on the person whose name they endeavor to wipe off the doors of PS 94.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) was an American poet whose works we don’t read much any more. The reason for this was because they weren’t very good — at least not on par with the likes of Whitman and Emily Dickinson, who we read with more regularity today.

He was known as a popular poet, writing less-than-profound, but nevertheless solid volumes of poetry. This made him a household name in the 19th century.

But while Longfellow’s contributions as a poet may have been minor what he did contribute can be seen in all American educational institutions today — including PS 94. Longfellow literally invented the study of American literature. At the time, if a book wasn’t written by a white European male in English, it wasn’t considered worth studying. Longfellow sought to destroy this institutionalized prejudice in education.

The department that he established during his tenure at Harvard is the same model we use today in all our American languages and literature departments, from kindergarten through college. While it is a model that is by no means perfect, it establishes American literature’s boundaries (unlike the previous European ones) to be something under constant revision, rethinking and construction.

Longfellow fought endlessly to establish educational institutions in America which included authors in the curriculum previously excluded by European institutions. He endeavored to expanded American ideas of education beyond the works of Western of Europe, to include literature from the non-traditional English speaking world. His department included the studies Far Eastern literature and the literatures and myths of Native Americans (a radical idea at the time).

Fiercely abolitionist, his “Poems on Slavery” (1842) attacked the so-called Peculiar Institution. His poem “The Slave Singing at Midnight” not only called for all Americans to listen to the unique and diverse literary voices that emanated from African-American authors who Longfellow championed as the future of American Literature — and he was right.

Longfellow found translation to be the cornerstone of American education. Writing the first American Translation of Dante’s “The Divine Comedy,” Longfellow saw our knowledge of diverse languages to be only hope for a distinct American education.

Changing the school’s name is an act which lacks character and an understanding of the diverse people past, present and future, who constitute the very complex fabric of our nation’s diverse cultures and languages.

I am appalled that the schools’ English teachers have done nothing to stop it. We who live here in Brooklyn do have a large immigrant population and with that population comes many different languages.

Ben Rose, neighborhood withheld

Barron blues

To the editor,

Councilman — and former Black Panther Party activist — Charles Barron’s candidacy for Borough President could set back race relations for generations (“Plenty of traffic in race for Boro Prez,” July 28). His quote, “I’m taking care of black folks,” said it all. Imagine if a white, Asian, Hispanic, Italian, Irish, Caribbean, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, atheist, gay, lesbian or heterosexual said the same thing about his or her own group?

Voters should believe that their elected officials are elected to represent everyone on an equal and fair basis, regardless of the constituents’ sexual orientation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs or race. I’m sure the intelligent voters of Kings County will not want to turn the clock back 50 years by electing such a clearly bigoted person as Charles Barron.

Where is the outrage from other elected officials, along with the media and American Civil Liberties Union on this issue?

Clearly, if you or I said the same thing, there would be editorials calling for our removal from public office. Al Sharpton would be marching across the Brooklyn Bridge. Norman Siegel would be filing a lawsuit. The Council would be passing a resolution of condemnation.

Hypocrisy knows no boundaries!

Larry Penner, Great Neck

Updated 4:31 pm, July 9, 2018
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