Letters to the editor, Dec. 1

Anyone see a menorah around here?
Dear Editor:
As the Christmas season approaches, sales begin, lights go up and people start planning what gifts they need. Christmas is an extremely commercial enterprise that has a life of its own, what with cards to be sent, stockings to stuff, gifts that must be mailed in time, home and tree decorations to be installed and the big Christmas tree must be lit up.

Here in Stuyvesant Town, a similar gigantic effort is made and it is stunning!  The scene in the fountain in the Oval, the lights strung up in the trees, the music playing is so warm and wonderful.

I realize that Chanukah, the holiday of my ancestors, is not a commercial gift-giving occasion. It is a Festival of Lights, which commemorates an extremely important moment in Jewish history with a menorah to light in a very particular order. The menorah should be placed in a location where your community can view it, and therefore “share” the holiday with those households. We make latkes and indulge together with family and friends. Gifts are not in the equation.

Stuyvesant has always had menorah lighting in the Oval, open to the community.  It is a pitifully tiny menorah. Last year, I couldn’t find it among all the many bright Christmas lights! A friend had to search with new eyes and find it for me. It is shameful that the single Chanukah menorah is so small and dwarfed by all the loud Christmas displays, which basically take over the Oval.

I would like to see a bigger menorah here is Stuy Town, which is my community, too. A menorah that can be seen from afar, not placed behind a tree or near other distractions.

No one should have to search for it, like I had to. Chanukah may not be a major holiday; however it is an important one and should be represented as such.

Susan Schoenbaum, ST

Enjoying the ice rink
I have read all the negative things said about the ice skating rink. I would like to give my take. My family and I think it is a wonderful idea to have this ice skating rink. I was there both day of the opening (Saturday and Sunday) and my kids my wife and I enjoy it tremendously. We all think it is a great idea and we love it. It is great to have all the community gather in the middle of the complex and enjoy such a wonderful event.

The only thing it was missing was some music. It would be great to listen to some Christmas and other kinds of music while skating and enjoying a day with your family. I live a few buildings away from the rink and never had an issue with the concerts or movies (another great idea) so I don’t see why we can’t have some music while we skate.

Jim Altman, ST

Rent goes up, pay goes down?
To the Editor:
Our long time union painters have been locked out by ST/PCV management since their contract expired in April.
Management wants them to take a 40 percent pay cut (T&V, Nov. 24).
At the same time, an apartment comparable to my own is being offered for three times the stabilized rent. So the Rose corporation is trying to profit both ways: Pay your workers less while you increase your rent rolls threefold.
Huh? There is something wrong with this picture.

Name withheld, PCV

Fracking is chemical warfare
New York State reminds me of England during World War Two. New York State stands alone in stopping in stopping high-volume slick water horizontal hydrofracturing.

Why are the majority of New Yorkers who are knowledgeable opposed to hydrofracking? The September 7, 2011 premature releasing of the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement is flawed and does not protect the various watersheds in New York State, including the New York City watershed. A 4,000 foot setback from the NYC watershed and a 1,000 foot setback from the aging water tunnels and associated infrastructure is inadequate.

Horizontal wells, which can extend over two miles, can be drilled from the base of the vertical well into and under the watershed. Compressors and containment pools for the “produced water” can be located in the watershed. The setbacks, inadequate as they are, can be revisited in the future. Up to 700 chemicals can be used in the fracking process. Some of these chemicals include: Dazomet, Formaldehyde, Toluene, Xylene, Ethylene, Benzene, Fluorine, radioactive tracers, biocides and much more.

Some of the mobilized chemicals found in the Marcellus include:  Uranium, Arsenic, Molybdemun, Mercury, Hydrogen Sulfide, Barium and Pyrites. What happens to these chemicals and how do they react under high volume pressure? At least thirty percent produced fluid surfaces.

Mortgages and insurance are denied to land owners who have wells on their property. The gas is not state-taxed at the well head. The gas companies are not responsible for road damage from truck traffic. The gas companies import workers from other states for the skilled and well-paying jobs. The remaining jobs are for local, lower-scale workers. There are no union benefits. What happens if a worker gets sick from the toxins or gets injured?  There are at least a hundred reasons not to frack. I have touched the surface on this issue. Safe, clean technologies such as solar, tidal and carefully-located windmills with minimal impact on birds and bats are available.

There will be a movie and letter-writing workshop at the Town and Village Synagogue, at 344 East 14th Street on December 1, from 7-9 p.m. The subject will be hydrofracturing in NYS and the DEC comment period.  The final date of the comment period is December 12, 2011. Any letters should be addressed to:  Attn:  dSGEIS Comments:  New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY, 12233.

Anne Lazarus, ST

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