Letters to the editor, Mar. 22

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Farewell to a kind man and neighbor

The following is a tribute from a neighbor to the late David Chowes, a 40-year resident of Peter Cooper Village, who was easily this newspaper’s most prolific writer of letters to the editor. He died last month at the age of 75.

To the editor:

Last month we lost a dear man and longtime PCV resident, David Chowes. It is only fitting that the pages of this paper offer tribute to our neighbor and friend.

I did not know David very well. Our paths crossed about three years ago when in response to my wife’s simple courtesy he presented us with a jar of his own, handcrafted pasta sauce. In more recent times we and many of our generous neighbors would offer David comfort and encouragement as he dealt with very difficult circumstances brought about by his own sensitivity and generosity. He never stopped expressing his gratitude for the support of his neighbors.

Along the way I came to know a little bit about David’s teaching career, his love of science and ideas, and his constant excitement with the world around him. There was still something of the little boy in David.

He celebrated goodness in people. He often contributed letters to this space. In one of his last contributions, he told of exchanges he enjoyed with the fruits and vegetables vendor on the corner of 1st Avenue and 23rd Street. He admired the gentleman for his hard work, long hours on the street seven days a week providing for his family, educating his children. That David would take the time to share this and similar observations with the readers tells us a lot about him and the qualities he so much admired and reflected.

We say a fond farewell to David. He led a good life. We will miss him. May he Rest In Peace.

Raymond J. Dearie, PCV

The fight for women’s rights goes on

It’s hard to believe that 108 years after the Women Textile Workers of Lowell, MA went on strike shouting “Bread and Roses,” we are still fighting for Women’s rights.

Yes, they forced concessions from big business which, in turn, caused unions to be founded and labor laws to be written, but there is still disparity… mostly on a different level, between men and women in the workplace.

The labor laws that were created in the first half of the 20th Century definitely helped children and men and women alike. But, at that time, I don’t believe the politicians thought about “equal pay for equal work done” for women, or people of color. I haven’t looked it up, but I am pretty sure the original law was written ambiguously enough so that “big business” got away with paying men more than women and blacks less than whites.

Today, the fight is more about sexual harassment in the workplace than it is about breaking the glass ceiling. My generation was shyly flattered with wolf whistles by constructions workers or men on the “corner,” but flattered we were. However, a pat on the rear end or a brushing of the hand across the chest was ALWAYS unwanted and intimidating in the workplace.

I can recall my own experience of auditioning to be a showroom model in an elegant fur salon, at age 19. The owner helped me on with a gorgeous fur coat with long, tuxedo lapels. After doing so, he stood in front of me and “smoothed out” the lapels pretty hard.  I ran out of there crying.

It was never just in Hollywood, but we would grin and bear it, because what else could we do? We wanted to keep our jobs.

Thank G-d for the ladies who shouted “bread and roses.” That’s what women wanted then and still want today, and thank G-d the younger generations are seeking it with dignity!

Barbara Zapson, PCV

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