Letters to the editor, Oct. 10

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Remembering Bernie’s son

To the editor:

I am delighted to know that Playground 3 is to be renamed for Bernie Rothenberg. As a resident of Stuyvesant Town, I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rothenberg a few times. However, it is his son, Dr. Richard Rothenberg, whom I knew much better.  This gives me an opportunity to describe my memory of Bernie’s son, Richard.

I taught music at Stuyvesant High School for 8 years (1983-1991) while Dr. Rothenberg was the Math Chairman (Assistant Principal for Math). When Richie heard that I had just moved to Stuyvesant Town in November 1986 with my wife Lisa (who was pregnant with our first son, Benjamin), he asked me what my new address was. “That’s right near my dad. I visit him for lunch every week. I’ll probably run into you a lot.”

Richie was an enormous influence on my growth as a teacher and supervisor. He knew that I had aspirations of becoming a chairman. When he noticed or heard from someone else something that I said or did that was not exemplary for an administrative leader, he would gently steer me in the right direction. When I was preparing for the NYC Board of Examiners Examination for Assistant Principal for Music, Dr. Rothenberg invited me to sit with him doing lesson observations of math teachers and then have discussions with me afterward as we analyzed the teacher’s performance.

Sadly, Richie Rothenberg passed away in 1997. I recall reading in this newspaper a letter that his father Bernie wrote mentioning that Richard would visit him every week.

God bless Bernie Rothenberg and this new playground!

Joseph Rutkowski
Stuyvesant Town

Why not a shuttle for seniors?

I write because the Associated on 14th Street is closing. Hopefully, Stuyvesant Town’s management can find a replacement in kind. Surely, I’m not the only one wondering why seniors can’t be shuttled to Gristede’s on 20th Street, Morton Williams on 23rd, C-Town, Associated, Shop Fare on Avenue C or the Key Food on Avenue A. That’s what Tammany Hall’s Democrats would have done. Today’s County Democrats embrace that idea, too. As long as one funds it themselves.

Billy Sternberg
Stuyvesant Town

Remove Playground 11 for safety

The PCV/ST Playgrounds, e.g. 1, 11, etc., are attracting dangerous, unsavory predators into our residential community, which should be a safe haven for all tenants. The development is not a day camp, play area or recreational facility, but rather an apartment complex providing a, supposed, comfortable, safe living space. Let the families and the children or teens join outside, public or private, recreational facilities, and not endanger the health and well-being of our 30,000 residents. Remove and replace Playground 11 with a community friendly, protected, safe and serene setting, not basketball courts for teens and criminals to liter around.

Stuart Levinson
Stuyvesant Town

Concerns about borough-based jails 

The following is a letter signed by 11 different community groups on September 25 raising concerns about borough-based jails creating a haven for ICE officers to ramp up enforcement efforts, giving them more opportunities to track or detain undocumented immigrants who are either incarcerated in these new jails, entering or exiting court appearances or visiting incarcerated friends or family members in these new jails. The letter was signed by Boroughs United, Inc.; Chinatown Core Block Association; Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association, HDFC; Christopher Marte, State Committeeman, 65th Assembly District; Coss Marte, founder ConBody; Lin Sing Association; Human Scale; Sylvia Hack; Queens Residents United; Neighbors United Below Canal and Walker Street Block Association.

Dear Speaker Johnson and members of the City Council,

We are writing with serious concerns regarding the safety of New York City’s immigrant population, particularly the undocumented immigrant community. Legal experts and immigration advocates have expressed fears that Mayor de Blasio’s new Borough Based Jails (BBJs), sited within our communities, particularly communities of color in Chinatown and Mott Haven, will provide ICE officers with even more opportunities to track or detain undocumented immigrants who are either incarcerated in these new jails, entering or exiting court appearances, or visiting incarcerated friends or family members in these new jails. The public areas touted by the City for visitors and the new technologies, such as facial recognition, and the sharing of data are just a few factors that need to be addressed before you vote on the BBJs plan.

The number of immigrants detained by ICE in jails throughout the New York City area more than doubled since Donald Trump became president. Obviously, this stems from the anti-immigrant tone set by the Trump Administration, which has empowered ICE to increase use of shameful tactics that include close surveillance of individuals who happen to be near sites associated with the criminal justice system, such as courts and jails, including here in Chinatown.

If additional jails are built within the boroughs, there is no doubt that ICE surveillance around these locations will increase accordingly, putting not only the well-being of undocumented New Yorkers at risk, but also the emotional security of other immigrants, as well as the incarcerated and their families.

The BBJs plan has not been well-thought out, since its inception, and there remains many questions and unintended consequences. Without clear plans and safeguards in place, any benefits associated with housing incarcerated New Yorkers closer to their families will be negated by the fact that any undocumented family members visiting them will be more likely to be tracked or detained by ICE officials. In a city that claims to pride itself on being a place of sanctuary for undocumented individuals, this is unacceptable.

Mayor de Blasio has not laid out a clear plan to explain how undocumented New Yorkers will be adequately protected from ICE surveillance and detention under his BBJs proposal. And as far as we know, the City Council has not yet formally addressed this issue. This is why the Council must pause, declare that it will not approve the mayor’s proposal to build new jails and demand answers about how it will not make it easier for ICE to track or detain undocumented immigrants in New York City, and negatively impact our general immigrant population. We look forward to your response.

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