Letters to the Editor, The Soapbox, Cartoon, December 26

When the Police Academy was a school

Re: “Push for new school at Police Academy,” T&V, Dec. 12

Guess what, previous to Police Academy that spot on 20th Street was PS 50. Half (eastern part) was the red-bricked school, the western part an outdoor playground.

How do I know? I attended the school in the early ‘50s. Yes, my kindergarten teacher was Miss Hatch, first grade Miss Richter, second grade Miss Schaefer. And I still have my report cards to prove it! Then the school closed and all the kids were transferred to PS 40, where I continued on till JHS 104. Also, I think PS 50 ran through the block and the 13th Precinct also once was the school. The original 13th Precinct was on 22nd Street near First Avenue, in a station house up a few steps. I was a member of the PAL there, cop “Bob” was our mentor. Fond memories

Sidney Schneck, ST


What do the bondholders say?

 To the Editor:

In October 2012, the Tenants Association announced, with great fanfare and press releases, that it was taking our case “directly to the bondholders” – and “cutting out the middleman” – in order that we could gain control of our destiny.

Now, the time has come for the TA to report to us – fully and honestly – how the bondholders responded, when the TA put our case directly to them. Or, the TA leadership should observe fair and reasonable term limits of two years each, and step aside.

Yours sincerely,

Name Withheld, ST


The dangers of smoking

Dear T&V,

Michael Phillips’ review of the movie “Parkland” was as hilarious as anything I’ve ever read in your newspaper. Also his explanation that one of the reasons the film received an MPAA rating of PG-13, because people were “smoking throughout” the film shows how silly our culture has become.


Richard Luksin, Minneapolis, MN


The Soapbox: Why Steve Jobs died

By David Chowes

Well, you think that the answer is cancer – and you’re right. Steve Jobs was perhaps the first true genius of the 21st century – but he was a complicated man. During his counterculture days, he was steeped in mystical thinking: took LSD, was heavily into Indian religious paradigms…

Of course, later he made a lasting contribution in technology and became another Einstein in another area and revolutionized the world. But, his earlier foray persisted. When was diagnosed with cancer, standard medical procedures gave him about a 95 percent probability of remission. But…

He chose alternative treatments instead and this decision most likely caused him his life. That Jobs chose the course he did is curious, because to create the technology he did, he must have been aware of the scientific method.

What is “alternative medicine” which seems so popular among the pseudo-sophisticates? It consists of methods which have not been ever been tested via methodologically sound procedures. They may have efficacy or not or be dangerous. “Natural” is no assurance of safety – remember that arsenic is natural.

Once I went to a woman’s home and saw many small bottles with strange names. I picked up one and asked her what this product does. She replied, “Oh, I don’t know. My friend who is very smart said it’s good.” I further queried, “For what?” She repeated, “My friend is very smart.”

Both had been graduated from college and had taken science courses. But, scientific courses, in the main, teach facts rather than what the scientific method is about – and, how important it is. From janitor to CEO, few realize how crucial this method is.

Alternative medications can be or seem to be effective. But they have not been studied and no one knows. If one person takes a nutrient or other tablet and a headache goes away, they may believe that there was a cause and effect relationship between the treatment and the headache going away. And, they tell friends that this “wonder pill” works. It then goes viral… but most maladies eventually go away without intervention; or, it could be a result of the placebo effect. That is why FDA approval assures (to some extent) that treatments are safe and effective.

Then there are the radio and TV hucksters who make a fortune using a naïve public. Well, the brilliant Steve Jobs succumbed to the myth of alternative treatments. According to Walter Isaacson, the biographer of Steve Jobs, near the end, Jobs realized the great mistake he made that most likely cost him his life.

How many people in PCV/ST are using snake oil treatments rather than physician-prescribed ones and put ting their lives in peril?

Peter Cooper Village resident David Chowes taught psychology, statistics and research design at Baruch College/CUNY and other universities for 25 years.

 Dec26 Toon NSA

Push for new school at Police Academy

Police Academy building on East 20th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Police Academy building on East 20th Street (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Neighborhood residents are renewing the push to have the Police Academy building on East 20th Street converted into a school. Community Board 6 passed a resolution in 2008 from the Youth and Education Committee proposing the change and board members are again urging the city to revisit the issue because the academy will be leaving the space soon.

The 2008 resolution noted that the building, located at 235 East 20th Street, would be ideal for a school because it already contains classroom space, an auditorium and a gymnasium and there is a need in the neighborhood for more public school seats.

The board’s Land Use and Waterfront committee discussed the possible conversion in a meeting last Wednesday evening, bringing the issue up again because the police academy is expected to move to Queens by the end of next year, vacating the space on East 20th Street.

Residents at the meeting said they wanted to discuss the possibility of a public school not only because the city needs the seats for students but also to prevent the land from being sold to private developers for luxury high-rises.

“(The NYPD) needs to transfer the property to the Department of Education,” CB6 Vice Chair Ellen Imbimbo said. “So many properties have been sold out from under us with little or no notice with no opportunity to recast the transaction.”

A neighborhood resident suggested that a Department of Education official tour the facility to assess the feasibility of such a project and most at the meeting agreed that action needed to be taken because the DOE has not yet commented on whether or not the building could become a public school.

The committee will be drafting a letter to send to the DOE but the issue will not be reviewed by Community Board 6 again until the next full board meeting in January.

“It would make a wonderful high school or intermediate school,” resident Jim Collins said of the facility. “Yes, it’s beat up, but the cost of cleaning this space up is relatively de minimis compared to building a new school.”