Vol. 15, No. 14           July 18 - 31, 2002



Two Perspectives on Tower Tiff

Dear Editor:

The debate over the WFUV radio tower is not a controversy which divides the citizens of New York into two distinct camps. Many who enjoy the simple pleasures of the green space provided within the New York Botanical Garden happen to be supporting members of Fordham University's radio station. Bronxites are joined by the rest of the club of New Yorkers who appreciate a natural haven such as the Garden and value commercial-free public radio, as we have at WFUV.

I for one, belong to neither group of people which a recent New York Times article makes reference to. Instead, I am one of the many Bronx residents who attended the hearing, giving voice to neighborhood sentiments. Alongside of me were seated some of my neighbors from Bedford Park, Riverdale and Kingsbridge Heights, all grassroots people who have made the Bronx their home through community involvement and hard work.

The issue for us is clear: we need to protect our borough's greenspaces, for they are among our most treasured resources. The survival of WFUV does not depend on its radio tower's present location. Bronxites expressed a willingness to help in finding an industrial area which would satistify not only the technical needs of WFUV, but that would also be environmentally correct, a location where the mechanically fashioned radio tower can find a happy home while not being out of place such as it is now, grotesquely nestled within the natural vistas of the Garden. We want a solution in which everyone wins.
Ibrahim Gonzalez

Dear Editor:

Many of us lived through the days when the Bronx was burning, a time when many institutions closed their doors and moved away. Over the years, concerted effort by community residents stopped the coming waves of arson and abandonment and began to turn things around. Today, the Bronx needs and deserves a wide variety of cultural, commercial and educational institutions. Our neighborhoods need and deserve the very best that can be offered. The zoo, the Botanical Garden and Fordham University all stayed through the toughest times the Bronx has ever seen. For two of these institutions to fight over a public good now is unacceptable at best and insulting at worst.

I have lived and worked in the Bronx my entire life. My husband and I have owned a home in Bedford Park for over 20 years. Our daughters attended NYC public schools.

Since childhood, I have regularly visited and enjoyed both the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Garden -- two world-class cultural institutions right in my own backyard. I am currently a member of both. I am also a regular listener of public radio.

It appears that there are two possible outcomes for the radio tower issue. With one outcome, the Bronx wins; with the other, we lose.

If the Garden prevails and the tower is toppled, WFUV has to consider closing up shop. The outcome? The Garden wins and the community loses because we lose an important public radio station for the metropolitan area.

And what is the outcome if the tower is completed? We have WFUV and we have a beautiful Garden. No one has to or will close up and go away. FUV stays, the Garden stays and the community wins.

The Garden's argument over the aesthetics of the skyline does not serve the needs of our neighborhoods. Twenty-five years ago we were in danger of having no landscape or skyline at all. We are grateful for today's vibrant, ever-changing urban Bronx skyline with its ups and downs, highs and lows, overhead wires, traffic lights, 40-story buildings, parks, pavement, hills and valleys, and all the one- to four-family homes interspersed among five- and six-story apartment buildings. The tower does no harm to the landscape. In fact, it's part of our landscape now.

We Bronx residents need the tower finished. We need to keep the radio station. And we need to smell the roses.
Lois Harr

Problems With Subway Escalator

Dear Editor:

The situation at the 205th Street subway station is absolutely disgraceful! We were without an escalator for most of last year while the escalator was replaced. Now we have the new escalator, and we are worse off than before. The new escalator is out of service at least one day a week, and often for days at a time.

It's bad enough that the station is filthy, but we older users of the station have a rough time climbing all those stairs when there is no working escalator. I would like to know what, if anything, the MTA is doing about our problem.

Eva Yachnes

Parents Key to School Success

Dear Editor:

I read Jules Rubenstein's Inquiring Photographer column in your June 20 - July 17 issue which asked residents what Mayor Bloomberg's education priorities should be. Absolutely no one mentioned the role of parents in their children's education! It shows how we think as a society, chiefly in terms of money and numbers.

Mayoral control of the school system is a good start, but until parents once again take the responsibility for their children's upbringing, not much will change. That responsibility includes knowing what their kids are doing after school, and seeing that homework gets done (even doing the homework together). Parents need to connect with their children, and learn along with them. And parents must teach their kids to respect their teachers and their authority.

Paul Birnbaum

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