February 14, 2005

Safety in Numbers
John Colapinto’s “The Harvey Milk School Has No Right to Exist. Discuss” [February 7] missed the point. While our detractors stand on the sidelines, filing lawsuits and engaging in solipsistic hand-wringing about the constitutionality of our existence, we are providing some of the city’s most marginalized and underserved youth with an education and, in many cases, hot meals, counseling, and referrals to homeless shelters and medical care. We’ll continue to ensure their access to the same opportunities that other young people take for granted as the most basic of rights.
—David Mensah, Executive Director, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Manhattan

MTA’s Nip, Tuck
While reading your story on the C-train mess [“Cityside: Who Failed the C Train?” by Chris Smith, February 7] and the sad condition of the MTA, I noticed that the cost of installing the state-of-the-art signal system known as CBTC (Communications-Based Train Control) is $288 million per line. I couldn’t help but think that the $300 million Mayor Bloomberg wants to give to the Jets for their new stadium would pay for one of those systems—with a couple of bucks left over.
—Peter Larkin, Bayside

Art of the Steal
Good for David Kirchner [“How Far Would You Go for a Piece of Real Estate?” by Robert Kolker, February 7]! He’s got himself a million-dollar property and all the headaches involved with it, but I have to think I’m not the only reader who came away wondering why some people admit to some pretty serious crimes in order to trumpet their so-called good fortune. Kirchner fesses up to breaking and entering, and the federal offense of tampering with the mail! Maybe he’s hoping U.S. Postal Service employees don’t read New York. He should have sat in his Fifth Avenue find and kept his mouth shut.
—Brad Trent, Manhattan

Rx for an Ideal World
I enjoyed Denise Penny’s “One Seriously Stressful Day” [“Urban Detox Special,” January 24–31], which charted hypothetical stress-inducing situations and ways to resolve them. However, in one scenario, Penny refers to an office assistant as female. In another scenario, she refers to one’s boss as male. I just want to gently remind Penny that one’s assistant can be male and one’s superior can be female. It’s when we remember things like this that we begin to break through those gender stereotypes.
—Robby Friedberg, Manhattan

I found Dr. Robert Levy a little too blasé about recommending “off-label” prescriptions in Sarah Bernard’s “Chill Pills” [“Urban Detox Special,” January 24–31]. My 91-year-old mother-in-law was given Seroquel in a nursing home to help her sleep better and curb her inappropriate behavior (she has dementia). Seroquel was not made for this purpose. She had a manic reaction—as is listed in the side effects—to such a strong degree that she had to be transferred to a hospital. If medications are prescribed off-label, is the manufacturer accountable, or is the doctor who experimented at the expense of the patient’s well-being?
—Jeanette Bersh, Dix Hills, N.Y.

Bad Wrap
Though an avid art follower and someone who has been enamored with Christo’s work since the sixties, I was nevertheless disturbed to read that miles and miles of The Gates are to be installed in Central Park [“The Passion of the Christos,” by Adam Sternbergh, January 24–31]. I used be enthralled with his projects—until one of his umbrellas in California killed someone. This newest conceit is not unlike Daniel Libeskind’s horrendous, overdesigned Freedom Tower: an egocentric maneuver.
—Elizabeth Enfield, Rockport, Mass. Illicit Cameo
The ban on photography in the subway is ridiculous [“Last-Chance Photo Op,” January 24–31]. If the powers that be think that’s going to curtail terrorism, they’re more clueless than I’d feared.
—Bob Fingerman, Manhattan

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February 14, 2005