April 26, 2004

Line of Credit
Congratulations on being the first New York news outlet to comprehensively report that the Second Avenue subway has made tremendous strides toward becoming a reality in recent years, especially at the federal level [“The Line That Time Forgot,” by Greg Sargent, April 5]. I am proud to have spearheaded efforts for the project in the House of Representatives, successfully lobbying to have it included in the transportation funding bill that recently passed the House. With billions of dollars in federal aid at stake and 500,000 future riders anticipated per day, there is no project more important for New York’s economy and transit system than the Second Avenue subway. The article did a great job revealing where the project stands and what needs to be done to make it New York’s dream come true.
—Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan

Ferry Lands
The idea of building more subways in the age of terrorism is proof that our civic leaders have lost common sense. One terrorist attack on a subway, and all stations will be abandoned in favor of surface transportation, where there is at least a chance of escaping alive. Instead of being earmarked for a Second Avenue folly, the $17 billion should be diverted to building East River ferry terminals at 96th, 86th, 72nd, 59th, and south at the major cross streets. It’s safer than being in a tin can underground.
—Claire L. Frankel, Manhattan

Token Esteem
Tears came to my eyes when I saw the April 5 cover. In the seventies, my late husband, Ken Alvord, was an Emmy Award–winning reporter for WNBC-TV. He filed many stories about the need for the subway line and the real-estate boom this essential train would create. Now, 30 years later, I like to think his efforts are being recognized and acted upon.
—Lynn Flaster-Alvord,, Westport, Conn.

Adult Errors
Sean Elder exposes a common problem that many of us sex therapists see in our practices [“Why My Wife Won’t Sleep With Me,” April 5], and one that many dependent females also share. However, there are two omissions that deserve mention in his description of marital discord. The first is anger. Whenever couples separate in the bedroom, long-suppressed anger tends to surface, and it’s vital it doesn’t simmer, because it has a devious way of becoming permanent. The second is infidelity. In a committed relationship, there is no place for dishonest activity, which always leads to destruction.
—Don Sloan, Manhattan

Sex Lies
Sean Elder confirms an old adage, which I paraphrase: The three most overrated things in life are marital sex, home cooking, and book clubs. A man who frets about not being deep into his wife should be deep in therapy—along with his uninterested spouse.
—Les Dreyer, Manhattan

Elder Care
It is hard to feel sorry for Sean Elder. It is, after all, how I imagine women felt when their husbands came home from a tough day at work before the age of feminism put as many women behind desks as men. The advice of the time was to dress a little sexier, put on a smile, and maybe be a little more artful in the method of seduction. It seems that this advice was as good then as it is today, and certainly appropriate in Mr. Elder’s case.
—Michael Luders, Stamford, Conn.

Risk Factor
Vanessa Grigoriadis’s article on suicide clusters is sadly correct [“Cityside: A Dying Trend,” April 5]. I applaud her for bringing this terrible problem to the public’s attention. Teenagers seem to be more at risk than in previous generations, and the more information out there, the more hope there is that parents and caregivers will become aware.
—Bonnie Lewis, Glendale, Wis.

Trend fretters
As New York University students, we were appalled by Vanessa Grigoriadis’s article about “suicide trends” at NYU. Statistically, four deaths are not enough to make anything a trend. While the Werther suicides were precise imitations based on a common source, thus qualifying as a trend, the NYU suicides clearly differ in their individual details and cannot be linked. To declare the recent deaths part of a fad will only project this “trend” into impressionable minds.
—Suzanne Budesa and Neha Bhalani, Manhattan

egad! i threw the april 5 crossword [“Do-It-Yourself Puzzle,” by Maura B. Jacobson] on the floor. Unnumbered squares, numbered squares, no black squares! What is the crossword coming to? I understand the need for cerebral exercise, but that puzzle was guaranteed to make one feel illiterate. Ease up, please!
—Sharon Yusba Steinberg, Bloomfield, Conn.

Cryptic Keeper
While others may have complained about the April 5 crossword, I found it to be ingenious, creative, and fun. Pay no heed to those not willing or able to accept a new challenge.
—Harold M. Goldman, East Meadow, N.Y.

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April 26, 2004