Pet Causes

Written by Bette Dewing on . Posted in Dewing Things Better, Opinion and Column, Opinion Our Town, Opinion West Side Spirit, Our Town, West Side Spirit.


Seniors, animals, Alzheimer’s and the mayor’s lofty plans

Still hoping clergy who blessed the animals on St. Francis of Assisi’s birthday will pick up on the following little poem of mine. Set it to music; it has a lot to do with love.

Why can’t a people (sic) be more like a dog or cat?

They don’t care how old, pretty or witty you are,

They’re always there for you

Why can’t a people (sic) be more like that?
Add a verse about the need to overcome age apartheid. Old people, who especially need these animal friends, should be able to have them.

Music has power … and Glen Campbell’s concert at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 13, which will show how he and his band perform as brilliantly as ever despite Campbell’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, needs utmost support. So does pushing for “sing-along” places, so that this therapy to treat and prevent the disorder is widely prescribed and provided. Check out Charles Gourgey’s Music is Hope website.

And now the strongest of words, music and deeds are needed to save the city from the mayor’s proposed Midtown zoning change to permit a veritable jungle of huge new office towers to replace many grand old human-scaled buildings like the Commodore Hotel. All for corporate business—you know, with no thought for the city’s livability level or still incomparable skyline. Concerned preservation and civic groups and elected officials like Councilman Dan Garodnick need massive support. Garodnick warns about “the impact of thousands of new office workers … with implications for transportation, sanitation and public safety.”

Distinguished writer, playwright, lyricist, native New Yorker and longtime friend Sherman Yellen urges young people to also beat this drum “to save this city from this horrific cultural vandalism. The old stepped-back skyscrapers are as much a part of our heritage as the leaning tower is to Pisa. And taking the sky away from our 1930s skyscrapers is an insult to this great architecture, which requires the sky and cloud setting to show off its beauty.” These and Yellen’s other concerns with the obvious overcrowding and stress effects, deserve major attention—and a song!

On a smaller scale, but significantly altering a neighborhood landscape and public walking conditions, are the controversial designs for the replacement of the deteriorating stairs at East 81st Street and the East River walkway. The American Disabilities Act requiring wheelchair access means a more elevated two-block-long ramp with 8-foot-high side fencing. Numerous Community Board 8 members and some aware neighborhood residents find this design too conspicuous and “industrial.” They believe cyclists must be required to walk their bikes to protect pedestrians. Surveillance cameras are also requested for a walkway more hidden from public view and without an “emergency exit.”
The ramp replacing the aesthetically pleasing, wide concrete steps connecting the John Finley walk and the East 81st Street cul de sac will wind further into the area where 33 East End’s front entrance and 45 East End’s service entrance are located. How will this, and also the year and a half construction operation, affect these neighbors?
The East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, a key player in saving the City & Suburban Homes complex, explores all this at the Thursday, Oct. 11, public meeting starting at 6 p.m. in the City University building at 80th and East End.

I’m all for doing a Paul Revere, going around the nabe singing that old ballad reminder, “You know your happiness lies right under your eyes, right in your own backyard.” And adding, “Your unhappiness too, if you don’t demand the most visually pleasing and safest design possible!”
dewingbetter@aol.com

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