Big Apple traffic congestion is a city-wide issue that has grown over time, impacting local businesses and commuters who travel by car. Consider the connection between reduction in traffic speed and its relationship to the corresponding loss in street capacity, which a recent report released by the New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg chose to ignore.
In New York City over the past 17 years, under Mayors Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio, hundreds of miles of traffic lanes have been eliminated. This was due to the dramatic increase in the introduction of bike lanes, street calming, and pedestrian plaza projects. Forcing buses to share less street space with cars, taxis, Uber, Lyft, UPS, FedEx, and with other delivery and commercial vehicles, along with municipal vehicles, has contributed to a decline in traffic speed for everyone in all five boroughs. It also resulted in increased conflicts with pedestrians. This is just like cholesterol build-up resulting in hardening of the arteries. All of this contributes to increased gridlock, pollution, and adverse impacts to local businesses who count on timely pick up and deliveries along with adequate parking for customers. Trying to travel around town by automobile is next to impossible.
I want to thank the organizers of the networking event last week; it was a very nice event and well organized. I would like to make one suggestion: Perhaps limit the speakers to about five minutes of talking. Many people did not go to hear a speaker and went to the back of the room and talked louder than the speaker. It was quite loud and you couldn’t hear the speaker; he seemed upset and many of the people in the room also seemed upset, and they felt the speech was too long and wanted to network and not hear speeches.
Up until now, I have believed that the best way to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 has been to focus on advocating for the federal government to do more to help the lower and middle classes with their economic and financial struggles to survive and to pay their bills. So, I have largely ignored his hateful, dumb, stupid, and ignorant remarks in which he demeans, degrades, insults, bullies, and disrespects all minority groups, women, and immigrants. I have done this partly because I have believed from day one that this has all been a big ACT, that he is a master manipulator and con-man who really doesn’t believe the ridiculous, idiotic, and moronic things that he says, and that he cleverly figured out that he could win the Presidency by pretending that he believes in what he thinks, that 51 percent of the American people believe in: hate. But his hate-talk has now become too dangerous. He is playing with fire. This big ACT and GAME have to stop.
I call on all of the good-hearted conservatives-Republicans in the USA who have a conscience to join Nikki Haley and to call out Trump and for all of the Republicans in Congress who have been silent about this evilness to also call out Trump on this hate talk. The people whom he has insulted and disrespected don’t deserve to hear any more of his brutality. He might have already damaged our country beyond repair.
Stewart B. Epstein
Last weekend, I journeyed to Ellenville to visit my brother and his family. My journey took two and a half hours on a non-air-conditioned bus. I couldn’t wait to get there! My brother and his wife bought a Yurt last year, wanting to be close to nature. A Yurt is like a giant igloo, made of wood with a sloping roof and skylight. When it rains, you really hear it coming down on the roof. We were all together in one big space, no real privacy. My brother and his wife built an outhouse and shower shed. They had someone dig a well to have running water. They arranged for electricity so they would have light and be able to cook.
A considerable amount of effort went into making the Yurt livable for five people. As I made my way to the outhouse and to the shower, I reflected on what it must have been like for our ancestors in the desert. True, they had no need for an outhouse or a laundry room. Whatever their actual living arrangements were, there were separate tents or huts, but no privacy for individuals within those huts. They did not have electricity or a pot belly stove to warm them, but they had the pillar of fire by night and the clouds by day to shield them from the elements. They had a traveling well that accompanied them on their journey. Still, it was a challenge to rely on Hashem to take care of them. They never knew how much time they would spend in any one place. There was no printed itinerary to alert them of their next destination.
I spent three days with my brother and it was quite an experience! I enjoyed davening outside, watching a spider walk near my shoes while I was saying Sh’moneh Esrei. As I sang Hallel on Friday, I heard a humming bird hovering nearby. I gained an appreciation for the creations of Hashem as I walked in the woods, seeing butterflies, frogs, and deer. There was peace and quiet, with no honking horns, sirens, or any of the normal sounds of civilization. I had no thoughts about my city life, other than surviving the long walks we took.
This experience gave me a small taste of what life might have been like for our ancestors in the desert.