Letter From the Editor (Feb. 15, 2024 Edition)

By Christine Stoddard | cstoddard@queensledger.com

Dear readers,

As I am writing this, another snowstorm has hit New York City. We humans are still so vulnerable in the face of nature’s whims. In 8th grade, I remember being assigned an essay with the prompt “Does Mother Nature or mankind have the upper hand? Explain.” I could probably write a different essay to answer this question for every year of my life on this planet. With industrialization, transportation, and any number of other human activities, we ravage the earth. Yet humanity has so many weaknesses when it comes to natural disasters. We are constantly at the mercy of extreme temperatures and precipitation, shifting tectonic plates, and furious seas.

This thought occurred to me once again when I recently visited Floyd Bennett Field. As you will read in my column “Believe the Hype” this week, I needed to witness just how bad the conditions were at the park itself. I wasn’t thinking about recreation; I was thinking about the migrant family shelter, where about 2,000 parents and children are living in tents. My mind was on the rainstorm that attacked the park (and the rest of our region) back in January, but I also wondered about public transportation there. After all, when you are waiting for a bus, which is the only public transportation option in that far-off swath of South Brooklyn, you are exposed to the elements. Some bus stops might have a modest roofed shelter. This one does not. It is not a pleasant place to be when it is raining hard or there are strong gusts of wind. Now that there is snow coming down hard, I can only imagine how much more unpleasant the wait at that bus stop must be. When you are a new arrival to this country, fleeing immense poverty and violence, chances are good that you do not have a car waiting for you here. You take the bus and, in areas where it is possible, the subway.

This morning, on my way to the office, I trudged through the snow, across uncleared sidewalks and through an even less cleared park. I took the train, first the G, underground, where the interior walkways were slippery with ice and covered in puddles the closer I got to the tracks. Then I transferred to the 7, walking up wet steps and onto a train that wobbled on tracks aboveground. Today, at least, I felt that Mother Nature has the upper hand.

Yours in all things BK,

Christine Stoddard

Brooklyn Community Editor


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