A September Potpourri

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hurting businesses on second avenue; sept. 11; and rosh hashanah

by bette dewing

yup, a new york times review's claim that no one's sensibilities would be offended by eat pray love actually got me out to the movies. except for a few offending words, i left the theater with a glow which made east 86th street's maddening crowds seem almost friendly. do you ever miss the going-to-the-movie experience where your sensibilities weren't offended and earplugs and deep pockets weren't needed?

that glow faded on seeing subway construction fences crowding either side of 86th street on second avenue. i'd just read 14th congressional district republican candidate dino laverghetti's august 26th op-ed lament "small-businesses, the forgotten victims of second avenue."

he talks about how with too little government help, so many of the affected small businesses in the area have closed since 2007. laverhgetti warns, "as it moves southward, the construction acts like a virtual grim reaper, felling everything in its path."

infinitely more could and must be done to save small businesses that in a 20/20-visioned world would be landmarked.

meanwhile, the home depot invasion has felled 60-plus-year-old thalco's hardware store on second near 76th street, where this three-generation family business was headed by jerry cotler, who also owns the building. cotler can't help being rueful,

"too many who now say how much they'll miss us shopped a lot at home depot," he said.

you know what we have to do to save our walking distance "everyday need-providers." their owners must organize and protest! big time! the good news is jerry will move to florida where his closest relatives live. but, it's more bad news for neighborhood survival.

families of origin are the forgotten people in the eat pray love heroine's desperate search for post-divorce meaning. but that's always been entertainment's sin of omission, though a "fair and balanced" representation could not be more just, or more needed.

dr. martin j. zion surely tried when he was rabbi of temple of israel of the city of new york. this excerpt is from his aug. 10, 1980, homily, aired in this paper:

"our fixation with personal autonomy has been psychologically devastating. the old, in their search for independence, end up alone. the young, isolating themselves from the old, in their yearning for freedom, end up confused, bewildered and depressed by problems which could have been handled so much better if aided by the older generation's experience.''

amen! blame all manner of social engineers; especially entertainment's powerful pushing of potentially disabling generational divides.

rabbi zion lost his son on september 11 and, as we near that date, my thoughts are especially with the mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings of those innocents whose lives were so brutally, sinfully, wickedly taken, especially those mourners with too little emotional support. doubly wounded are those with little contact with their lost loved one's children when the surviving parent remarries or moves away, either geographically or emotionally.

mayor bloomberg, himself a father, surely got this right: "children who lose their parents are called orphans, bereaved spouses are called widows or widowers, but there is no name for those who lose a son or daughter, because this loss is a loss beyond words."

and let grandparents day (september 12) not be one day of remembering in a year of forgetting. and never forget how human survival so greatly relates to rabbi zion's impassioned belief, including the fordham u study urging families to stay closely connected with off-to-college freshman boys, who keep their homesickness and other woes too much to themselves. so do men, in general. beware of alcohol solace.

rosh hashanah blessings to all!

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