To the Editor:
It is a very sad state of affairs for gay rights when gay
activists must resort to protesting the building of subway
entrances to very crowded stations ("PATH protest,"
June 14). These activists are being very shortsighted with
their "not in my backyard" protests.
September 11 was a very tragic day for many in the metro
region. Many people died in buildings that they could not get
out of. Now these so-called gay activists want to maintain a
situation where more people could die in unsafe subway
stations if a fire were to break out. Many of these same
so-called gay activists have somehow forgotten that the gay
members of the "bridge and tunnel crowd" have helped
to sustain Christopher Street and the Village area. Many of
these same so-called gay activists have somehow forgotten that
many gay people, among others, died on September 11. Are these
protests a tribute to their memory, or just evidence of the
gay activists' small-mindedness?
Many of these gay activists say that they wish to
"preserve" the neighborhood and its historic
buildings. Yet historic preservation was never about
"retaining" or continuing to use unsafe buildings or
structures, or to not fix unsafe conditions. Have any of these
so-called activists ever had to use a subway station where
there is only one exit, and that exit is crowded?
If a fire were to break out in one of those stations and
many people died, would those gay activists really be happy
that they saved the historic nature of the Village in the face
of so much death? Would those deaths be "worth it"?
A part of the Stonewall legacy was the freeing of gay
people from small, crowded firetrap bars. So as a result of
that legacy, gay activists today wish that commuters remain in
small, crowded firetrap subway stations, even if some of those
commuters are also gay. I am not sure that that is progress.
Some of the gay activists involved have invoked the image
of the "big bad Port Authority" against
"neighborhood folks," or that the Port Authority is
"disrespecting" the gay community, or similar
"us" versus "them" rhetoric. What is
really being discussed is the building of additional subway
entrances, because the current stations lack them. The
entrances would be very useful, because if a fire were to
break out in the stations, many people would die.
Gay activism in recent years has meant saving people's
lives, through a variety of responses to AIDS, campaigns for
gay rights, changes in laws and reducing discrimination.
The protests against the building of subway exits that
would provide emergency exits for commuters fleeing
fire-filled stations is one example of a sad state of affairs
for gay rights. One of the first gay rights is the right to
live, it is that simple.
New York City
New Jersey commuters contribute to NYC
To the Editor:
I realize that anything I have to say will automatically be
discounted by the GLBTQ "leaders" in the Village
because I am a New Jersey resident. It seems that they and
other leaders throughout New York City, gay and straight, like
to complain about New Jersey residents when it's convenient
for them, however they'll gladly take all the money we spend
and contribute to New York City businesses and charitable
If it weren't for the PATH stations that give GLBTQ New
Jersey residents access to the Village, there would be many
stores and bars doing a lot less business. We contribute to
the community and our needs for our safety should be
considered. I suggest that everyone who is opposing this plan
spend 10 minutes on the Christopher or 9th street stations
during rush hour.
Wall to wall people on the platforms and trains running in
both directions could lead to people being pushed onto the
tracks and injured if there was any panic on the platform. Try
it and then tell us you oppose new station entrances.
David S. Bimbi