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The Brooklyn Paper

To the editor,

I was hesitant to write you, but after reading your two weeks of coverage of the alleged labor abuses at Park Slope restaurants (“Labor pains,” Nov. 27 and “Alien nation,” Dec. 4) I really need to get this off my chest.

I used to work at Olive Vine Cafe for seven years as a pizza man. I made pizzas and helped at the salad bar. I used to work between 72 and 80 hours a week and my weekly salary was $400.

We were not allowed to drink sodas or eat anything from the restaurant — in fact, we had to buy our own food, and God forbid the boss (Zaid Demis) saw us eating for more than 20 minutes.

Now, he is complaining that he doesn’t have $200,000 to pay. Well, ask him this: how about he sells his Mercedes S500 or his house or pay from the money he received for selling the restaurant on 15th Street.

I remember once, I asked him for three days off because I was extremely sick, and my daughter was sick, too. He said OK, but also said that I would not get paid for that week. So because I was afraid I might not have enough money for the month, I went to work very sick.

I would love to reveal my identity, but I know what he will do to me or my kids if he knew who it was.

Former Olive Vine worker

Feel the noise

To the editor,

Stephen Lippman rightly complains about the noise made by Fresh Direct trucks (“‘Direct’ rage,” letters, Nov. 13). That noise is made by the compressor just above the roof of the cab.

But the real problem is not that all Fresh Direct trucks are noisy; it is that only some of them are. Many times I have not even noticed that one of their trucks had be delivering to a neighboring building until I see it drive away. Others, however, I can hear in the back of my apartment, a hundred feet away from the street, even with all our the windows closed.

What accounts for this? Some of their drivers run the compressor on its highest speed. The others realize that this is completely unnecessary. My wife or I have communicated with Fresh Direct going back at least three years. We have been assured that the drivers will be retrained. We have also been told that a new model of compressor will be installed on all their trucks.

We are still waiting.

David Hawkins, Park Slope

Protectionism

To the editor,

Roy Sloane and his colleagues at the Cobble Hill Association are to be lauded for their efforts to preserve the architectural heritage of their neighborhood (“Neighbors will be Jonesing for Norah’s windows,” Dec. 4).

But their opposition to a homeowner inserting windows into a blank side wall in a mid-block rowhouse is a case of overly literal historic preservationism. The fact is that this wall was never intended to be exposed at all, since it was expected that an adjacent structure would have covered it up at some point (or did once). It’s only by happenstance that it is visible now, and from an urban design perspective, its blankness is an aesthetic shortcoming rather than a positive contribution to the beauty of the streetscape.

If there are any doubts that the original architect or builder of the Jones structure would have inserted windows and other features themselves had they known of the structure’s future condition, one need only look at the side walls of the vast majority of rowhouses located at the end of a brownstone block. One will find not only numerous instances of standard fenestration, but boldly projecting bay windows and other elements that connect inside and out as well.Donald Rattner,

Brooklyn Heights

He told us so

To the editor,

In reference to last week’s story, “Still-new condo under the knife” (Dec. 4), there should be no surprises here. Once again, with all my love to my new neighbors in new condos built in the past five years, I have to say again: I told you so.

Shoddy construction on a “green” building due to a rush to compete within the market has led to another mess, just like so many other new developments. And it’s only two years old. God help all of us, new owners included, to what affect these defective and decaying structures will bring to the neighborhoods in 10 years!

And if this is any indication as to what can happen in just two years (on what was supposedly touted as a responsible development), I can’t wait to see what happens on any of the monsters on Fourth Avenue, on 15th and 16th street and with the 11 buildings on the 614 Seventh Ave. site, all of which use the same Parex material cited in your story.

As a community activist, I sadly feel vindicated. As the chair of the Community Board 7 Buildings and Construction committee, I humbly look forward of working with our new neighbors when (not if) they come to the board for advocacy as their buildings crumble.

It’s a sad day in Mudville and a sad day in Brooklyn.Aaron Brashear,

Greenwood Heights

The writer was recently named the “mayor” of Greenwood Heights by The Brooklyn Paper.

30 more years!

To the editor,

Congratulations on your 30th anniversary (“Special anniversary issue,” Nov. 20). It was a great trip down memory lane of your proud history.

While daily papers concentrate on international, national, statewide, business and sports news, weekly newspapers such as our own Brooklyn Paper fill the void for coverage of local community news.

Newspapers have to deal with increasing costs for newsprint, delivery and distribution along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership, but we continue to be fortunate to live in one of the few remaining free societies with a wealth of information sources available.

There continues to be an ongoing circulation battles between a number of daily newspapers including the Times, Daily News and Post. They face competition from other daily newspapers who have a strong presence in their own communities such as Newsday, the Staten Island Advance, the Journal News in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Dutchess counties, and the Star Ledger in New Jersey.

There are also national editions of USA Today and the Wall Street Journal along with freebies such as AM New York and Metro New York. More people turn to all-news radio, national network news such as ABC, CBS, NBC along with their local affiliates, News 1, FOX-5, WOR-9, WPIX-11 and PBS, cable new stations such as CNBC, CNN, FOX, BBC and the Internet for late-braking news which can sometimes become stale by the time it reaches print the next day.

A growing population of new immigrants support their own newspapers, and radio and television stations. And don’t forget weekly papers such as the Village Voice, New York Press and New York Observer.

In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone, including The Brooklyn Paper. All fill a valuable niche on the information highway.

Larry Penner, Great Neck, L.I.

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Reader Feedback

Todd from Cobble Hill says:
Re: Fresh Direct Trucks

When I contacted them, about nine months ago, about their extremely loud compressors they wrote back that there was really nothing that they could do. Which seems to have been a misleading response based on the letter titled "Feel the Noise".

Hopefully they are educating the drivers and upgrading the compressors.
Dec. 10, 2009, Noon

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