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Interests: I'm active in many things: history, politics, writing, art, architecture, religion. Last year, I even tried math!
Expertise: Writing, painting, history, journalism
Occupation: Student, writer, artist, activ
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That extra step
There must a good reason why it's there. Maybe to prevent flooding. Seems redundant to me.
The Street Where I lived:
Saunders Street in Rego Park
My family arrived in America in 1992, and our first apartment was on 63rd Avenue and Queens Boulevard. Behind my home was Sauders Street, which stretches seven blocks from Eliot Avenue to 67th Avenue, entirely within Rego Park. Its architecture ranges from Spanish Mission to Fedders Special.
The Jupiter Court Apartments are a perfect candidate for landmarking. This rare Spanish Mission-style building is located on Saunders Street and 62 Avenue. Behind it, an apartment building contains a symbolic corner tower, also a potntial landmarking candidate. 62 Avenue was once named after the planet, before being given a boring number.
Marion Court Apartments were named after Marion Avenue, which was later numbered 63 Avenue. Upon crossing Queens Boulevard, 63 Avenue becomes 62 Drive. The mapmakers really goofed on this one! This apartment building was built in 1929, and has rooftop sheds that were once open to residents, proving excellent city views.
The next block contains 1920s single-family homes. this breed of homes starred in All in the Family. Since then, some of these homes lost their lawns (front), others had ugly nose jobs (second to the right). A few remain in their original condition (middle). Kudos to the owner of the home in the middle.
The apartments on Saunders Street and 64th Road were built around 1994. This was before Fedders made the bright decision to affix its name on its products in big letters. The ACs below these windows do not ave a brand name listed.
A 1970s piece of crap stands between 65th and 66th Roads. On both of its sides are apartments from the 1950s, which have no architectural decorations on their exteriors.
A piece of Fedders crap from the new milennium surrounded by 1980s crap houses.
Waste of Space
Behind many of these apartmentbuildings are concrete backyards, usually used to store trash. Wouldn't these spaces look better as pocket parks or community gardens?
A redeeming Quality
If there is any redeeming qulity to Saunders Street, it must be its last, easternmost block, which resembles Forest Hills Gardens. The Tudor-bethan home on the corner serves as a Shtiebel. This is a Yiddish term denoting a mini-synagogue within a house or storefront.
A block away from Sauders street is the non-ladmarked Trylon, the last single-movie theater in Queens, now used as a Bukharian-Jewish synagogue Ohr Natan.
If you care to see the interior of the Trylon Synagogue, it still shows movies once in a while. This month's special is "Arranged," a movie that compares the lives of Orthodox Jewish and religious Muslim wives. Give peace a chance! The movie will be on December 29th. This event is for women only.
Chabad in Uniform
That is, military uniform. Critics of Chabad often point to its history of evading the Russian and Soviet drafts. If you were a religious Jew, would you join such an army? If you were looking forward to intimidation, humilitation, forced beard shaving, and sometimes forced converison, then yes.
In Israel, the stereotype of hasidim as draft-dodgers remains difficult to shake off. With many hasidim openly opposed to Zionism, the stereotype has some truth in it. Chabad stood apart. In the crucial formative years of the Zionist state, some Chabadniks traded their black hats for steel helmets. Their rebbe, Menachem Mendel Shneerson zt''l openly prayed for Israel's victory against the Arab invaders.
When there was no combat, they fought on the spiritual front, laying
tefilin on their less-observant comrades, strengthening the Jewish
identity of the nascent Jewish state.
Source: "Challenge: An Encounter with Lubavitch-Chabad in Israel"(1973)
My own Mid-East Security* Plan
*to call it a peace plan would be a lie. let's be honest, there will never be true peace anywhere. someone will always be upset with what they get.
A year ago, NY Post op-ed columnist Ralph Peters proposed redrawing the borders of Middle Eastern countries along ethnic and religious lines as a solution to decades-long border disputes and as a way of ending the Iraq War. here's his map:
Peters explained his map in the June 2006 edition
of the Armed Forces Journal. Personally, I view his map as being vindictive against America's allies, including Pakistan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Not only does he take away areas from them that are separatist, but he also awards the separatist peoples additional lands.
- Peters gives the Kurds access to the Black Sea coat, where few Kurds live or have historical claims.
- Peters forces the Syrians, Iranians, and Saudis to give up their coastlines, forcing them into isolation.
- Peters also forces Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria, and abandon the West Bank, which would be suicidal for Israel's security.
- He then further humiliates the Saudis by having Jordan and Yemen bite off some border areas from them.
- He even gives them a stinky acronyms: Saudi Homelands Independent Territories, and an Arab Shia State. What was he thinking!?
Such a proposal would make the losers vengeful and provoke a future war. This is what happened to Germany after the First World War. In contrast, here's my proposal, which hopefully is more realistic!
In the end, however, a Balkan-type solution of having a state for every ethnic group is not perfect. There will always be a few Serbs living in Croatia, and a few Croats living in Serbia. There will be some people who have a mixed Turkish-Kurdish background. Tolerance for minorities and democracy must always be the solid foundation for any state.
- The Turks, Iranians, Syrians, and Saudis can keep their vital coastlines, provided that they become more democratic.
- Israel will keep its occupied territories, and get a piece of the sparsely-populated Sinai (which was part of ancient Israel, and forcefully evacuated in 1982) The Palestinians will either accept this or be absorbed as citizens of neighboring lands.
- Peters talks about giving justice to groups that have been demanding independence for decades, which is why my map also includes a free Tibet, and Abkhazia (which successfully won independence in 1994, but is not recognized by any country)
- Mount Ararat, a historic symbol for Armenia and Turkey will be split up, both countries will share the peak. the mountain itself should be demilitarized, and reserved as a peace symbol and nature preserve.
- The Afghan border with Pakistan also looks problematic, and may need a heavily-patrolled demilitarized zone to keep the peace. The Israeli-Syrian, Turkish-Kurdish, and Sunni-Shia Iraqi borders will also be heavily monitored.
Now where's my Nobel Prize?
There goes my Sticker
Some drivers personalize their cars with rims, spoilers, and enhanced audio equipment. I do not care for such silly and costly modifications. Instead, I personalize my car with political bumper stickers.
For the past two years, the "Ha Am Im Gush Katif" sticker let any driver [who can read Hebrew] know that this driver supports the settlers, even though he is safely living in America. Even after Gush Katif was wiped off the maps, the sticker stayed on as an anachronism. A sign of a lost struggle.
I can only imagine the other drivers thinking, "this guy's hopeless" or "here's a lost cause." In a way, the sticker was a symbol of self-deprecation. I knew the battle was lost, but I kept the sticker anyway. Two years of new York's dramatic weather did the sticker in.
If the 2005 Gaza withdrawal taught me anything, it's that protests were useless. 250,000 people protested, and it didn't do jack! The current prime minister of Israel is proposing on re-dividing Jerusalem next month. I'm not even gonna bother protesting anymore.
At this point, the most effective methods are either physically blocking the expulsion or sending money for electoral campaigns and court battles against expulsions. Here in the US, few people go out to protest in the streets. Any group with a view has a lobbyist and lawyer as representatives. The former tries to persuade elected officials to see things its way, while the latter tries do do the same in the courts. And it works.
As for the bumper sticker, expect a new sticker in the near future. If you recommend any causes, let me know.