Letters to the Editor
The tram story! Kafkaesque? Surrealistic? Anyway, good story, showing me that you have been in many places and that life has an end.
I also managed to read your travel report to NY. It reminded me about our trip to NYC many years ago. I was about...? I don't know anymore, still a kid. We crossed the Brooklyn bridge and of course I didn't feel like a tourist, because my dad was from Brooklyn. I listened to your stories. We also went to the Statue of Liberty and you refused to climb up the stairs, because that was for tourists. We stayed in a shabby old brick building called hotel, where you got some airline discount. No floor 13, that's what I remember. I also remember an Irish bar with shavings on the floor. I think I had a beer. Maybe I wasn't a kid anymore. And of course we went to see the Mets. Who won the game? I don't remember. Anyway, I was wondering why so many people go to watch such a boring game (I was already under the influence of football(not American). We also went to some off-Broadway productions, but not to the Guggenheim. By the way, the architect was Frank Lloyd Wright and not Mr. Gehry.
Years later I came back to NY as a Student. The UN offered me an internship for two months. And believe it or not - I shared a flat with a fellow student from Germany in Washington Heights, West 181 Street. The Jewish side, only a highway separated our flat from the Hudson river. From our living room we could see the George Washington Bridge. In the evening the view was quite impressive. I spent several evenings in this living room - because of lack of money – in front of the tv with fried rice (my first experience with Chinese fast food from across the road) and beer (Budweiser from the Latino owned shop next door). On weekends I used to spend a few hours at a nearby playground, because of some nice benches, where I could read the newspaper, while Jewish and Latino kids were playing - not together but alongside each other. The best french toast you could get on 181 street and Broadway and a few buildings further east I bought my mattress.
Here I was also confronted with Nazi history. One day I met an old lady in the corridor of our house. She turned to me and said that she didn't want to be bothered by Germans anymore. While she said this, she showed me the Concentration Camp number on her arm. I wanted to tell her that she was telling this to the wrong person, because I was not German, but I didn't. Her apartment was below ours and we were obviously too loud. From that moment on I took off my shoes before entering our apartment.
Thanks for the Valdemar Setzer review of Richard Dawkins, among many other things over the years.
When you have something you think specially of interest to US/North American readers, let me know, I'll try to highlight it.
Editor, Publications, Anthroposophical Society in America
Please help me to understand why the word God is presented in your article as (G-d).
I'm not sure, but it may be because conservative Judaism does not allow the name of God to be written; or perhaps it's because it's written in Hebrew without the vowel. If some reader knows the answer - welcome. [Ed.]
Re: Only the Dead Know Brooklyn by Thomas Wolfe
Thanks for reprinting it. I thought it was somewhat longer, when I first read it as a teenager. The last line is beautiful. I read it as a dialogue between the adventurous searching self and the cautious philosophical self. And the final realization that our humanity is both.
Ross F. Grumet, M.D.
Re: Afghanistan - Obama's Waterloo?
"After writing the above, I watched Obama give his Nobel Prize speech in Stockholm."
Obama didn't visit Stockholm at all. The Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature etc. are given in Stockholm, but the Nobel Peace Prize is always given in Oslo, and that's where Obama gave this speech.
Thanks. Corrections are always welcome. [Ed.]