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Neighbor to Neighbor: Be a volunteer: It’s good practice for you and us

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People are not always easy to understand, but we must keep trying.

Sitting across from me in the bus one day, I could not help but notice two young women having a very animated conversation. They were not speaking softly, drawing the additional attention of several riders beside myself. As they repeatedly opened their mouths to laugh, I noticed that each of them seemed to have something in the middle of her tongue. At first I thought it was some kind of a pill. I was wrong. Each tongue had been pierced, a post inserted and some kind of ornament affixed to the top. For someone who enjoys eating as much as I do, that scene came as a terrible shock. I had seen pierced ears, eyebrows, noses, lips, nipples, and navels, but to think of someone voluntarily having her tongue pierced seemed too outlandish for me to ponder, but, as the saying goes, “To each his own.”

As a concerned mother of a teen lamented to me that all these beautiful young people pay to have holes punched all over their bodies without considering the possibility of infection, the permanency of the hole when the fad has faded into history, or, unfortunately, even the risk of death for those with pierced tongues, should that post become dislodged and swallowed.

We both agreed that each generation seems to have had some kind of nuttiness, so as long as they don’t do any real harm to themselves or hurt anyone else, they can have their day to do their own things. Many of them are well on their way to maturing very nicely. Some of them, in fact, are very cooperative community volunteers. Parks 2001 has already reaped some of the benefits of such nice young folks. Others, (even some older, active community people who have, in the past, promised support of cleaning up the parks, adding major improvements, and, of course, keeping parks safe), are not willing to volunteer, nor are they willing to affix their John Hancock to any petition nor will they even give verbal public support. Why? Who knows? I don’t.

As I said, people are not always easy to understand. Since organizations are run by people, sometimes they, too, are had to understand.

As this is being written (well before publication), I am having a great deal of concern about our public transportation situation. At a meeting last night, one of my associates, who is active with a transit monitoring organization, told me that there is now a proposal to eliminate token booth attendants, and to make token sale machines inoperable by cash. The proposal is to require use of a credit card, which many people, including me, refuse to use. I was told there is also a proposal to eliminate conductors. All the campaigns in the world to get the commuters and other travelers to use public transportation will fail if unsafe conditions are allowed to exist there as they did some years ago. Please speak out or, preferably, write letters to let our city officials know your feelings about this and other important matters, including Parks 2001. Manhattan’s huge parks, and the larger outer-borough parks get the bulk of funding from the Department of Parks and Recreation, while parks in our own area, such as Brookville Park and Baisley Park, have only one employee to maintain the entire park, with, thankfully, help from any volunteers they can find. Park work can be very interesting, can be fun, and can provide excellent exercise while accomplishing-something positive for the environment and the community. We hope you’ll join some volunteer park group, or certainly be willing to sign a Parks 2001 petition. Living in a concrete box would be unthinkable to most of us. I know it would be to me. Trees, flowers and other plants not only clean the air, cool the temperature, and are pleasing to the eye, they feed one’s soul, and give us vision for our tomorrows.

Although I was not able to attend the last Community Board 13 meeting, I was told Susan Noreika and Eileen Rote both announced their retirement after long, hard service to the community. We thank them and add our prayers and good wishes for them and their families.

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