Train Has Left the Station
little more can be added to why Amtrak no longer goes to Albany
[“Questions That Bother Us So,” June 27]. In the late ’60s,
I was a relatively new employee of what was then called the
state Department of Public Works (now the state Department
of Transportation). On visits to my hometown, we preferred
to take the train. When highway plans threatened the station,
I wanted to testify at a public hearing. Management advised
this more technical writer that a headline like “DPW Aide
Opposes Station Closing” would be likely—and unwelcome.
So my wife came with me to the hearing and stated her opposition.
A lawyer representing New York City picked up on her testimony,
several times referring to her as “the lady from Peyster Street,”
which left many wondering “Where’s this Peyster Street?” At
the hearing, a DPW engineer (also hardly at the “aide” level)
testified that $62 million in contracts depended on abandoning
this station. (Many years later, he was said by then to be
agreeing that the station should not have been relocated across
Also, I hope someone will explain that the landfill cannot
generate 1.9 megawatts of electricity “per hour.” It can and
does generate megawatt-hours of electricity.
When a “force” moves something, “work” is being done; the
amount of work done in a length of time is termed “power.”
Watts are a measure of how much power is being produced or
used. Your watt-hour meter measures how much power went through
the meter to do work or heating (which is equivalent to work).
But now I see that a rather more complete explanation would
be needed to help the layman truly understand work, energy
Neil Peart’s facility with “speedy roto-tom fills” [Noteworthy,
July 3] is like praising Duane Allman’s mastery of slide mandolin.
Your moldy indictment of Rush lyricist Peart’s reliance on
Ayn Rand and sci-fi found favor with rock critics when Gerald
Ford was President. J. Eric Smith described Rush’s Oct. 19,
1996, Knickerbocker Arena show as “stunning, captivating and
very, very immediate,” even though “the super-secret Working
Music Critic’s Manual of Hip” dictates that “I’m supposed
to . . . dismiss Rush contemptuously with the rest of the
’70s sci-fi concept-album crowd.” (See www.jericsmith.com/
Hey Spanky, put away the manual and open your eyes. Or perhaps
even your ears.
The quote cited by Mr. Kerr from J. Eric Smith’s review of
the Oct. 19, 1996, Rush concert is incomplete and therefore
does not reflect Smith’s message accurately. The full passage
from the review reads as follows:
know that per the super-secret Working Music Critic’s Manual
of Hip, I’m supposed to sniff distastefully about the whole
arena-rock thing and dismiss Rush contemptuously with the
rest of the ’70s sci-fi concept-album crowd—but I just can’t
do either. Rush are cool. They put on a cool arena concert.
I was glad I went and wasn’t ashamed to sing the line: ‘We
are the priests of the Temples of Syrinx.’ Best of all, I
was not alone.”
To the Editor:
had to write after seeing the Noteworthy entry for the Rush
show at SPAC. While I’m glad that the band made your short
list, it seemed that their entry was there more to gently
ridicule the band and its fans.
It seems that as a newsweekly, someone in the music staff
might have done something to find out what the band is up
to these days, rather that recycle some old-and-tired critique
of the band.
I will be the first to admit to the unevenness of many of
the band’s releases since their creative and commercial breakthroughs
of the early ’80s. However the band has returned from a five-year
hiatus—during which their continued existence was in doubt—with
their finest and freshest album in nearly 20 years. Rush fan
or not, it’s well worth a listen.
Why the hiatus? Neil Peart’s only daughter died in a car accident
in 1997 after their last tour, and his wife died of cancer
the following year. He emerged after years of relative seclusion
with a desire to play the drums again and resurrect the group.
This type of human-interest story might have given the writer
of the preview something to write about without having to
bring into question his/her hipness vis-à-vis Rush, since
that seemed to be the writer’s primary concern.
our Summer Fashion issue [June 20], we incorrectly credited
Albany County Parks and Recreation for the use of Heritage
Park. The credit should go to the Town of Colonie Parks and
Recreation. Metroland regrets the error.
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