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They’ll Get Knocked Down—or They’ll Get Saved Again

To the Editor:

The Historic Action Network is opposed to the proposed demolition of the Freihofer’s bakery building in Lansingburgh [Newsfront, Nov. 21]. Eric Daillie, cofounder of the Network, is quoted in Metroland as saying, “It’s very important to save these structures to keep a certain flair to visitors.” Just what types of visitors do Mr. Daillie and his tree-hugging friends hope to attract with this dilapidated old building? Pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers? The article goes on to fret over the old water commissioner’s house, which is also under the threat of demolition. Who cares? These buildings can hardly be described as landmarks. I say tear the old buildings down.

Peter Ellis
East Greenbush

To the Editor:

Contrary to statements made by Eckerd spokeswoman Tani Alderman to Metroland reporter David Riley, the company never offered to move the buildings. It only offered to donate the Riverside Club, leaving to us the cost of moving it and finding a location. As for the Freihofer’s bakery building, no offers were made to either donate it or move it, let alone reuse it.

While moving the Riverside Club is not the preferred option, we are not categorically opposed to it, if it were to facilitate the reuse of the old bakery and if an appropriate location could be found. However, neither the demolition nor the displacement of the Freihofer’s bakery is an acceptable outcome. The building was built to fit the site and is set in history. Furthermore, considering its size, the different sections and floor levels, it would not be possible to move it, except brick by brick. So far, Eckerd has refused to reuse any portion of the building, which is currently built up to the sidewalk, rounding the corner at Second Avenue and 126th Street. Instead, it has proposed a cookie-cutter big box, set back in a black sea of asphalt, in typical strip-mall fashion.

We know Eckerd is not insensitive to historic preservation. In Corning, N.Y., it restored a three-story brick building built in 1885. In Newberry, S.C., it recently pledged nearly $260,000 toward the cost of moving the Matthews House, a historic landmark built in 1893. We also know that such cases are rare. In 2000, Eckerd refused to consider the reuse of the former School 10 in Albany, as requested by the Planning Board, and withdrew its application. Now the same situation has developed in Troy, where the Planning Commission is requiring Eckerd to submit a draft environmental impact statement that must, aside from assessing all environmental impacts, consider the adaptive reuse of the buildings, including a cost analysis and a structural report.

Is Eckerd prepared to fulfill these requirements and work with preservationists and city planners to develop an acceptable outcome? If not, we ask that it withdraw its application. Freihofer’s must find a socially responsible buyer or donate the buildings. Located on the proposed Greenway bike trail, the site would make a perfect tourist information center/restaurant, uniquely positioned at the hub of a network of biking and hiking trails and waterways connecting the Hudson River with the Mohawk River/Erie Canal and Champlain Canal, a destination of choice for tourism and recreational and cultural activities.

Historic landmarks form the foundation on which to develop our region’s tourism. They are a living history of our community. It’s crazy to destroy them.

Eric Daillie
Cofounder, Historic Action Network
Troy

A Matter of Perspective

To the Editor:

After reading the edition of Metroland that gave specific attention to the current political climate [“Charge of the Right Brigade,” Nov. 14], I feel I must make a confession: I did not vote a complete Democratic/Liberal ticket. Please don’t despise me. It’s just that I feel misled and alienated from my leadership.

Things that they have promised would come to pass should the Evil Right come to power have not befallen us. My kids eat balanced meals at school, my parents get their prescriptions filled and only buy cat food for Godfrey (they spoil him, too). My brother-in-law used his semi-automatic deer rifle in the proper way, and he shares the venison. My job is secure, the bills are paid. No, all is not well in the world, and there have been, are, and always will be people who need our help regardless of who holds office. The politician is an animal not to be trusted regardless of party affiliation, and I would not characterize my current leanings as at all permanent. There is a lot I don’t like in the Republican Party, but to be fair, there is a lot I don’t like in the Democratic Party right now. For now, the Republicans at least appear to be doing what they claimed they would. I have to support that. I realize you don’t. Good. Keep them honest. It’s why you are here.

Dave Gallagher
Queensbury

To the Editor:

Most people in Albany realize your “news” weekly is a profoundly left-leaning rag, which supports itself through grotesque advertisements and the fact that it is, currently, the only easily accessible source of local events and music information. Hopefully, those who were oblivious should have had their eyes opened to your bias by the Nov. 14 edition.

Not only was the cover inappropriate—a gleeful elephant carrying a presumably dead donkey while chasing a black, a woman, an Arab, and a generic white man (who looked a lot like a stereotypical college professor)—the essay section contained only comments on how we are all going to take it up the rear because of the Republicans. I propose if you were really a newsweekly and understood there are two sides to a story, you would have had presented more than one perspective. However, you are not a legitimate source of news and I doubt having a counterpoint presented would serve your agenda.

Metroland seems to be “out to change the world.” Sometimes that is a worthy goal (both Gandhi and Hitler were out to the change the world; no one doubts Gandhi’s objective was righteous and true and no one sane doubts Hitler’s intentions were pure evil) but it is not the job of a journalist or a journalistic venture. Perhaps you could change your name to Metroland: The Capital Region’s Free Liberal Weekly. Then people could easily see where you were coming from. At the least you should drop the word news from your description.

I would like to close with one final thought. Has it occurred to the writers and staff of Metroland that the Republicans won because people legitimately voted for them—not because of some hocus pocus or Wag the Dog deception? I, for one, am offended by the insinuation that those who voted for a Republican were either fooled or mindless zombies. I can make up my own mind and I suspect everyone else who got off their asses and went to the polls can as well.

Myron Getman
Albany

Stephen Leon replies:

The articles that appeared in the Nov. 14 post-election package were clearly labeled “essays”; though they included some reporting, we did not attempt to present them as neutral “news” stories. As for Myron Getman’s reminder that there are two sides to a story, I would suggest that usually, there are more than two. However, our mission is not necessarily to give equal time to all sides of any given issue, but to give voice to people and ideas that are underrepresented in the corporate-controlled mainstream media.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: metroland@metroland.net. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at metroland@metroland.net.


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