Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Price Of Friendship

A gold medal commissioned by George Washington and presented to the Marquis de Lafayette just sold for $5.3 million dollars at Sotheby’s in Manhattan. The medal was symbolic of the bond and friendship between America and France that existed at that time. It’s nice that the medal increased in value over the past 200-plus years but unfortunate that the bond and friendship between the two countries isn’t valued as it once was. Where are today’s Washington’s and Lafayette’s when we really need them?

NOTE: To add insult to injury, Brooklyn's famous Lafayette High School was recently closed down.

Carnival Of Fights Leads To Festival Of Lights

Congratulations to Hassan Askari. He courageously stepped in to defend Walter Adler and his friends from a vicious gang beating. This gang reportedly taunted and began fighting with Askari and his Jewish party in the subway system on a moving Q train. As the fighting continued and blood was being spilled, Adler managed to pull the train’s emergency brake. Police entered the car and subsequently arrested ten men. Based on eyewitness accounts, this appears to be a racial bias incident. None of the suspects have been charged with a hate crime as of yet. The Brooklyn D.A.’s office is still investigating the matter.

The story made headlines because Askari, a Muslim, aided Adler, a Jew. In sincere gratitude for his efforts, Adler invited Askari to his home to share in his family’s Chanukah festivities. The unreported and perhaps bigger story is why nobody else on board the train did anything to help. That is too often, a sad truth with violent crimes. Fear of involvement and physical injury is understandable. Admittedly, not all of us are heroes. However, failure to help others in need is a ride within a dark tunnel to a sad destination. It’s definitely not a trip on board the “Soul Train.”

The next time you ride the subway, pray you’re surrounded by those who will come to your aid if need be. And if need be, be as brave and selfless as Mr. Askari. He set a noble example I pray we all have the guts to follow.

Horse Carriage Riders May Soon Be Hailing Cabs

Councilman Tony Avella (D-Queens) introduced a proposal to end all horse carriage rides in New York City. He believes they’re inhumane and detrimental to traffic patterns in Midtown. The Horse and Carriage Association objected to Mr. Avella’s claims and goal. They actively support this 100-year old industry citing it’s importance to hundreds of working class families in the industry and the carriage’s great popularity among tourists. Their spokesperson Carolyn Daly maintains that horses are well cared for and that the industry does far more good than harm in the Big Apple.

Horse carriages are undoubtedly one of the lesser causes for city traffic jams. If Mr. Avella so strongly believes that horses are put at risk while in traffic, than he should extend his ban to police mounts too. That of course would be a foolish thing to do. However, Mr. Avella’s position does have some merit. Perhaps it’s time to consider restricting carriage rides to Central Park or to designated zones where horse and driver can better co-exist than they do now.