Dalya Arussy's Writing New York Blog

Journal Entry 20- Argumentative Essay
October 30, 2010, 11:17 pm
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I will argue that the NYC planning process still has a lot of improvements to undergo. This example with Atlantic Yards is just one in many cases where there was not enough public participation and therefore not enough public support. It is important to include those affected by the plan in the planning process because not only would that have prevented many lawsuits, but it could have helped the implementation of the plan. This is not to say that public participation ensures public approval, but it definitely increases the chances. In addition, public approval would have saved time with court decisions such as the use of eminent domain and cut back on costs such as lawsuits. Atlantic Yards serves as an example of how a development plan can create a sort of chaos in a community when not approached properly.

I will use both inductive and deductive arguments as I believe the combination produces a much stronger argument. I will use both logic and facts such as applying general facts of planning and specific instances from Atlantic Yards. In an effort to appeal to a larger public, I plan to also include emotional aspects with the addition personal accounts. In addition, I want to include the ethical problems I believe to exist. Through my application of all these argumentative methods, I believe I will be able to convince people of the importance of the inclusion of public participation in the planning process. Although participation does not guarantee success, it is a major step in that direction and increases the chances while decreasing opposition.

Extra Credit- Marilyn Hacker Poetry Reading
October 27, 2010, 10:12 pm
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There were many things that impressed me about Marilyn Hacker’s work, but one of the things that stood out the most was the dialogue she has with other poets in her poems. Fortunately enough, she read “Crepuscule with Muriel”. Unsure of what to make of the poem at my initial encounter with it, the way she explained these dialogues she has with other poets enhanced my understanding of this poem specifically as I now saw it as not just one dialogue poem, but one in a series of dialogues she has in poems. Hacker read several poems, all in different forms. Some were based on fado and khazel, Portuguese and Arab folksongs, respectively. She used those structures and specific subject poems in those forms, such as “liberation” and “Black Boat” to create english versions. She also used a glosa form of taking 4 lines from another poem and incorporating it into a new one. Using all these forms, as she describes, she has a dialogue with the friends she’s made and from whom she may have adopted the forms, and with people who are dead, but whose works she greatly values.

Hacker’s readings, though, presented a different insight into her poems. Her pauses, facial expressions, and tone of voice all contributed to a different experience of her written works. As she read pieces from her “Walking Poems”, poems from different cities, when she read about children playing in the streets, you could hear the joy in her voice. Likewise when she read of the singing of a song that was part of the poem, she actually sang it as part of her reading, making the text come alive. There was an overall joy in the her readings, like she was introducing us into this world to which she so connects and values.

And then lastly, I really liked the idea that Alice Quinn, executive director of the Poetry Society of America, presented about Marilyn Hacker, of using traditional forms of poetry to bring up untraditional topics. She spoke of Hacker’s introduction of lesbian love in poetry when it wasn’t accepted in the 1970’s. I found that to be the best way to introduce something new, by incorporating it into the old.

Journal Entry 19- The Madoff Affair
October 21, 2010, 9:13 pm
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The Frontline documentary presents very similar sources to Fishman in terms of the source’s relationship to Madoff. Both reach out to investors, people who did business with him, and his partners. Fishman and Frontline interviewed people who were close to the action, especially the film, including from his partner, Bienes, to employees of Madoff Securities. This relationship put these sources in a good position to properly inform the viewers and readers as they can give firsthand accounts.

Nonetheless, I think that the film was more thorough and informative in terms of sources. With the fairly small group of interviewees, there was a lot that each one told as there was continuity in the stories they were telling. The film showed several segments of the interviews, allowing the viewer to really get a full picture.

In addition, the film’s interviews allowed us to not only read opinions like in Fishman’s article, but also to see and hear the people. This additional aspect provided a better idea of what was being said as the facial expressions and tone of voice were clear. With this advantage, the viewer can better determine which claims he/she thinks are true and which not; something that is much harder to determine through simply reading opinions off a paper. Along with the added believability aspect that comes with really seeing the person who is making the claims, comes the sympathizing aspect. For those that one chooses to believe, the pain or bitter tone seen or heard, present the interviewee’s position in a clearer light. Without regard to the sources themselves, the film as a medium was a much more informative and convincing piece.

Journal Entry 18- Peer Review 2
October 19, 2010, 3:48 pm
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A. Thesis: From the outset, there was much community unrest with the plan for Atlantic Yards. As a result of many negative factors, though, the unrest seems to not only remain, but also be growing.

Talking about the unkept promises at Atlantic Yards.

B. The elected officials of NYC see this development as an improvement to the city, but the community opposes it. It’s taking a long time to build and promises are not being kept regarding the supposed advantages it will provide for the community.

C. Well-developed and interesting points: the numbers promised vs. the reality of the numbers; unkept promises causes the community’s opposition to the development

Weak points: the dryness

Tone: too dry at times

D. The essay is organized and flows.

E. Change the title to have a little more “flavor”. The beginning and ending were good and made you think.

F. I don’t think I have consistent grammar mistakes.

G. My in-text citations have some mistakes but I know how to fix them. I need to indent the second line of my sources in my Works Cited page.

Journal Entry 17- “The Monster Mensch”
October 14, 2010, 11:12 pm
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As an informative interpretation of two men, I think this article was very impressive. Although at times is was a bit overwhelming with the saturation of facts, in the end, I felt like I had come out with a more complete picture of the two men whom people thought they knew so much about.

Fishman’s sources came from many different people, but all shared a common factor: they had a relationship with either Bernie Madoff or Ezra Merkin. Fishman quotes Merkin’s siblings and friends and Bernie’s investors, competitors and a reporter who followed Bernie in his early days. He even includes direct quotes of Bernie and Merkin. All these informants provide for a solid and believable account of both men. Fishman’s choice in sources is crucial to the story he lays out as there have been rumors as to the background of these now notorious businessmen. Quoting people who have or had direct relationships with the subjects provides not only for an increase in information quantity but also quality. Fishman turns to the people who grew up with Merkin and those with whom Bernie had face-to-face interactions. These are the people who spent the most time with them and had real relationships with them, allowing them to better evaluate each persona.

I think Fishman’s impressive research and choice of sources delivers the information very convincingly. As it is unclear to many the background story of the entire project along with the history of both men, presenting quotations from those who knew them and those who were there during that history, allows for a more believable presentation of data. As he also has many sources, Fishman is able to piece together different people’s truths and create one common and believable truth. Because he quotes both siblings and competitors it gives the reader the feeling that there is very little bias in this story. He presents first hand accounts of the development of each personality, allowing not only for a very informative interpretation, but also a convincing one.

Journal Entry 16- Annotation Workshop
October 14, 2010, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I. Paraphrase

After the unveiling of the project to build a plaza as part of the new Atlantic Yards development, not only was the criticism of the entire plan not subdued, but it may have even increased it. Norman Oder of the University of California points out that although the development is expected to improve the Downtown Brooklyn scene, it may end up “encroach[ing] on surrounding historic low rise neighborhoods, burden local infrastructure, and create a pattern of superblocks” (qtd. in “Design Unveiled”). The Epoch Times reports that at the unveiling, Bruce Ratner presented pictures of the future site, but as Develop- Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, an opposition group, noted, plans for the promised residential building were not revealed. As the entertainment parts of the development are already under construction (Barclay’s Center and now the plaza), the anticipated affordable housing is yet to be addressed. With regards to the sixteen residential buildings promised, Ratner has said that the architect of one of them will be revealed at the beginning of next year, but that there are no set plans for the other fifteen as of yet.

II. Summary

Eric Durkin of the NY Daily News notes that as the construction jobs that will be created as a result of the development were a key component in the community’s agreement to the project, the lack thereof is disappointing many. Where over 1000 jobs were promised by this point in the year 2010, only about 100 have been created. Ratner claims the jobs promised will be available but “at a different pace”, as construction has been slowed down due to lawsuits and money trouble. Forest City Ratner promises more job creation in the future when construction advances into later stages, but as of the current state of things, many people in the community are upset.

III. Quotations

1. Norman Oder of the University of California points out that although the development is expected to improve the Downtown Brooklyn scene, it may end up “encroach[ing] on surrounding historic low rise neighborhoods, burden local infrastructure, and create a pattern of superblocks” (qtd. in “Design Unveiled”)

2. Even those who criticized the over-the-top design saw it as an attraction. Therefore this recurring New York City theme as Ouroussoff describes of “what’s most important is to build, no matter how thoughtless or dehumanizing the results” not only affects the aesthetics of Atlantic Yards, but also the overall community feeling.

3. Nicolai Ouroussoff of The New York Times explains that “arenas are notorious black holes in urban neighborhoods, sitting empty most of the year and draining the life around them.”

4. Although he claims to still support the project, James Caldwell, president of the nonprofit Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development, told Daily News, “I’m not satisfied because the community’s not satisfied.”

5. Despite all the guarantees, Adam Lisberg of Daily News explains, “Some folks are only catching on now that promises made by developer Bruce Ratner shouldn’t be taken very seriously.”

Journal Entry 15- Home and Creativity
October 5, 2010, 3:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Through the artwork, NYC becomes their home and serves as a focal point for their creativity. After Petit’s first artistic showcasing in NYC in 1974, walking between the World Trade Center towers on a tightrope, he continues to showcase his art in other parts of the city including Central Park and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine where his office is located. Petit finds his home through his creativity, as he travels to many countries and is in constant search of new challenges. He searches for a home as he searches for these challenges. Through his creativity, he finds a home as he ultimately settles in NYC. Likewise, Spiegelman’s The Shadow of No Towers showcases artwork that centers around NYC following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, but contrastingly he had found NYC before he found his artwork. Although he says he never really found a home anywhere, the strong feelings he felt following 9/11 brought about his sense of home in NYC and consequently his great artwork in The Shadow of No Towers.

The immense size and overwhelming skyscrapers present in NYC are what create this dreamlike and “top of the world” feeling there. NYC has this aura around it, creating dreams and ideals of its quality and meaning in the world. For this reason, Petit breaks some tightrope walking ground rules as he was “unable to resist the pleasure of seeing NY at his feet” and “slowly panned his eyes all the way down to the gridlocked traffic below” (175). Petit is drawn to NYC to fulfill this “top of the world” feeling, this sense of conquering such a central part of the world. Similarly, Spiegelman is drawn to this massive-ness of NYC as he views the event of 9/11 as “the end of the world”. The destruction of the Twin Towers affects the dream of NYC, what originally attracts Spiegelman, but ironically is what creates the sense of home in Spiegelman in NYC in the end.

Journal Entry 14- Community Issue
October 5, 2010, 10:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

One thing that has been affecting New York City over the past couple of years is the building up of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. In the center of this new neighborhood, Barclay’s Center (the NJ Nets new stadium) is being built. This area was taken from private owners through eminent domain with the purpose of redeveloping the land for mainly commercial, but also residential use. In the mean time, Bruce Rathner, the developer, has stated that while Barclay’s Center should be ready for the 2012-13 basketball season, the anticipated office buildings and the likes will not be completed for a couple of years. This project is meant to improve the economic community and reshape the way it looks, but if building isn’t completed as promised, what was the point of taking away people’s private property. I am interested in urban planning and this new building seems to be an topic that can redefine a community. I am also a sports fan and from New Jersey, therefore I am interested to see how the move on the part of this NJ basketball team will affect not only New Yorkers, but New Jerseyans as well. I think this could be an interesting study about the Downtown Brooklyn community as well as the New Jersey Nets community as a whole as this new stadium will definitely affect both. Even more so, I’d like to research the economic and communal effects this newly developed Atlantic Yards neighborhood will have on Downtown Flushing.

Journal Entry 13- My Community
October 4, 2010, 8:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Although, I’ve moved around a lot, my current community is the one that stands out. Positioned in Fair Lawn, NJ, everything about it screams “suburb”. Although, it borders Paterson, a fairly diverse town, Fair Lawn is made up of mostly white, non-Hispanics. Within the town, I am part of the Orthodox Jewish community with a parallel population make-up. Almost every family in the community lives in single family homes with a nice front and backyard for the kids to play in. Each family has anywhere from 2 to 8 kids and on Saturday the kids play at each other’s houses or at a central park as the fathers are sleeping and the mothers talk. Weekends are the primary days when the children get together, as during the week they study in school from 8 am until anywhere from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. Occasionally on Saturday there is a program for children of different ages at the synagogue, almost like a communal gathering as the parents walk their children to the event.

As this all may sound like utopia, there are certain politics that play into the community atmosphere. Since the community is based on religion, there are certain synagogue practices not agreed upon by everyone in the community. A couple of years ago, tension formed  regarding practices during the service and the use of the synagogue building in general, resulting in a split in the community. One group of families, under the leadership of the head Rabbi, remained in the original building while the others set off to build their own synagogue. To date, there is still tension between the two seemingly separate communities, but mostly between the leaders of each. Nonetheless, the families involved, and most notably the children, maintain amicable relations. Occasionally, in an attempt to create community-wide (including those attending both synagogues) holiday programs, the friction is once again revealed, but on a day-to-day basis, the two remain pretty friendly.

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