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Reader letters to Newsday for Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019

Beachgoers enjoys the waves in the evening at

Beachgoers enjoys the waves in the evening at Robert Moses State Park Field 5 on July 19, 2019. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

So State Assemb. Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan) wants to rename Robert Moses State Park because families were displaced by the parks, highways and playgrounds he planned [“Robert Moses naming debate,” News, Dec. 8]. O’Donnell writes that some projects “were placed to divide and destroy African American and Puerto Rican neighborhoods.”

I have a suggestion for him: Why stop at renaming these public works created by Moses? How about closing them all? I’m sure Long Islanders would appreciate fewer beaches, parks, playgrounds and highways.

Bill Minovich,

  Deer Park

The few miles at the west end of Fire Island are among the most beautiful beaches along America’s East Coast, and the park’s identity should reflect this. Public support is needed among Long Islanders, our state and county elected officials and the governor to reinstate this natural beauty to its original name — Fire Island State Park.

Yes, Robert Moses had much to do with Long Island’s evolution during the 20th century, but in the end, he was an urban planner. Biographer Robert Caro acknowledges that Moses’ legacy was checkered. I have no problem with keeping the name of the Robert Moses Causeway, but the park is distinct and should have a special name.

Brian Paradine,

  Garden City

Thank you to reporter Michael Gormley for a compelling article about Robert Moses. I particularly appreciate the balance of content he provided.

His reporting cast a bright light on how puerile those who feel zealous about renaming public places have become. How would New York City function today without the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Cross Bronx Expressway, etc.?

The projects that Moses championed and led transformed the region. No person who has loomed so large in public life will ever be perfect. Let’s enjoy the good, learn from the bad and stop seeking shallow gratification from pointless gestures to the grievance club.

Chris Dillon,


To those who feel offended that the name Robert Moses adorns a local causeway and park and want to rename them, enough already.

If that is the way things will go from now on, let’s really do it right. Why not change the names of New York (James II, duke of York), Georgia (King George II), Washington, D.C. (you know who), etc.? They were all politicians of old who did things that might offend someone in the 21st century.

Or stop wasting our tax money on ineffective commissions that investigate nothing that affects our lives.

William Lewis,


Robert Moses created many beautiful parks, as well as parkways that enable people to travel from one area of the Island to another. Why take his legacy and trample all over it? What travesty could he possibly have done?

Carolyn Newson,


In 1964, Fire Island State Park was named for Robert Moses. In the park’s history, beachgoers have been protected — and saved — by dedicated crews of hundreds of lifeguards.

I was a guard there and at Jones Beach from 1946 to 1962. This group of men and women should have input about the name decision.

Joseph Wengler,

  East Williston

Conservatives need to separate from bigots

Columnist Cathy Young’s column “The Achilles’ heel of conservatism” [Opinion, Dec. 3] vastly understates the threat to mainstream conservatism posed by what she calls that “large segment of the right that promotes white identity politics.”

Although I am not registered with any party, and tend to favor moderate and Democratic candidates, I believe a strong conservative movement is healthy for the country. So I believe the threat to conservatism is more akin to a cancer. None other than 2016 presidential candidate Rick Perry referred to President Donald Trump’s campaign as “a cancer on conservatism.”

The white nationalism, Holocaust-denying, ethnic and racial bigotry Young identifies have their roots in some segments of right-wing talk radio, the tea party and the birther movement. These beliefs pit groups against one another and demonize differences, fueling fear, victimization, grievance and vengefulness — attitudes that align with those of white supremacists and bigots.

The hopes that Young expresses for “an American ideal transcending race, color, religion or ethnicity” do not factor into Trump’s conservatism.

Elected conservatives in Washington have not confronted this malignancy. In the 1950s and ’60s, conservatism separated from the virulent John Birch Society. That same separation is necessary for conservatism to survive today. I hope it’s not too late.

Don Pfeifer,

  West Hempstead