To the Editors of the New York Times

Grant's Tomb Benches

Published: April 16, 1994
To the Editor:

Your April 1 three-column photo of Grant's Tomb, with your article on souvenirs, helps restore America's mausoleum to its rightful prominence on the highest point of land in Manhattan. Plans are under way by the National Park Service to renovate the building for its 100th anniversary in 1997, and the colorful tile benches surrounding the site will be restored this summer.

We at CityArts Inc., producers of the mosaic bench in 1972, will round up as many of the original 2,000 artists, neighborhood volunteers and visitors as we can find. They will refinish aged sections, make minor structural repairs and give the benches new life. Sponsorship by State Senator Franz Leichter is assured, and we will make available postcards, T-shirts and other souvenirs of the spirited bench designs.
New York, April 6, 1994

Police Use of Force

Published: September 8, 1999
To the Editor:

In his Sept. 2 column on the shooting by the police of Gidone Busch, a mentally ill man, Bob Herbert quotes Fernando Ferrer, the Bronx Borough President, as asking, ''Was this kind of massive force actually necessary to subdue a man with a hammer?''

This seems to be the million-dollar question here in New York City.

One answer appears in a Sept. 4 news article about a shooting in a Manhattan office. After Milas Ringer shot Michael Robinson, his co-worker, with a .38-caliber revolver, ''four employees standing nearby then wrestled Mr. Ringer to the floor.''

Why couldn't six police officers perform at least as well as four civilians?
New York, Sept. 4, 1999

Island Fantasies

Published: December 10, 1997
To the Editor:

Elizabeth Kolbert (Metro Matters, Dec. 8) persists in trying to discover why the Giuliani administration just can't seem to come up with even a glimmer of a practical plan to develop Governor's Island, now that the Government has sent the Coast Guard packing.

Why won't the Mayor come up with a plausible public use for the 174-acre parcel, which is only a 10-minute boat ride from South Ferry and already connected to Manhattan and Brooklyn by a vehicular tunnel? Doesn't he have impeccable connections to the creative minds of the New York City real estate community? Wasn't this special-interest group quite helpful in underwriting his recent landslide re-election? Haven't these people any ideas?

Perhaps Mayor Giuliani knows that if local government fails to produce a viable public program, the road would be clear for a profusion of private schemes -- gated residential communities, commercial malls and even, perhaps, a baseball stadium?
New York, Dec. 9, 1997

What the Artist Sees Looking Back at Him

Published: May 17, 1998
To the Editor:

''The Eye in the Eye of the Beholder'' (Week in Review, May 10) reports the intriguing observation that traditional portraits place one eye halfway between the two sides of the frame. Dr. Christopher Tyler, who made the discovery, doesn't know why.

I believe the answer is simple: negative space. Visual artists leave a large area in front of the head so the subject has space to gaze into. Also, space is needed in the composition to balance the volume of the back of the head. Hence one eye will fall near the center.
New York, May 11, 1998
The writer is a muralist.


Published: August 21, 1983


To the Editor:

Taken out of context, the assertions of the television networks that statistical correlations between simulated violence on the air and violent crime don't mean a thing (ABC), or, that television has no effect on viewers at all (NBC) seem potentially plausible. But viewed against the prodigious current costs of network time (hundreds of thousands of dollars per minute for sports advertising, for example) these fatuous remarks fall flat indeed.

Big advertisers must be purchasing something. Or are network executives equally adamant in admitting that there is no correlation between beautiful people drinking beverages and beverage sales? Or that million of dollars in election campaigns have no effect on voters?

The subliminal thesis of the networks, that editorial content has no effect while advertising content is effective, in an outrageous exercise in hypocrisy.
PHILLIP I. DANZIG Upper Montclair, N. J.

Ortega Was Kept On Because of the Contras

Published: May 14, 1990
LEAD: To the Editor:
To the Editor:

Your April 30 news article about Violeta Chamorro's first days as president of Nicaragua echoes an omission found repeatedly in recent post-election news articles. You seem to ignore the continued existence of 8,000 to 10,000 combative contra guerrillas in rural areas, still undemobilized and still in possession of their United States-supplied arms.

Without this fact, Mrs. Chamorro's ''most debated political decision,'' to retain the former Sandinista Defense Minister, Humberto Ortega Saavedra, as head of the army, seems capricious and even perverse. The fact is, however, that all contra units have yet to accept the election. Many retain their local command structure and continue to terrorize villages.

The only force powerful enough to neutralize the contras and to prevent Nicaragua from sliding into a renewal of the civil struggle is the Sandinista People's Army, as distasteful as this reality may be to some.

It was Mrs. Chamorro's legitimate fears of the contras that led her to embrace General Ortega, and not merely certain vague, ''formidable Sandinista pressures,'' as you stated.

By stressing the decision's political dimensions and ignoring the military realities, we run the risk of being set up for the old military excuse, ''Just when we were winning the war and about to bring peace, the politicians sold us out.''

Upper Montclair, N.J., May 3, 1990