Readers Write: Mea culpa from Penner’s Bronx critic

Readers Write:  Mea culpa from Penner’s Bronx critic

Re: “Another Supermarket Closes Doors,” Larry Penner.
In filmmaker Ken Burns’ very good (although not always historically accurate) miniseries “Baseball,” one of the writers interviewed said words to the effect of we come back to where we grew up when we turn 40 and find it completely changed.

This is called “the free market.” It has always dictated demographics and business openings and closings and always will. Technological advances, socioeconomic events, and disasters both natural and artificial render businesses either unprofitable or obsolete. Other businesses end up taking their place and becoming phenomenally successful. It is somewhat surprising to see that the author, who has many times taken very Libertarian stances on issues, doesn’t understand this.

In the Bronx, the Allerton Movie Theater, the Kent, Loew’s Paradise, etc., have all become churches, 99 cent stores, cell phone stores. The area at Charlotte St. and Boston Road where Jimmy Carter made his whistle stop tour in 1976 now resembles an Indiana suburb, replete with one-family tract houses. Alexander’s, the former retail anchor at Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse, now hosts a number of businesses including a Verizon Wireless.

Nothing is forever except death and taxes. The payphone is virtually nonexistent. The current cell phone bears little resemblance to those from the late 1990s, and even less to the original from 1973. I prepare tax returns from Jan – April, and while I will be employed in January 2022, the company is pushing us to make more transactions remote.

If the author feels so badly about senior citizens allegedly being unable to access food and other necessities, why doesn’t he “walk the walk” instead of “talk the talk?” Volunteer a morning at a soup kitchen. Help deliver meals on wheels. Try to bring a food bank to his neighborhood. Connect seniors affected by store closings to food banks. Although the business model of the supermarket will very likely never completely disappear, some of it is being replaced by mega chains such as “Fresh Direct.”

Help seniors in his area learn to use the computer, or if they are simply too old and/or set in their ways to do so order food on their behalf. Isn’t this a more positive alternative to the author pounding out opinion pieces on his keyboard, lamenting something the author can do nothing about?

And since I must be intellectually honest in my submissions to this publication, I myself need to find something to volunteer at and curtail my own “keyboard warrior” activities. It is admittedly somewhat hypocritical to criticize the author while engaging in the same lack of volunteerism myself.

Nat Weiner


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