Listen: We can work it out


We are a society probably best described as hate-love — we tend to hate first, and maybe (just maybe) we’ll grow to love it.

It’s almost a “leap before you look” mentality, where we pass quick judgment on things before we even get a chance. For example, like anything to do with music. “Jazz is just noise,” or “Rock ‘n’ roll is the music of Satan worshippers,” or “Yes, Adele, hello, yourself. We know it’s you.”

What’s interesting, however, is that while there are times our opinions will never change, the things we initially hate have a way of growing on us. Next thing you know, you’re spinning a Duke Ellington record. You’re singing along with The Beatles’ “Penny Lane.” Or you’re standing in line for tickets to see Adele at Madison Square Garden.

The lesson learned is that we’re not required to form an opinion about anything right away. There is nothing wrong with saying, “I don’t know about that just yet. Let’s hear what they have to say.”

That’s not the easiest thing to do, nor is it the easiest thing to ask someone to do. But fair warning — within the next couple hundred words or so, we’re going to ask you to do just that.

Back in the earlier part of this decade, Montefiore Medical Center proposed building a multi-story medical building in the heart of Riverdale Avenue, amongst some great restaurants and shops just south of the Monument.

The new structure would be taller than anything else around it, and it’s hard not to imagine the impact it would have on traffic.

Some members of the community banded together, and with the help of elected officials like Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and state Sen. Jeffrey Klein passing a law that should have never been passed — ultimately targeting a single project — the Montefiore project died.

Now, some years later with an eyesore pit dominating what is otherwise a beautiful business stretch of Riverdale Avenue, Montefiore is thinking about reviving the project. And to listen to Dinowitz or Andrew Cohen, it’s a resurrection no different than Freddy Krueger rising from the dead in a horror film.

Except here’s the thing: We don’t know what exactly Montefiore has planned. Nothing has been filed with the city, and no specific details have been shared with any of our leaders.

Instead of waiting to see what Montefiore has to offer its neighbors, many of them instead have pulled out the pitchforks and torches, ready to fight the project any way they can — even if it comes down to passing a law that should never be legal.

There are legitimate concerns from neighbors, especially when it comes to vehicle traffic. Even a smaller building will still be large.

But why not step back a moment and just listen first? Go in with an open mind. Hear what Montefiore’s justifications are for this project, and what the hospital will do to allay neighbor fears.

Maybe it’s not enough. Maybe it’s still a bad idea. Maybe we can’t do anything else except hate it.

Or maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a “Love Me Do” moment. But we’ll never know if we don’t listen.

Have an opinion? Share your thoughts as a letter to the editor. Make your submission to letters@riverdalepress.com. Please include your full name, phone number (for verification purposes only), and home address (which will not be published).