Monthly Archives: June 2016

“New York’s Sidewalks Are So Packed, Pedestrians Are Taking to the Streets”





“New York’s Sidewalks Are So Packed, Pedestrians Are Taking to the Streets,” by Winnie Hu,  The New York Times, June 30, 2016








New York is indeed, as is stated in this article, a “world-class walking city.”

It’s kind of a fun article. The reporter, Winnie Hu — is there such a thing as a BAD reporter on the Times? – does a very good job.

But the supposed problem of overcrowded sidewalks in New York City is really not a problem, in my opinion — it’s a non issue.

I am always walking, practically everywhere, in the city, it seems (that’s admittedly hyperbole). I occasionally do step off the curb and walk in the street to avoid obstacles. Usually, it’s not pedestrians that are blocking the way. It could be cars or trucks illegally parked jutting out onto the sidewalk, or perhaps (often) a construction site.

Yes, certain areas are particularly crowded with pedestrians: Times Square; the Penn Station area; lower Manhattan (Broadway) in the vicinity of Houston Street and SoHo; Flushing, Queens.

But, most areas aren’t. Take Fifth Avenue, for example. It’s a major thoroughfare for locals and tourists alike with many shops and attractions and lots of pedestrians, but it’s almost always pleasant and not onerous to stroll on. This is also true of most of Broadway (with the exception of Times Square), particularly in the Upper West Side.

I walk everywhere and almost never experience pedestrian gridlock. Even on the most crowded streets.

The only such experience I’ve had in recent memory was a few months ago when the police roped off and shut down a stretch of 58th Street in Maspeth, Queens for a couple of days due to a criminal investigation. (There had a near abduction and robbery ant a local business establishment.)

The traffic engineers should turn their attention elsewhere.

Some people love to fret, complain, and worry about any and all perceived inconveniences, but, believe me, the walkers can and will continue to do just fine.



— Roger W. Smith

     June 2016



See also:



New York Public Library




Below are photographs of the main research library, New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, New York, NY.

A wonderful place — to visit; to do research; to find books that are long out of print; to read and reflect; to restore one’s sanity.

There’s no other public library like it.

Attracts readers and visitors from everywhere, yet never feels crowded.

Open and welcoming to all. No fees or permissions required.

Knowledgeable staff ready and eager to serve you.

Incredible resources.








photographs by Roger W. Smith















Pete's version, modified by Roger, of Aug 15 NYPL photo.jpg




main reading room - NYPL 1-28-2019.jpg



main reading room, NYPL 12-6-2018












New York Public Library 3-4-2019.jpg






the Asian quota



In my blog on affirmative action (June 26, 2016)

I observed that there exists an Asian quota in college admissions (affecting Asian-American students, that is), similar to a Jewish quota in college admissions that once existed.

It is an insidious and unfair that college admission officers won’t acknowledge or admit to — they deny the very existence of such policies or practices. It’s something akin, if I may paraphrase from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, to saying: “all applicants are equal, but some applicants are more equal than others.”

Listed below are some recent articles in the subject, in order of publication, most recent first.



— Roger W. Smith

  June 2016 (updated January 2017)










Roger W. Smith, email to a friend, January 30, 2017:



I noticed an article in today’s Times:

“White Students’ Unfair Advantage in Admissions,” by Andrew Lam, The New York Times, January 30, 2017

which I feel is excellent and makes sound, substantiated points.

I am sharing it with you because a few months ago, we were discussing Asian American quotas in college admissions. At the time, you said that you were not aware that it was a problem or that this type of discrimination existed.

At that time, I said to you I was against affirmative action, which I feel is reverse discrimination. We kind of agreed to disagree.

For a long time, I debated with myself about affirmative action and wasn’t sure what I thought. I believe I was initially for it.







articles re the Asian-American quota:



Are elite colleges biased against Asian Americans?

CBS News

May 25, 2016



Why are so many Asian Americans missing out on Ivy League schools?

The Guardian

May 24, 2015



Asian Groups Target Ivy League For Racial Discrimination

The Daily Caller

May 22, 2016



Fewer Asians Need Apply

City Journal

Winter 2016



The model minority is losing patience

The Economist

October 3, 2015



Former Ivy League admissions dean reveals why highly qualified Asian-American students often get rejected

Business Insider (

June 10, 2015



To get into elite colleges, some advised to ‘appear less Asian’

Boston Globe

June 1, 2015



Asian Americans Deserve Better in Ivy League Admissions

The Huffington Post

May 28, 2015



Harvard’s odd quota on Asian-Americans

Chicago Tribune

May 23, 2015



Harvard discriminates against Asians as it once did to Jews

New York Post

May 19, 2015



Asian American groups file racial quotas complaint against Harvard University

The Guardian

May 16, 2015



For Asian Americans, a changing landscape on college admissions

Los Angeles Times

February 21, 2015



How to Beat the Asian Quota at Elite U.S. Colleges

Synergy Educational

September 25, 2014



Statistics Indicate an Ivy League Asian Quota

op ed

New York Times

December 3, 2013



Is the Ivy League Fair to Asian Americans?

The Atlantic

December 21, 2012




Asians: Too Smart for Their Own Good?

op ed

New York Times

December 19, 2012



The Myth of American Meritocracy

The American Conservative

November 28, 2012




“White Students’ Unfair Advantage in Admissions” (op ed)

The New York Times

January 30, 2017



42nd Street in the rain

I took this photo in April 2016 on 42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Manhattan is a wonderful place.

The New York Public Library — a surprisingly uncrowded, peaceful facility that invites study and scholarship, that welcomes and affords pleasure to the user, and that is staffed by knowledgeable librarians ready to assist you — is to the left.

— Roger W. Smith

42nd Street, April 11, 2016.JPG

Lee Bollinger on diversity




“Diversity is not merely a desirable addition to a well-rounded education. It is as essential as the study of the Middle Ages, of international politics and of Shakespeare.”


— Lee Bollinger, President, Columbia University






Columbia University president Lee Bollinger believes that diversity is essential to a liberal education. How essential he spelled out in the above oft quoted remark.

What a shame that Shakespeare didn’t think to write a play about it; that medieval theologians did not debate or write about it; that it does not tend to be a central issue in international relations or discussed by world leaders in summit meetings.

Just think, a student could be getting the benefits of Shakespeare’s undeniable “writing skills” (we must grant him that), for example; improve his or her vocabulary and diction while at the same time broadening horizons with respect to tolerance and understanding of “others” — of characters like Othello and Shylock, for example.

Shakespeare’s could have used his plays to impart hortatory lessons: racism in Othello, anti-Semitism in The Merchant of Venice, ageism in King Lear, sexism in The Taming of the Shrew, and so on. With an inventive mind like Shakespeare’s, the possibilities for politically correct instruction are huge.

Too bad Shakespeare never thought of it.

Does not speak well for Shakespeare. No wonder his status and desirability as an anchor in the curriculum (he used to be required reading in high schools) have been lowered a bit. Too bad he didn’t have the benefit of a twenty first century education. Come to think of it, he only attended grammar school! And, there was no diversity training then. So much the worse for The Bard and his benighted fellow students.


— Roger W. Smith

   August 27, 2016

Professor Joachim Gaehde








Brandeis University Art History professor Joachim Gaehde passed away three years ago. I had not thought about him for years and learned about his death from an online obituary:

May I be permitted a few words about the professor and his course?

“Gem” is a good word for Prof. Gaehde. He was very dedicated and serious in class, but you could tell that he was a very warm person.

I learned things from his obituary that I never knew and about which, when taking his course years ago, I had no clue:

that he was a Jewish refugee from Germany;

that he had two children who survived him;

that his wife, Christa Gaehde (nee Christa Maria Schelcher), “was renowned in the field of conservation and restoration of art on paper, and worked for many of the top American museums.”

I took two courses with Professor Gaehde: one on early medieval art and one on the art of the high Middle Ages.

I loved the courses; they complemented the ones I was taking with Professor Norman F. Cantor on medieval history.

I barely passed. I got a C in one of the two semesters and a C- in the other semester.

Art history was never my strong point. I am especially bad at architecture (e.g., church architecture). I still can’t for the life of me tell what a flying buttress is.

But Professor Gaehde was a dedicated, enthusiastic teacher and a fine lecturer. He introduced us to much fine, rich, and beautiful art — particularly illuminated manuscripts, many of which are at the Morgan Library in New York City.

He would note that this or that illuminated book was at the Morgan Library, and I would be saying to myself, “that’s funny, wouldn’t they be in a MUSEUM rather than a LIBRARY?”

Professor Gaehde was not an easy grader, but I liked him and his course and got a lot from it, despite my subpar performance. It shows that grades can be a misleading indicator (sometimes) of the value of educational experience.

What I most enjoyed was the illuminated manuscripts that we learned about – mainly, the Carolingian, Gothic, and Romanesque manuscripts and the complex, fascinating Irish art, the former including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the latter the Book of Kells.

I rarely missed a lecture.



— Roger W. Smith

      June 2016