NOVEMBER 19, 1954
NEW YORK, Thursday—On Monday I went over to Pittsfield, Mass., from Hyde Park, had supper with my old friend, Mrs. Charles Fayerweather in New Lebanon, and spoke at the opening meeting, in Pittsfield, of a conference on foreign affairs which continued all day Tuesday.
I returned to Hyde Park Monday night and had a delightful day at home on Tuesday, seeing a little of my two granddaughters who live next door. Even baby Joan came over to tea with me and, though she much prefers gentlemen to ladies, she permitted a kiss which is a most unusual favor!
Children seem to grow even though you have only been away ten days and I have so many grandchildren I don't see for months at a time that I am always discovering how quickly changes come in the early years of life.
Tuesday evening, after reading to the group at Bard College, I drove into New York and on Wednesday I spent a good part of the day at Brandeis University near Boston, returning late Wednesday night.
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The other day, I was sent a plea from the people living in the villages of Grand View and Piermont on the Hudson River, south of Nyack. They requested that attention be called to the fact that the connecting link of the New York Thruway to the New Jersey Turnpike should be changed so that these villages would not be destroyed. They have Mr. Harriman's assurance that he will do all he can to save them, but they realize that the Republican legislature and the Thruway authorities may not be amenable to a Democratic governor.
So, in the few days that are left before work really starts on this link, they are making desperate efforts to save their homes and the investment in permanent improvements which will be lost if the Thruway link is not changed. They want to see it built on the west slope of Clausland mountain which is largely uninhabited, virgin territory. The Rockland County planning board says that this plan will mean the condemnation of only a few homes and will cause only a nominal reduction in the township's tax base which will be quickly overcome, they think, by the development of this open country. No villages, schools or hospitals will be destroyed because there are none in this area.
The decision on this is probably a difficult one for the Authority to make. It may well be that this new route proposed may seem to them less advantageous, and construction costs will probably be the most important factor in the decision. But human values are worthy of consideration and to destroy two whole villages seems wanton neglect of values.