MARCH 22, 1958
NEW YORK—Congress has not been too generous in setting up the United States exhibition at the Brussels World's Fair. While our building will be near the Russian pavilion, we will not have nearly as interesting a program as they will have.
One of the things the Soviets plan to do is distribute, free of charge, a tri-weekly, multilingual newspaper called the Sputnik.
Of course, the United States has planned nothing of this kind. So seven students at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, believing that an American newspaper representing the highest standards of American journalism could play a big role at this fair, want to put out a five-time-a-week bilingual newspaper.
They offer their services without pay, but they need financial support. They have the support and encouragement of the office of High Commissioner for the Brussels fair and also the support of Edward W. Barrett, dean of the School of Journalism and of Professor John Foster of the faculty, who has agreed to work with them as an adviser.
But these students need funds for this project and that the World's Fair cannot give them. To produce a newspaper, even for a short time, requires considerable money.
I am not sure whether anyone will think this enterprise worth supporting with subscriptions, but these seven young people can be reached through the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. Working on the project are six boys and one girl, so I am going to give you the girl's name, Nancy Quirk. They certainly have ambition, courage, some experience and expert advice, and giving them financial help would be a cheap way of getting something that probably will fill a real need.
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I think I have said before how I feel about the proposition to make a broad roadway through Washington Square in New York City, but I would like to repeat that I consider it would be far better to close the square to traffic and make the people drive around it, as they do around Gramercy Park, than to accept the reasons given by Robert Moses, Commissioner of the Department of Parks, to ruin the atmosphere of the square.
Mr. Moses has said that the reason for this roadway is to "give the commercial benefit of the name Fifth Avenue to the group of property owners who are rehabilitating the property south of Washington Square." This is largely done, of course, at public expense.
Any name which is given to the street running south below the square can be picturesque and just as charming as changing a roadway and the character of the square.
I would have liked to see the square kept with at least the north side retaining its old houses, which had dignity and charm. But if now we put a highway through and around the archway or even remove that historic landmark, there will be no definite end to Fifth Avenue. The trees will go, the traffic will be greater. There will be no peace and quiet for those who enjoy the Square at present. Fifth Avenue will become an avenue for heavy traffic, like any other avenue in that area, and I cannot see the need.
I join with Lewis Mumford and the Joint Emergency Committee in their desire to keep the square itself a historic place. Too little emphasis is put in this city on points of historic interest, and I cannot bear to see this last little bit wiped out without at least entering a protest.