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June 6, 2005

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Food, Glorious Food
The photographs in “The Whole World on Your Grill” [by Gillian Duffy, May 30] were so artful, they’ve convinced me that I should buy a grill—possibly the gas grill featured in “Sizzling Gadgets.”
—David Meredith, Palisades, N.Y.

Shiny Happy People
Anya Kamenetz’s “Baristas of the World, Unite!” [May 30] is proof that no matter how hard a company tries to please its employees, some still complain. As a nearly two-year veteran of Starbucks, I can say that their policies work. The point of such an acute focus on positivity is to help customers and partners alike feel better about their day. If people are too jaded to appreciate such a rare sentiment in corporate America, it’s their own fault, not Starbucks’.
—Scott Evans, Brooklyn

When I started at Starbucks, I read Pour Your Heart Into It, by Howard Schultz; I recommend that all Starbucks partners read it. You might want to understand the company before you go running to ruin it.
—Samantha Bark, the Bronx

Urban Mageirocophobics
enrique norten would purchase an $80,000 kitchen without knowing how to cook [“Economy of One: How Would Enrique Norten Spend $100,000?,” by Sarah Bernard, May 23]. Why is it that New Yorkers take delight in informing others that they can’t cook, as if it were an achievement? As if mastering speed-dial to order takeout were a goal everyone should try to attain!
—David Marchisotto, Stewartsville, N.J.

Flexible Relationships
Why am I reading about a pair of adulterers, photographed like some self-regarding society-page wedding announcement [“Intelligencer: An Illicit Yoga Love Story” by Abigail Pogrebin, May 23]? Rodney Yee’s jealous of his girlfriend Colleen Saidman’s guy friends because he knows there are other Yees running around, screwing married women. The same goes for Saidman, who’d better keep in mind that she’s given Yee license to do to her the same thing he did to his ex-wife, Donna. There’s always going to be a younger, firmer Colleen in class, with more gravity-defying breasts, who doesn’t care that Mr. Guru is married.
—Reginald Humphrey, Manhattan

What Goes Up . . .
One interesting omission from your believably ominous real-estate forecast was the fact that Mayor Bloomberg has raised property taxes an unprecedented 18.5 percent, further driving up housing prices [“That Sinking Feeling,” by Henry Blodget, May 23]. Let’s see what happens over the next few months; Mike’s reelection may hinge on it.
—Peter Gleason, Manhattan

Overstayed Welcome
I was really offended by what Jennifer Connelly said about Roosevelt Island in reference to her film Dark Water [“Brownstone of Death,” by Logan Hill, May 16]. Ms. Connelly and her movie crew came into our town, disrupted our way of life for weeks on end, changed the structure and appearance of one of our apartment buildings to look like a slum tenement, accepted our hospitality, and then had the nerve to bad-mouth our island.
—Nancy Brown, Roosevelt Island

Buck Wild
Your great story about the Ansonia Hotel brought back an old memory [“The Building of the Upper West Side,” by Steven Gaines, May 16]: Plato’s Retreat! In those days, no one knew about aids. We danced in the nude, played Ping-Pong in the nude, and swam in the nude. The mattressed floor in the “orgy room” with a mirrored ceiling was wild, I’ll admit, but not seedy—just different.
—Jacqueline Fogel, Jamaica

My uncle Larry Levenson opened Plato’s Retreat in 1977. Before moving to a larger space on 34th Street, it enjoyed a three-year run at the Ansonia—a megasuccess, thanks to Larry’s egalitarian approach. Unlike Studio 54, corpulent and old types were welcome. Just because you weren’t a model didn’t mean that you couldn’t feel sexy. Larry’s formula worked.
—Charlie Posner, Boca Raton, Fla.

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