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May 23, 2005

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In Small Packages
I used to get winded walking up subway stairs, so in 1997, I had bariatric surgery [“My Life As a Thin Person,” by Jennifer Senior, May 16]. It infuriated me that the smaller I became, the more noticeable I was. Post-op, the only thing that got easier to do was, well, walking up a flight of stairs.
—Patricia Deluca, Brooklyn

I’ve gone from a size 22 to a size 6, and it is indeed amazing how much power comes with prettiness. I never went through the teenage hand-holding stage or learned how to be someone’s girlfriend. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone learning how.
—Julia Polinsky, Pearl River, N.Y.

What I found most interesting in “My Life As a Thin Person” was that only female patients were interviewed and photographed. I’m guessing there are some men out there who have had the surgery and would have liked to shed some light on their own psychological issues. The story only reinforced what is well known and pervasive in the media: There are completely different expectations for women’s bodies than for men’s.
—Lesley Pink, Brooklyn

Play Nice
Does Amy Sohn know any gay people [“Mating: Back in the Saddle Again,” May 16]? As a gay father of an adopted 13-month-old, who monogamously dated in New York City for five years before settling down, I wonder which New York she is writing about. The media still play to the self-loathing stereotype that all gay men want to hear about are club openings. The vast majority of us think “crystal” is something you pull out for Thanksgiving dinner, and haven’t set foot in a club since Madonna was Catholic.
—Danny Carragher, Manhattan

The Bitch on the Playground” [“Mating,” by Amy Sohn, May 9] should have discussed the casual racism in the dynamics between mommies and sitters. I’m an African-American mother of a bi-racial toddler who looks like his father. Mommies ignore me because I’m not a “real” mom (i.e., white), assuming I’m the sitter. I’d love to see Sohn analyze that playground battle.
—Kamyra L. Harding, Manhattan

Mocking Birds
Killing pigeons is not a sport, nor is it legal. [“ Intelligencer: Die, Pigeon, Die!,” by Corrie Pikul, May 16]. Must we all be forced to inure ourselves to torture in the 21st century? Pitching cruelty, whether to animals or people, is Donald Rumsfeld’s job. Not yours.
—Elizabeth Hess, East Chatham, N.Y.

As a property manager, I’ve seen brick walls permanently defaced by pigeons’ foul emissions, sections of steel on bridges eviscerated by the acid in their droppings. I would sooner breed and domesticate Norwegian rats than give even one bread crumb to a pigeon. Normal people don’t feed pigeons. Those who feed these pests are disturbed. In no other facet of our society are people allowed so openly to create a public health menace under the guise of compassion. Why these select few outcasts choose to perpetuate the flying filth we know as the urban pigeon is anyone’s guess. Perhaps a pigeon never craps on the hand that feeds it.
—Jonathan L. Posner, Manhattan

Everybody deals with the nuisance of dogs. Would anyone lie down on a poop-scooped sidewalk? Your promotion of this torture manual reminds us of the news claiming pigeons to be dangerous, which fostered cruel acts like people driving their bikes through flocks.
—Gela Kline and Al Streit, Manhattan There was an eerie resemblance between the photos of tortured pigeons and those of the Abu Ghraib victims. I’m furious that the only animals we respect are fuzzy ones on leashes.
—Johanna Clearfield, Brooklyn

Correction
In “The Ansonia: The Building of the Upper West Side,” by Steven Gaines (May 16), the photograph of a sign from Plato’s Retreat was incorrectly credited. It is by Allan Tannenbaum/Polaris.

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