1. Homelessness, we learned this week, is a relative term—and a fighting word. In her story “The Near-Fame Experience” (August 13), Jennifer Senior quoted Jay McCarroll, winner of the first season of Project Runway, this way: “I haven’t been living anywhere for two years. I sleep at other people’s houses. I sleep here if I’m drunk”—referring to his workspace. That quote is verbatim from the tape, and verified by fact-checkers. However, after it appeared in print, McCarroll’s story started to change. First, he spoofed the idea that he was homeless by making YouTube videos of himself on the street, with a cardboard sign reading WILL DESIGN FOR FOOD. Funny! Then a friend of his told the New York Post’s “Page Six” that he was being sarcastic with our reporter and that he actually lived “in a beautiful building on the Upper West Side.” Not so funny! If this is true, why had his publicist left this message on Senior’s voice-mail days earlier: “His studio is a live/work space, and it might not be ideal, but it is more than a lot of people have in New York City, and he pays rent every month”? We stand by our story, as well as our ability to detect sarcasm.
2. Some readers were surprised to learn in Jennifer Gonnerman’s story “The Deliverymen’s Uprising” (Aug 13) that New Yorkers are not terribly generous tippers, a finding that moved Dixie Darlings to declare that she is now “a minimum three-dollar giver.” The blog Zimelala advised people to “read it and think of it next time you trade cash for lo mein at your doorstep.”
3. In “Comments” last week, we quoted a reader displeased with the geographical dispersion of the restaurants listed in “Cheap Eats” (July 30–August 6). But her opinion that the list skews to “Fort Greene/Williamsburg/Jackson Heights” is not supported by the data. Here are the real numbers: Of the 69 places in the issue, a total of 8 are in those three neighborhoods, which is the same number as are in midtown Manhattan.
We asked Project Runway stars how they felt about Jennifer Senior’s article.
“I thought [Bravo president] Lauren Zalaznick was very clear on her position. Bravo’s in the business of making television, not making fashion careers. I never expected them to do a damn thing for me when it was over. But I thought [the editors] purposefully picked an unflattering picture of me for the cover.”
Laura Bennett, Season Three
“Jennifer Senior has done an excellent job of depicting the strange paradox in which we 'graduates' of Project Runway exist. When I encounter the odd someone on the street who says, 'You were great on that show!' and 'Oh, you do such beautiful work!,' I eschew the impulse to say, 'You’ve said that in the wrong order.'”
Andrae Gonzalo, Season Two
“I love the irony of the cover! Put the biggest star on the cover of a not-so-glamorous but realistic article about Bravo’s mostly stale programming and embarrassing dynamic with their ex-bedfellows. Santino, over at 33! In defense of Bravo: If you feel used, move on; walk it off; pray you didn’t catch anything.”
Santino Rice, Season Two