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Comments: Week of September 22, 2008

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1. Readers didn’t all profess to share Justin Davidson’s taste in architecture—what kind of critic would he be if they did?—but they were on the whole very much engaged by his mostly positive assessment of the shiny new city that has risen in our midst (The Glass Stampede,” September 15), as well as the gallery of before-and-after pictures that accompanied it. “Some buildings do get love,” wrote the blog Curbed in an admiring post, “but the real fun is the total slamjobs.” Chimera Obscura described it as an “awfully worthwhile” article, though admitted to a greater sense of sadness for the buildings that have been torn down: “I suppose I’ll always have Ben Katchor’s Julius Knipl comics to fall back on, for that New York that I’ve lost.” And a nymag.com commenter who lives near Norman Foster’s jack-in-the-box Hearst Building, which Davidson praised, offered a less rosy view: “What seems like a good idea on paper is not so great when you’re walking down Eighth Avenue and you’re blinded (as I’m sure the drivers are) by the glare coming off those buildings. There must be a better way.”

2. James J. Cramer displayed his penchant for fearless predictions by naming the exact date the housing market will bottom (The Bottom Line: On June 30, 2009, Buy an Apartment,” September 15) and set off a classic bulls-versus-bears debate on nymag.com. “The largest bailout in history occurs due to the recklessness of the two mortgage giants and in the same breath Cramer announces a turnaround in the housing industry to be less than a year away,” wrote one reader. “The gall of it all.” That view was quickly countered by another reader who said, “I’m a real-estate agent, and I just had my best month ever. Buyers who hesitate in this market will lose. Rates are improving, inventory is up, and sellers are realistic; it is a buyer’s ‘perfect storm.’ ” But another reader cautioned against planning one’s life around the housing market: “Buying a house just because ‘prices are good’ is what got us into this mess in the first place. The best reason to buy a home is because you’re ready to live there for five-plus years. Don’t buy just to avoid missing a bargain!”


3. The usual partisan fireworks erupted over John Heilmann’s cover story about how Sarah Palin has changed the presidential race (“The Sixty-Day War,” September 15), though we’ve noticed a change in the ideological tenor of the comments on nymag.com. Even as the election debates over the past year got more and more vicious, liberal politics generally predominated over conservative. Not so anymore. Opinions from the right are now, if anything, more often, and more vociferously, expressed: “I would like to know how Obama would react to a terrorist attack on America. Would he schedule an afternoon lunch with the terrorists in charge and try to talk sensibly with them?” … “Every woman I’ve talked to is enthralled to the point of tears that Palin is on the ticket. I’ve not seen this level of excitement in politics ever!” … “It’s slipping out of your hands, Obama supporters. How unfortunate for you.”

4. A memorial celebration of Clay Felker, the founding editor of New York Magazine who died this summer, will be held on Monday, September 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64th Street), where he will be remembered by many friends and colleagues including Tom Wolfe, David Frost, Gloria Steinem, Richard Reeves, and Lesley Stahl.


Correction: In “Après George le Déluge” (September 15), it should have been stated that Alex Rodriguez’s new contract with the Yankees is worth a guaranteed $275 million and is not a $25 million extension of his previous contract. Also, the Yankees will be able to trim $85 million in payroll this off-season because the contracts of Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, and Andy Pettitte are set to expire; Hideki Matsui is signed through the 2009 season.


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