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Comments: Week of June 15, 2009

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1. “Terrifically insightful”—that’s how the blogger and biographer Thomas Maier described Steve Fishman’s profile of Si Newhouse, the patriarch of Condé Nast (Si Newhouse’s Dream Factory,” June 8). Such positive sentiments were echoed throughout the blogosphere, where there was much praise for the poignancy of the portrait. Some also took the Condé Nast impresario to task for living in the past. On nymag.com, one commenter wrote, “As someone who works in print media, I wish Si & Co. would put their creative zest to work embracing digital media rather than clinging to the tired and broken model of print publishing. Just imagine if he committed $150 million or whatever he lost on Portfolio to a new online-only enterprise. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s gonna be this dinosaur. Great portrait of a dying breed of mogul, though.” Two members of the Florio family wrote in to counter what they believed to be Fishman’s negative portrayal of the late Steve Florio. “My father told stories that people wanted to listen to. He embellished because he lived in a world that demanded it,” wrote Kelly Florio Kasouf. “My father created an aura of appeal that attracted the best of the best in media. If he wasn’t as over-the-top as he was, or as passionate for Condé Nast, the appeal would have been lost in the pages.” His brother Tom Florio, the publishing director of Vogue Group, wrote, “I was saddened to see Mr. Fishman’s harsh portrayal of Steve Florio’s career at Condé Nast. Steve helped build an organization that thrived under his leadership and continues to thrive after his departure. He was proud of Condé Nast then and would be equally proud of the imprint he made on the company today.”


2. Hugo Lindgren’s story about the differing views on when the economy will recover (The Downturnaround Is Here,” June 8) brought out the doomsayers on nymag.com. “The economy has been in recession for more than two years,” wrote one commenter. “It’s about time someone in authority had the moxie to call it what it really is … Depression.” But one New York private-equity manager tried to look at the bigger picture: “I think people can’t quite distinguish between the economy and markets. They are not the same. There are many markets and many economies, which don’t behave the same way. That’s kind of the point of the bubble years—the economy was not sound, but markets prospered. Most people are really interested in one topic—will they be okay? (Or a variant—what can/should they do?) And that’s very different from questions about the economy or the market.” Then he added a folksy maxim: “Just because there is a storm—even a huge storm—doesn’t mean you’ll die or even get wet.”

3. Commenters on Sam Anderson’s essay about how David Letterman will deal with losing late-night foil Jay Leno (“The Culture Pages: Letterman vs. Mini-Letterman,” June 8) fell into five militant camps: Leno Haters, Conan Haters, Leno and Conan Haters, Letterman Lovers, and one brave Craig Ferguson Lover who said this about his man: “Smart, funny, and daily deconstructing the entire genre in the same way that Paar and Letterman once did.”

4. In S. Jhoanna Robledo’s story about weak sales in green buildings (“Real Estate: Unsustainable,” June 8), she reported that the Edge in Williamsburg had sold no units in the most recent quarter. That data is from the website Streeteasy .com, which hasn’t recorded a deal there in months. The Edge’s developers argue that they do not give their numbers to Streeteasy and that they have had a number of recent sales that haven’t closed yet and therefore wouldn’t appear in Streeteasy’s sweep of public records. They have declined to say how many units have in fact sold, though.


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