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Comments: Week of January 4, 2010


1. For the fifth year running, our writers and editors pored over the events of the last twelve months to find those that best reflected our continuing passion for New York (“Reasons to Love New York,” December 21–28). Commenters on nymag .com echoed (and sometimes argued over) the 43 points raised, which ran the gamut from the sometimes bewildering tenacity of our local politicians to Brooklyn’s burgeoning lesbian nightlife scene. They cheered Emily Nussbaum’s tribute to Times columnist Gail Collins (No. 5). “By far the best op-ed writer at the Times,” wrote one. “I always feel a bit more sane after reading her columns. She can disagree without being disagreeable. Politics is best enjoyed with a smile and a laugh.” Other commenters took issue with Will Leitch’s comparison of A-Rod and Babe Ruth (No. 41). “A-Rod cannot compare to the Babe in home-run production, which is what the Yankees paid Ruth for. Ruth hit an average of one home run every 11.76 at bats. A-Rod has an average of over fourteen. So leave Ruth where he stands: on top of the pile.” The blog Curbed called attention to No. 33, in which three design firms reimagined Times Square, and labeled Field Operations’ contribution “The perfect balm for those of us who’ve been eagerly awaiting a new Honey, I Shrunk the Kids sequel.” Alice Quinn, the director of the Poetry Society of America and the subject of No. 21 (“Because We Fight Over Poetry”) wrote to clarify that she is not a poet herself. “I am, it’s true, the author of ‘Into the Glen Go the Bear and His Bride,’ ” she admitted, “but access to this document is strictly monitored!” But it was Reason No. 1—“Because There Was More Than One Miracle On the Hudson”—that attracted the most attention across the blogosphere and the international press. “It is so uplifting to read about good things happening to everyday people,” wrote one commenter about the couple that met through the crash-landing of US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River last January. “What a wonderful aftermath to come out of a near miss. Good luck to you both.” Blog Lemondrop said the couple’s story and photo shoot atop an FDNY boat “warms the heart, despite how cold a New York winter is.” Even the usually acid bloggers at Gawker were charmed by the couple. “Check out what a great relationship was borne from chaos,” they wrote. “Now if you excuse us, we are going to take a shower and book some flights through heavily goose-populated areas.

2. Big surprise: Adam Sternbergh’s essay questioning whether gentrification necessarily leads to the displacement of former residents (“What’s Wrong With Gentrification?” December 21–28) sparked a wide-ranging discussion online. Bigger surprise: The conversation was civil. Mostly. “When the city gives real-estate developers license to decide the character and destiny of working-class neighborhoods without any forethought for the existing communities, then gentrification is wrong,” argued one commenter. Another countered: “As someone who was born in the city and lived/grew up during the blighted era, I have an appreciation for these neighborhoods being revitalized through gentrification. People who like the old Times Square were never mugged or jumped there in the eighties.” “Of course there’s nothing wrong with cleaning up and revitalizing neighborhoods that need it,” rebutted a third. “But gentrification is another story. When the shoe repair is replaced by a Japanese frozen-yogurt shop, it’s the residents of that hood who suffer. Fro-yo might seem sexy in the short term, but everybody’s got shoes, no matter what the trend or economic climate.” The debate continued over at the blog Brownstoner (itself the subject of a feature piece by Sternbergh, “The What You Are Afraid Of,” in May 2008). “Gentrification involves not just new money displacing old poverty,” wrote commenter Montrose Morris. “It is a stew of issues of wealth, culture, racism, homophobia, paranoia, resentments, and expectations.” Another Brownstoner commenter argued, “A neighborhood is about people. However, I think it is just reality that sometimes prices in an area increase and certain people get priced out of a market. Technically I am a yuppie, and, yes, we suck. We like expensive coffee and Maclaren strollers. We’re self-entitled and obnoxious. But we also pay taxes and we won’t mug you, so unfortunately the old-timers will have to live with us.

3. Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite’s roundup of the city’s best soups (“Super Bowls,” December 21–28) inspired readers to submit personal favorites missing from the list. A selection: “An Choi on Orchard has the best pho broth!” “No Surinamese/Indonesian saoto? NYC is the only city that has a restaurant that serves it: Warung Kario.” “Veselka’s Xmas Borscht is the next best thing to being home for the holidays.”

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