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Comments: Week of May 17, 2010

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1. Marshall Sella’s investigation into the hush-hush world of bedbugs pervading the Upper East Side (“Bedbugs in the Duvet,” May 10) had readers’ skin crawling in sympathy. “Enough to haunt your dreams,” declared Erica Butler at msnbc.com. A blogger at Curbed reveled in the exterminators’ stories of homes stuffed with vermin, but confessed, “We were too itchy to keep reading.” “As nightmares go, the NYC bedbug epidemic is top on my list,” wrote a blogger on the Montclair, New Jersey–based motherblogger.net. “[After reading] this excellent article on the Upper East Side’s secret service exterminators, I love New Jersey suburbs more than ever before.” Readers on nymag.com shared stories of time spent in the bedbug trenches. “I had an exterminator come in twice,” commented one. “My grandmother recommended boric acid, which I sprinkled near every damned crevice I could. It worked, but the fear of their return never goes away.” “There are few things in the world that can make you and your home feel as violated, broken, and completely, completely hopeless as a bedbug infestation,” wrote another. “They are taxing in every way possible, and the various scars linger; I can no longer sit on subway seats or really any public surface out of fear of bringing the plague upon myself once again.” The article, and particularly the exorbitant costs of delousing a home ($70,000 for one family interviewed), also inspired Jennifer Schultz at the New York Times Bucks blog to investigate whether bedbug infestations and their fallout were covered under homeowners insurance. (They’re not.)

2. Beth Landman’s “Intelligencer” post on the growing tendency of diners to digitally document their meals before eating (“Tweet and Eat,” May 10) caused a split among food lovers on nymag.com about the etiquette of dining out and the Twitter app Twiddish that encourages users to tweet pictures of their meals. “Taken many pictures of things I’ve made,” said a self-proclaimed food writer. “Never in a restaurant. It spoils the moment and meal, to be honest. Eat, enjoy, and then describe it.” “It makes you feel more comfortable ordering dishes that you had never tried before,” rebutted another. “And when you are spending an arm and a leg in Manhattan, having a guide that dishes on the dish was very helpful.” A food blogger offered advice to chefs who ban tweets: “I know pictures I’ve taken of my meals and posted on my blog have prompted my readers to visit restaurants. Bottom line is, let the food-blogging trend continue. It can only help your business.”


3. Justin Davidson’s argument that New York City’s skyline needs more grand gestures like Jean Nouvel’s Tower Verre (“The Point of the Skyline,” May 10) also sparked debate. “New York has always been defined by a dynamic drive to move forward that is most literally displayed in the city’s dramatic and thrilling thrust into the sky,” wrote reader Michael Texier. “We need to stop giving in to the tyranny of the various committees that define what this city should be. If One World Trade Center has proven anything, it is that building by consensus will give you nothing but a compromise with the lowest common denominator. We should all be embarrassed to accept this fate for our city.” “Can’t they build [Tower Verre]—and get the verticality they want—somewhere it won’t ruin the quality of life for the people on those blocks?” opined a commenter against the building. “Why tread on people’s lives to make an urban/artistic statement when you don’t have to?”

4. The “Topic” page’s analysis of mannequin maker Rootstein’s new 27-inch-waisted male model and the growth in male anorexia (“Manorexic Mannequins,” by David Colman, May 10) prompted follow-up articles in the Daily News and One India, as well as coverage on local cable news channels from Maine to Tampa. Allure’s Daily Beauty Reporter blog also nodded to the new trend toward slim and highlighted the feature’s “hysterical list of famous skinny men.” And a cadre of slim men took to nymag.com to praise the super-skinny silhouette: “I usually have to bring in and tailor my own garments. Also, most slender men are naturally thin, as I am. I have an amazing metabolism that most women and some men would love.” Another: “Hey, some of us have slimmer physiques. Just because loads of Americans are fat slobs doesn’t mean those of us who aren’t have to be tossed aside as andro-boys.” Not everyone was so pleased: “I have a 44-inch chest and a 32-inch waist and I will crush these puny mannequins!

5. Last week, contributing editor Will Leitch, a regular presence on nymag.com’s Sports Section blog and the co-author of this week’s cover article, came out with his fourth book, Are We Winning?, a meditation on fatherhood and baseball. He will be reading at the Barnes & Noble at 150 East 86th Street on June 15.

Send correspondence to: comments@nymag.com


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