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Letters to the Editor - August 9, 2004

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August 9, 2004

Room For A View
Ralph Gardner Jr.’s “Upper-Class Warfare at the Met” [July 19] raises one question: Do the effete contributors to the Metropolitan Museum Historical District Coalition really think they will garner the sympathies of other New Yorkers for the inconvenience of hearing “dynamite and traffic” or the noise of snowplows “to clear the place for people catching buses,” or seeing “steam coming out of the air-conditioning units”?
—Lesley Ross-Fishman, Manhattan

The Metropolitan Museum is getting a raw deal from the neighborhood’s upper-crust quality-of-lifers. The city should just acquire the real estate opposite the Met through eminent-domain laws. If the museum could move its offices as well as several other non-exhibition-space facilities across the street, it would relieve its growing pains for years to come.
—Jeff Guerrier, Manhattan

I would think the copious amounts of vapor at certain times of the year that cloud Pat Nicholson’s windows and obscure her view would be a major selling point of her palatial apartment. I can hear her broker now: “Some days you look out your window to see a photo-realistic view of the park, while on other days you see New York the way Monet might have painted it.” Just put a beautiful gilt frame around your window, Ms. Nicholson, and place a picture light above it. If this is more than the members of the MMHDC can bear, then there is nothing to stop any of these people from selling their apartments for mammoth profits and moving to Central Park West, where they have to endure only one parade a year instead of the year-round spectacle of processions along Fifth Avenue.
—Paul Johnston, Manhattan

As one who loves the Met, I am disappointed with its lack of concern for the welfare of the neighborhood around it. Residents who share the same air, streets, and park have been trying—first through meetings and lastly through litigation—simply to have the museum address important air- and noise-pollution issues during its planning of renovations.
—Edwin E. Bobrow, Manhattan

The current phase of work at the Met entails rebuilding the south wing. It is a crucial project, which will include the reinstallation of two of the museum’s most important collections—Roman and Islamic art. Although this undertaking imposes some inconvenience to nearby Fifth Avenue residents, it is no different from other temporary inconveniences in daily city life. As for the malcontents who think the museum is trying to put one over on them, I suggest they go to the museum when the work is complete. It will be an even greater source of wonder and delight. Afterward, perhaps they will thank those responsible.
—Austin B. Chinn, Manhattan

Back Talk
When good men behave badly, they make fools of themselves [“Payback,” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, July 19]. Lloyd Grove, Ian Spiegelman, and Doug Dechert acted petulantly. These guys deserved a lesson in humility. However, it’s unfortunate that Spiegelman had to pay such a big price for an e-mail involving a young blonde woman who feels bored after standing for a few seconds in a shallow pool.
—Richard de Thuin, Manhattan

President Pataki?
Under governor pataki’s leadership, Republicans have lost or been unable to regain numerous public offices [“The Pataki Puzzle,” by Joel Siegel, July 19]. Pataki’s lavish dispensing of taxpayer dollars to various special-interest groups to grease his 2002 reelection must have made the late liberal Republican governor Nelson Rockefeller roll over in his grave. The only way Pataki will get to Washington is as a tourist like you and me, certainly not as president.
—Larry Penner, Great Neck, N.Y.

War Stories
I cannot imagine what reporters like Chris Allbritton go through while covering the war in Iraq [“Witness: Fear Factor,” July 19]. His perspective on the fear, stress, and pleasant moments in between was fascinating. I hope it becomes a continuing series!
—Farrell Galt, Boston, Mass.

Reporters covering iraq have the option of embedding with U.S. troops and using them to get closer to the story. Instead, most of them now stay in highly fortified hotels. Of course, I don’t begrudge reporters who “hunker down, stock up, and stay off the streets” their caution or their right to blow off some steam. But I am bothered by the delusion that they are freer agents than they would be if they were embedded or that they are now somehow privy to a truer story than if they were out with the military, whose statements they greet with skepticism. It seems to me that they are exposing themselves to another kind of manipulation. Paul Wolfowitz, who scorned the press corps for sitting in Baghdad and publishing rumors, was right.
—Stephanie Gutmann, Manhattan

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