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Comments: Week of January 20, 2014


1. When our annual “Where to Eat” issue landed on newsstands last week, readers were confronted by a rather unusual face—that of our heretofore-and-by-the-dictates-of-glorious-tradition “anonymous” food critic Adam Platt. In the introduction to his survey of the best restaurants in the city, Platt laid out his reasons for abandoning the “dated charade” of critic anonymity and his resolution to continue reviewing, no matter how many restaurateurs send extra goodies to his now-recognizable table (January 6–13). “Who are you kidding, Mr. Platt? If they know who you are, you will never experience the food and the service ­objectively,” argued a commenter on “Get better disguises or quit—and let a new, unknown critic take over.” “Any critic’s review will likely be the best-case scenario,” wrote another reader. “The real test is in what the paying public gets normally, and in these days of Yelp reviews, a discerning diner can read both the critics and the common folks and make a judgment.” “I feel somehow betrayed by you coming out,” complained another. “I don’t know why, but I always imagined you as a sort of Baron von Trapp, tall, debonair, and here you are a cuddly curmudgeon.” Platt’s fellow critics were more sympathetic—even relieved. “Smile!” tweeted the New York Times’ Pete Wells in response to Platt’s glum cover mug. “Had me nodding amen from the first sentence,” wrote Philadelphia magazine’s critic, Trey Popp, at the Foobooz blog. “Platt is right to reject the charade that ‘anonymity’ has become for him and many other big-time restaurant critics. A recognizable critic can still write honestly and insightfully about restaurants. Yet for some reason anonymity has not become a charade for me. I hope that’ll last as long as possible. Because true anonymity does have its perks. I like being a fly on the wall.”

2. “Affordability is a moving target: What should a middle-class person be able to afford, and what constitutes a denial of his or her dignity?” asked Benjamin Wallace-Wells in an essay introducing a survey of pie-in-the-sky proposals for how to address economic inequality in the city, published just before the inauguration of New York’s new liberal-reformer mayor, Bill de Blasio (The Dream of a Middle-Class New York,” January 6–13). “The city is expensive because it is in demand,” wrote one callous commenter on “If you want affordability, work for a better paying job or move somewhere else.” “Let’s face it: there’s no practical reason to live in New York—it’s claustrophobic, full of rats, and smells like pee,” argued another. “The only reason anybody chooses New York in the age of cars and the Internet is prestige.” Another disagreed: “NYC is not a luxury brand, and people don’t live there for the prestige,” he argued. “There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to live in Manhattan, in an outer borough, or the suburbs, such as convenience, commuting time and price, but prestige is really not what it’s about.” And while experts offered ideas in the magazine to make urban living more affordable, readers shared their own advice and proposals. “The single most needed reform to create more affordable housing in NYC is the phased-out abolition of rent control,” argued one reader, who was promptly rebutted by another, calling for the mayor to “stop the evisceration of rent regulation and make some pro-tenant appointments to the rent guidelines board.” Another reader offered a different theory to explain how the city had changed: “When I moved here NYC was a city for adults and young adults,” he wrote. “The notion that NYC should be super family friendly has created a distortion that has resulted in an army of strollers and double income households able to afford ­ludicrous rents.”

3. In a postscript to Steve Fishman’s December cover story on the war between Major League Baseball and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, last week we published a cache of e-mails between A-Rod and Yankees president Randy Levine that traced a souring relationship between the superstar suspected of steroid use and the boss hoping an MLB suspension would mean an escape from A-Rod’s enormous contract (The A-Rod E-mails,” January 6–13). “They are very, very weird,” noted Tom Ley on Deadspin. “Sorry, Alex. I don’t think Randy believes in u or is very proud of u anymore :(.” “The fact that the president of the New York Yankees makes PED ‘jokes’ in e-mails to a player suspected of PED use has to be a bit troublesome, no?” asked Mike Oz on Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog. “Isn’t it kind of like Bill Clinton watching Scandal?” (Isn’t it also a little disheartening to learn that the president of the Yankees uses emoticons in his e-mails?) “With this ship of fools running the show, it won’t be long before Yankee fans start to understand how Mets/Knicks/Jets fans have felt for years,” groused one reader on ­ “Welcome to the world of teams with bad owners, Yankee fans.” Or, as another put it, “No one show Randy Levine what Snapchat is, please.”

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