1. In New York’s most recent issue, Justin Davidson surveyed Hudson Yards, “a privatized idyll, where the concept of public good stops at the property line,” and Carl Swanson introduced us to the developer behind it, Stephen Ross (“I Have a Feeling We’re Not in New York Anymore,” February 18–March 3). James A. Parrott, director of economic and fiscal policies at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School, explained, “Dripping with irony in this Amazonian age is the fact that there has been no public outcry over Hudson Yards. This monument to excess and elitism courtesy of Related and other mega-developers benefits from billions in public subsidies and tax breaks. The biggest billionaire developer on the dole, Stephen Ross’s Related, has been waging war on construction unions. And don’t forget, rather than improving the subway, it was Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s idea to spend $2.5 billion of city tax dollars to extend the 7 line to Stephen Ross’s doorstep.” Adrian Benepe, former city parks commissioner, wrote, “Davidson raises an interesting issue: Do we need to depend on private developers to design and build our new public spaces? Regardless of how these brand-new spaces function and look 10 or 100 years from now, we must never lose the zeal and will to build great public spaces, commissioned by public officials and agencies. After the huge successes of the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park, and the revival of the Bronx River, where are the great new parks of the future for a Gotham that continues to grow?” Architecture critic Donald Lindeman replied, “The design values of Hudson Yards are especially underwhelming, in part since the major towers are all speaking their own design language and so end up talking to themselves.” And a neighbor of the new development, Bill Schaffner, wrote, “I have seen these buildings go up. I’m not wild about them, but they are better than that &*@%ing stadium that was going to be built.”
2. Reeves Wiedeman went to Mexico to find out “Who Killed Tulum?” (February 18–March 3). Eddie Gomez commented, “I’ve been going to Tulum since the early 2000s and it’s a shame … how out of control, rampant, unregulated development [in] Tulum has become … If humans are good at one thing, it’s their ability to cause destruction and ruin.” Juan M. Gonzalez tweeted, “So true. Such a sad story, especially for some of us that call the area home. My hopes are that this article will stop the fashion and party crowds from visiting.” And Jo-Ann Shain wrote, “I own a retirement condo in Tulum and live there 6 months of the year. Although the article delves into the many urgent issues facing Tulum, it fails to adequately address the organized resistance to Tulum’s destruction. There are dozens of groups and organizations dedicated to addressing Tulum’s needs, with an eye toward halting the ‘Playa del Carmenization’ of our community. It is a daunting task, as we face entrenched corruption, resistance from developers, and unbridled greed from many sources. Fortunately, there are many people working together to try and stop, and hopefully reverse, the unsustainable growth that threatens Tulum’s future. I am cautiously optimistic that we will succeed.” After the story was published, Simon Levy, Mexico’s undersecretary of tourism policy and planning, tweeted, “What has occurred in Tulum over the years has compelled us to initiate the strategic and urgent work of converting it into a Sustainable Tourist Development Zone … It’s time now to stop the reality where the great tourist paradises coexist with the hells of marginalization.”
3. Bethy Squires brought together former child actors and ersatz rivals Macaulay Culkin and Devon Sawa so they could discuss their former stardom, Twitter rows, and what kind of cow they’d rather be (“The Fake-ish Feud of the Former Child Actors,” February 18–March 3). Culkin remarked upon the headline, “It’s not fake. He hates me,” to which Sawa replied, “Where did they even get that picture of us in Vegas?!” Commenter lknovak declared, “This was an absolutely delightful read.” Julie Tremaine said, “I’m not sure how or why the universe gifted this … story, but here you go.” And David Onda saw potential for future collaborations: “Honestly, I’d love to see a Culkin-Sawa project of some sort. There’s something there.”
*This article appears in the March 4, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!