1 New York’s latest cover story focused on the millions of women pushed out of the labor force during the pandemic (“All Work, No Pay,” February 1–14). On Instagram, the cover inspired many women to share their own experiences: @brittboozle wrote, “2/24 is my last day. Employers pretending like it’s working because we’ve done it for almost a year doesn’t mean it’s working.” Dabney Ross Jones added, “I’m one. I have sent out so many resumes, I even tried working retail. It did not work out. I am scared I will never have a traditional 9-5 job ever again.” Ellen Santistevan said, “This is the first time in my entire life I’ve had to deal with the unemployment system (and fortunately our state has a well-run system) but it is still very nerve-racking. My benefits will definitely expire before the end of the school year. The choices we have to make, to divide our attention between our commitments, has really put the squeeze on us.” In her essay for the issue, Angela Garbes wrote about her own working life in quarantine, arguing that the damage will be long term (“The Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story,” February 1–14). Senator Elizabeth Warren responded, “Make no mistake: This pandemic has set women back, with lifetime consequences. We need big, structural change to tackle this crisis head on — like universal child care, universal pre-K, and paid leave.” New York lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul said, “During the pandemic, women — especially women of color — have lost much more than just work. Women have lost wages, protections, upward trajectory, and a sense of identity and community.”
2 In “The Nightmare Share,” Bridget Read documented how a seemingly innocuous short-term renter and her daughter have nearly cost a West Village resident her home (February 1–14). Reader Sheila Quirke called the story a “nightmare scenario courtesy of mental illness, global pandemic, eviction moratoriums, and a legal system that doesn’t always protect victims.” And Otegha K. Uwagba wrote, “I don’t think ‘nightmare’ is strong enough to describe this roommate from hell story.” Another reader, @bigseb31213, said, “The thing that always baffles me about grifter stories like this is that the grifter always seems to have access to a lawyer. The victims usually end up broken by attorney fees, but the grifter never seems to have a problem paying for a lawyer, no matter what else.” Gimlet Media’s Reyhan Harmanci said, “Being the tenant grifter or the owner mark: both are New York horror stories.” Other readers expressed deeper concern about the tenant in the story. Editor Diamond Sharp wrote, “It strikes me that this woman ran circles around CPS as well. Black parents get their children taken away for far less. A middle-class white man wasn’t able to get custody of his child even though the courts knew the mother had the kid in unstable and unsafe living conditions? The school knew the child was barely in school and they just didn’t say anything?” @mumphrey added, “I don’t understand why this story about New York roommate drama involving a mentally unwell single mother merited this kind of coverage.” @jaloraso tweeted, “Only a New York real estate story could make me furious at a pandemic eviction moratorium.”
3 Irin Carmon’s profile of Sonia Sotomayor considered what a liberal justice is to do in the Supreme Court’s current conservative era (“Reintroducing Sonia Sotomayor,” February 1–14). On Twitter, @Cait_Esq responded, “This is the profile Sotomayor deserves. More than anyone on the court today, she does the work — calls out choices on the shadow docket, writes the dissents.” Hakeem Jefferson, a political-science professor at Stanford, commented, “Sotomayor is so good. And her experiences as a professional woman of color are so familiar to those of us who don’t look or sound like what a [fill in the blank] is supposed to look or sound like. Oh, and the racism & sexism she has endured are familiar, too.” Columbia Law fellow Ashraf Ahmed was more skeptical of Carmon’s depiction of Sotomayor: “Ms. Carmon’s piece on Justice Sotomayor was both darkly predictable and deeply concerning. Justice Sotomayor has taken up Justice Marshall’s (and Justice Thomas’s) mantle, but not in the way Ms. Carmon would like. Marshall’s intellect and work ethic were often questioned and Justice Thomas was cast as a Scalia-lite; Sotomayor critiques are old wine in new bottles. Second, it’s concerning to see more Justice hagiography from Ms. Carmon. Justices are the most powerful unelected officials in America. When politicians’ celebrity collapses, we can vote them out. We don’t have direct levers with Justices and cults of celebrity don’t help.” Jess Morales Rocketto commented, “La Reina Sonia is everything you thought RBG was and she’s got great earrings.” Other readers resented the comparison to the late Justice Ginsburg. Scott Coleman wrote, “They’re not even close in terms of the bench. Ginsburg walked in shoes that many never can.” And @jtp2106 responded, “I like Justice Sotomayor a lot, but can we just not do this shit again. Stop Notorious RBGing people.”
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*This article appears in the February 15, 2021, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!