December 13, 2004

Downtown’s Clean Slate
The operative contrast in my analysis of Zev Borow’s satire [“Will the Last Hipster Please Turn Out the Lights?,” November 29] is “hipster” versus “New Yorker.” For the real New Yorker, there is never the slightest doubt that one is living in the center of the universe. For the hipster, there is no sense of place, just a tragicomic chase after a fleeting concept of cool that somehow seemed so much cooler just a moment ago.
—Brett Wilder, Brooklyn

After reading Zev Borow’s story, I recalled a quote that was in one of the first issues of Details magazine, in the early nineties: “Being hip is trying to be cool, being cool isn’t giving a shit if you’re hip.” So let the exodus of the “transient hipster” continue, and as always, the cool people will remain in New York.
—Anthony Caputo, Manhattan

“Hipsters”? More like annoying frauds! New York City only feels played out to them because their clan of so-called cool people is tired. Real New Yorkers (like me, a Bronx-born Brooklynite) are better off without them. They think they’re creative, but most of them haven’t lived through the kind of real-life hardships that cultivate character and intellect and breed creativity. Get a real job!
—Anika Bent-Albert, Brooklyn

New York, relinquishing its crown as the Hipster Capital of the World? To the likes of Omaha and Oakland? A real city is one that constantly reinvents itself, creating new scenes while casting off the old. Right now, Omaha is basking in the glow of indie-rock fame: Before the klieg lights illuminated this buttoned-up midwestern city, it was known mostly for steak and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom: not exactly the arbiter of everything hip. When the rock scene finally falls out of fashion, Omaha will revert to its former faceless self. What distinguishes the latest fad towns from New York City is that when the Williamsburg hipster craze dies down, something else will come along. In fact, the seeds of that “something else” probably are already being planted in some low-rent loft in a yet undiscovered part of the city. All hail New York, King of Cool.
—Bradley Davis, Omaha, Neb.

Hipsters are boring. They moved here on their parents’ dime in search of something to imitate. They made thrift stores expensive. They are the reason people call Bushwick “East Williamsburg.” An authentic community cannot be built on iPods, faux-hawks, and irony.
—Abigail Nedelka, Manhattan

The Everyman
During my ten years as an employee of Banana Republic in Aspen, Colorado, I witnessed firsthand why Mickey Drexler is successful [“Mickey Drexler’s Redemption,” by Meryl Gordon, November 29]. When he visited our store, he listened to what his front-line sales personnel had to say, and encouraged us to share our ideas. I took him up on his offer on one occasion and wrote him a letter. The day he received it, he called me to discuss my ideas and perhaps even implement them. You gotta love a guy who makes it to the very top and still stays connected to the hourly workers.
—Debby Bendl, Basalt, Colo.

Only in America can a kid from the Bronx take a jeans-and-T-shirt retailer to sales exceeding $14.5 billion.
—Steve Schlossberg, River Edge, N.J.

The Passion of the Mayor
As I read “A Mayor’s Race Blooms” [“The City Politic,” by Chris Smith, November 29], I realized that Michael Bloomberg is a loving, compassionate, generous leader—a spiritual person. For me, his good nature hasn’t been spoiled by wealth and pretense. I hope Bloomberg continues to have the strength to move forward with his mission and goals for his own life and the well-being of New York City.
—Fred Freitas, Indianapolis, Ind.

J’aime Jeunet
As a Francophile and cinephile, I was disappointed after reading Logan Hill’s interview with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet [“Movies,” November 29]. Why write a long review of Colin Farrell’s latest blockbuster and allot a much smaller space for an interview with one of the greatest contemporary directors? Is it because he’s French? Are those “freedom fries” you’re eating?
—Rebecca Leffler, Paris, France

Ingo’s Star
In “It Happened Last Week,” by Jim Holt [“Intelligencer,” November 29], you made reference to a “German lighting designer” responsible for the electric snowflake at 57th and Fifth Avenue. His name is Ingo Maurer, the Frank Gehry of light design, whose work can be seen in museums throughout the world. Similarly, in the photos accompanying Gary Indiana’s story on the East Village [“One Brief, Scuzzy Moment,” December 6], there’s a photo of a “doorman at the Mudd Club.” He was Haoui Montaug, one of the unsung heroes of downtown and an early victim of aids. These people deserve to be acknowledged with more than a passing mention.
—David Hershkovits, Manhattan

True Blues
Charles T. Buntin’s letter to the editor [“Letters: Purple Politics,” November 29] implies that blue states depend on red states for their well-being. The facts prove otherwise: Those federal taxes the reds love to hate come from us and go to them. Nine of the ten states that receive the most federal funding and pay the least are red. Eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most are blue. Nine of the ten lowest divorce rates in the nation are in blue states. Reds also lead the nation in murder rates.
—Bonnie Graham, Philadelphia, Pa.

Anne Stevens, a “Bronx-born, black, married female” who excoriates “strident and intolerant” liberals [“Letters: Blue IQ,” December 6], is probably too young to remember that without them, she might not have had the right to pull the lever for anyone on Election Day.
—Lois C. Schwartz, Manhattan

While Maura Jacobson’s puzzles are clever, the cryptic Guardian crossword was extra-challenging, and whenever I was able to get all the answers, there was a great sense of satisfaction, an “up” like no other.
—Kendall Wild, Rutland, Vt.

At last, Maura Jacobson’s crossword gets the full space it deserves. That’s your best renovation yet!
—Betty Perry, Nyack, N.Y.

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December 13, 2004