April 18, 2005

Model Citizen
I’m upset to read about Maggie Rizer’s growing up in a hick town surrounded by farms and people who don’t take pride in Watertown [“Stepdaddy’s Little Girl,” by Kate Pickert, April 11]. On behalf of most of us “hicks,” we are not something out of The Beverly Hillbillies. And besides, we’ve had much bigger stars than Maggie: Viggo Mortensen, Richard Grieco, Representative John M. McHugh, and Robert Lansing, just to name a few.
—Patricia Wolfe, Watertown, N.Y.

Decent Proposals
I really enjoyed Anita Jain’s article about arranged marriages [“Is Arranged Marriage Really Any Worse Than Craigslist?,” April 4]. I forwarded the article to many of my female friends, all of whom are grateful that they aren’t alone in their feelings, which are echoed eloquently in the piece. As a male of Indian origin, I feel bad that a lot of these women have such negative experiences with the Indian men that they meet.
—Ravi Soundararajan, Palo Alto, Calif.

If Amy Sohn thinks being married kills your social life, she needs a different circle of friends [“Mating: Diminishing Interest,” April 11]. My social life improved after getting married. My out-of-town single friends stay with my husband and me whenever they come to New York. That’s certainly not because we are boring. My local single friends call me when they go out for dinner, to parties, and for drinks. I’ve never had to sit them down and explain that I am married and not dead.
—Yamuna Ramachandran, Manhattan

Type A’s
During my twelve-year tenure as a real-estate broker in Manhattan, I learned that it’s all about the commission and nothing else [“No Business Like Shvo Business,” by Jancee Dunn, April 4]. Perhaps some big-time brokers are worried because Mr. Shvo’s boutique firm is taking a good cut of business from the industry’s behemoths. Go Michael!
—Jonathan E. Korn, Margaretville, N.Y.

I don’t think I ever enjoyed an article as much as I did the one written about Joe Lelyveld [“The Scoop of His Life,” by Stephen J. Dubner, March 28]. It’s awfully sad that these days, men of his caliber get overshadowed by the likes of Howell Raines and other “men” who dominate the media. Although Lelyveld’s and Bill Keller’s accomplishments and titles definitely qualify them as “big boys,” I prefer to think of them as the admirable gentlemen they are.
—Aaron Brown, Harlem

Shock Tale
Damien Hirst’s Mortuary [“Has Damien Hirst Jumped the Shark?,” by Mark Stevens, April 4] looks like a scene out of Six Feet Under. It’s neither creative nor shocking, though the last seems to qualify work as contemporary art, like Basquiat’s or Schnabel’s. The real art in this issue was Benjamin Lowy’s photography of the Fulton Fish Market in “Waking With the Fishes” [by Chris Smith]. Brilliant, moving, honest. This is the blood and guts of life.
—Tim Day, Milwaukee, Wis.

Haute Prix Fixe
I recently dined at the Bar Room at MoMA’s Modern, and I have had a queasy feeling about the experience ever since. “Modern Love” [by Adam Platt, April 4] helped me pinpoint exactly what I find to be so wrong with Danny Meyer’s new culinary venture. The message of the Modern is clear: The most compelling view of the sculpture garden, offered to all by the MoMA of old, is now available by reservation only for the truly affluent. And that’s simply not democratic.
—Debra Pickrel, Manhattan

A Good Spanking
John Simon’s review of Spamalot [“Medieval Times,” March 28] made me want to slap him with a large Norwegian fish. I don’t know what play he saw, but the performance of Spamalot I attended was a gurgling volcano of joy and silliness. A man behind me said he hadn’t been so pointlessly happy since he was a child. If such audience satisfaction is a sign of a Broadway failure, it’s the kind of failure that sideline players like Mr. Simon can only dream of inspiring.
—Jeffrey B. Hodes, Woodland Hills, Calif.

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April 18, 2005