April 25, 2005

Poor Little Rich People
As I read the surreal “Don’t Hate Them Because They’re Rich” [by Daniel Gross, April 18], my interest quickly turned to disgust. A good portion of my day working at a nonprofit community health center is spent balancing quality care against what my uninsured patients can afford. How am I ever going to get the image of a $19 hot dog out of my head while having to convince someone that the $20 he needs to spend on antibiotics is well worth it?
—Susan Weiss, Forest Hills

Hooray for the rich! I was recently at a fussy brunch downtown when the conversation turned to where we all lived. When I mentioned my way-uptown address, a very rich girl sitting across from me blithely drawled, “I always thought anything above 96th Street was another planet.” Rather than be offended, I should have thanked her for driving up my equity and should have proudly stated that over the past three years, our apartment has more than doubled in value as a result of attitudes like hers.
—Audrey Darby, Manhattan

The very wealthy in New York City create at least 150,000 jobs (some quite well paying), give us world-class health care and cultural institutions, and pay nearly $3 billion in income taxes. But there’s a dark side. You report that the superrich have converted a couple of public buildings into private homes, and that they present a barrier to the Everyman living on Central Park West. They make the merely wealthy feel inadequate. And they don’t share their lavish bonuses with their therapists. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
—Tony Gajda, Great Neck, N.Y.

Is it really good for a neighborhood when the $30,000-a-year secretaries give way to the $90,000-a-year sommeliers? Many of us in the creative class are fleeing the city to more affordable places where the pressure of paying exorbitant rent doesn’t get in the way of the creative process. It isn’t difficult to imagine a future New York with few of us around. No one wants this, as there is little charm in a city made up exclusively of hedge-fund managers and investment bankers.
—George Hanna, Brooklyn

If all these local millionaires subsidize our civic services, it’s not because they’re obliging but because they can’t control how their tax money is distributed. I suspect that a lot of these hotshots buying multi-million-dollar apartments would gladly opt out of funding subways, parks, and libraries if they could, because they seldom use them.
—Nicole Dykman, Manhattan

Pop Goes the Weasel
Upon reading Jonathan Mahler’s “What Rupert Wrought” [April 11], I thought that New York Magazine must be starting a series on modern-day villains. The king of faux news is a good start. Be prepared: It will be a very long run.
—Bill Neuschulz, Garden City, N.Y.

Open Season
that an armadillo and a leopard had to die for vanity and bad taste is a testament to the benighted souls who believe that New York is the center of the universe [“The New Eccentrics: Brooklyn Baroque,” by Alexandra Lange, April 11]. Step outside. Your air is foul, and your streets are filthy. Please don’t bring your dead world into mine.
—Richard Bickel, Apalachicola, Fla.

I was interested to read that Mark Haldeman doesn’t eat meat but has dead animals hanging in his home. Thank goodness his sweet French bulldog is not hanging on the walls … yet.
—Carole Ellis, Los Angeles, Calif.

Unwelcome Guest
After reading “Wit: Christopher Guest” [“Movies,” by Adam Sternbergh, April 11], I think that Guest has got to be self-loathing, because the behavior he criticizes is his very own. His negative attitude toward pontificators is contradicted by his own statements. I don’t need Guest to tell me what’s funny and what isn’t.
—Plex Barnhart, Atlanta, Ga.

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April 25, 2005