March 27, 2006

Lillo Brancato Jr.
I just finished reading “The Lost Soprano” [by Steve Fishman, March 6] and had to prevent myself from vomiting. Lillo Brancato was lucky to be adopted at 4 months—but according to his mother, that’s why he is the way he is? Brancato grew up with loving parents and a roof over his head, yet he could not stay in school, could not hold a job, and thinks that his ex-girlfriend is “indirectly” responsible for his breaking into a vet’s home to steal drugs. I hope that while Brancato is serving his twenty-to-life for the death of Officer Enchautegui, he can figure out who really is responsible for his problems. What a delusional idiot!
—Joanne Torre Hyman, Longmont, Colo.

I am a friend and former neighbor of Steve Armento’s, the man accused of murder along with Lillo Brancato. Sure, Armento drank, but he never bothered anyone. He was a threat only to himself. Armento only started doing heroin again because of Brancato. Armento had tried for months to save Brancato from drowning himself; instead, Brancato pulled him under. I hope the Enchautegui family prevents him from making any money off this.
—Anne Obertance, Yonkers, N.Y.

Best Swimming Pool?
Your assertion that the 25-yard Manhattan Plaza Health Club swimming pool is “as big as they come in New York” [“Best of New York: Sweating the Details,” March 13–20] is hyperbole. It might have a retractable roof and an outdoor terrace, but as far as size is concerned, Manhattan Plaza doesn’t hold a kickboard to the Olympic-size pool at Asphalt Green on 91st and York.
—Ellen Summers, Manhattan

Revolutionary Law & Order
A recent plug by John Leonard for Dick Wolf’s latest spinoff [“Television: A Soap in Wolf’s Clothing,” March 6] described my role in the original Law & Order as that of a “Robespierre.” What gives? For those of you who might not know, Maximilien Robespierre was the murderous ideologist of the French Revolution. He was most assuredly not a good man like my character, Ben Stone. Executing France’s aristocracy wasn’t enough for Robespierre, who sent his former comrades to be guillotined during the Terror. Dick Wolf had his own share of purges: I watched the real genius behind Law & Order, executive producer Joseph Stern, leave after two years. Actors Richard Brooks and Dann Florek were summarily fired. Paul Sorvino was eased out because he’d repeatedly suffered from a respiratory ailment after working on New York street locations and wanted to work indoors. Chris Noth was icily informed that his contract hadn’t been renewed at the end of the fifth year. I’m running for president of the United States in 2008 on a third-party ticket, entering the race on a basically comic note, since no one in the mainstream press is taking me seriously, certainly not John Leonard. Or is he? Someone at New York is reading my editorials and articles on and, or Leonard’s French Revolutionary comparison would never have been made. No, Mr. Leonard, I didn’t play Ben Stone as a Robespierre. If you want to lay a French moniker on me, try Lafayette, who advised George Washington to abolish slavery. As Lafayette cried for an end to slavery, I’m declaring, “End abortion! Overturn Roe v. Wade!” The last great lion, Sir Winston Churchill, suffered from sudden depressions he called his “black dog.” Churchill’s occasional funk will prove a mild case of the blues when compared to the eternal despair about to descend on the American careerists of the Third Millennium. Once the breathtakingly self-evident truth about abortion enters their Princetonian, Yalie, Madison Avenue, spin-doctoring, Rolling Stone, New York Times, exploitative souls, the effect of that light upon their eugenics-inspired darkness will be like rabies in a raccoon. Dick Wolf and John Leonard are minor raccoons swept up in the rabies of American careerism.michael moriarty,
—Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Correction: In “Men’s Dress Shirts” (“Best of New York: Buying,” March 13–20), the shirt by Prada should have been described as having mother-of-pearl buttons.

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March 27, 2006