June 12, 2006

The New New York
As a business owner who has been investing in West Harlem for decades, I was disappointed by the big-guys-know-best theme of “Building the New New York” [by Alexandra Lange, June 5]. The history of New York’s growth is that of thousands of small businesses’ building the city brick by brick. The story’s thesis sends a chill down the spines of those of us who distrust power brokers obsessed with reshaping Gotham. As for Columbia’s proposed new eighteen-acre campus north of 125th Street, most of us in the neighborhood actually welcome it. What we don’t want is Columbia’s using eminent domain to force property owners out. Robert Moses’s downfall was in never learning the lessons of negotiation and compromise. Columbia would do better to follow the Jane Jacobs model.
—Nick Sprayregen, Manhattan

Your feature about New York City in 2016 was interesting. It’s exciting to know that the best is yet to come. I wish that city officials would mandate that every new building (both commercial and residential) use energy-efficient technology like solar panels, geothermal technology, and other energy alternatives so that we might lead the nation in emancipating ourselves from reliance on foreign oil.
—Paul Feiner, Greenburgh, N.Y.

Regan Hofmann is truly one of our living angels in America [“The Coming Out of Regan Hofman,” by Carl Swanson, June 5]. To know her is to love her, not only as a colleague but as a true and loyal friend. Finally, we have found a way to address an issue that for years remained “in the closet,” and to know that, with hope and perseverance, we’re sure to find a cure.
—Millicent K. Brody, Westfield, N.J.

A Steakhouse for the Opposite Sex
Quality Meats is the first female-friendly steakhouse I’ve ever taken my wife to [“Carving Out a New Steakhouse,” by Adam Platt, June 5]. When I go to a restaurant like Sparks in the company of women, it’s awkward to see a group of young male executives pretending to pound drinks and bragging about things they’ve allegedly done to women, saying things like, “Hey, Jeff, did I tell you what I did to Elaine at the beach house?” (Winter version: “Hey, Jeff, did I tell you what I did to Elaine at the ski house?”) For guys like me who don’t have to drop F-bombs to prove their manhood, Quality Meats is a great place. Plus, the food is good.
—Les Berglass, Manhattan

Kurt Andersen’s “What the [Bleep]?!” [“The Imperial City,” June 5] brings us the latest news, but it really could have been written at any time during the past 28 years, following the Supreme Court’s Pacifica decision upholding the FCC’s legal authority to enforce broadcast indecency rules. Unless the FCC is able to provide meaningful guidance that promotes a balance of First Amendment and public-interest principles, we’ll be doomed to a regulatory scheme that wanders from case to case in search of a “pig in the parlor.” The future lies in satellite radio and the Internet.
—Stuart N. Brotman, Lexington, Mass.

Katrina Refugee
If, as some experts fear, a hurricane does hit New York this summer, I hope it sweeps writer Matthew Philips’s possessions away and leaves him stranded at an airport Holiday Inn far from home, where he can reread his article on Theon Johnson [“Intelligencer: A Very Late Checkout,” June 5] with some compassion and insight, wondering whether describing him as “sprawled out … with lazy lust” was fair in a profile of a 49-year-old New Orleans refugee.
—Andy Robinson, Manhattan

Gifted Kids and Their Parents
I have the perfect solution for the Renaissance Renegades: home school [“Intelligencer: Can You Sue a Kid Smart?” by Melena Ryzik, May 22]. Each child would be the most gifted and talented in his or her micro-educational institution. Parents could brag that the individual curriculum was specifically designed to exploit their child’s unique qualities; that the student-teacher ratio is 1:1; and, best of all, that their child doesn’t have to sit next to some nonwhite, non-middle-class student who just might be more talented, more gifted, and more culturally diverse than their precious little bundle.
—Jacqueline Edwards, Albuquerque, N.M.

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June 12, 2006