September 18, 2006

Fall Preview
I want to tell you how much I adored “Chatter” in your Fall Preview issue [September 4–11]. I would love to see this as a regular feature. After 27 years in New York City, I continue to read New York every week and never fail to find something to enjoy.
—Steven Maloff, Manhattan

I had felt quite flattered to be included in the Fall Preview issue, but was deeply disappointed when I received the magazine and read the caption under my photograph—“Julianne Moore is no Julia Roberts (and Broadway will love her for it).” As a longtime fan of Julia Roberts’s considerable talent and charisma, I would be thrilled to be in her company. I also truly admire the grace with which she withstood potshots from the New York press. A compliment based on a negative comparison is hardly flattering—it’s just nasty. For everybody.
—Julianne Moore, Manhattan

Spike Lee
While reading your respectful article about my brother [“The Angriest Auteur,” by Ariel Levy, August 21], I noticed that the Lee family’s legacy was missing from the heart of your story. Our roots run deeper than corporate America in the 21st century. Spike Lee is descended from a long line of artists, musicians, and educators. Our mother, Jacquelyn Shelton Lee (whose name was glaringly omitted), was a friend and colleague to the founding headmaster of Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn. Our father, Bill Lee, is a jazz musician and a 1951 graduate of Morehouse College. The tone of your piece imparts the impression that my brother and our family are lacking, or don’t make the grade in some way, when in fact the Lees are a part of a very rich heritage. And my brother is a good catch.
—Joie Lee, Brooklyn

With all this talk of aristocracy and noblesse oblige, it’s disappointing to hear that Tonya Lewis Lee, a person publicly committed to raising money for a worthy cause (Kids for Kids), “[doesn’t] really like asking people for money.” Mrs. Lee should choose her words more carefully, as many children would be saddened to know that raising money for their betterment is cramping her style. Perhaps this can all be worked out over lunch at Fred’s.
—Michael Scalisi, Manhattan

Katie Couric
Having been in the TV industry, I was surprised that CBS hired Katie Couric [“The Imperial City: Humor Is the New Gravitas,” by Kurt Andersen, September 4–11]. For all her experience, Couric has evolved into a “cheerleader” version of a news person. Sadly, she and many of her contemporaries don’t ask the hard questions. We need a return to critical thinking, deep analysis, and serious investigation. Couric could use lessons from Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, or Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes. Leave the cute stuff for professional entertainers. People are craving answers and truth.
—Jeff Kramer, River Edge, N.J.

Because the only people still watching the evening news are those without computers, I think Couric will tank at CBS News, despite the hype. The most acceptable news anchor is Couric’s predecessor, Bob Schieffer, who presents the highlights and lets the working stiffs out in the field fill in the details.
—Nelson Marans, Silver Spring, Md.

Having read Chris Smith’s article [“Mr. Ratner’s Neighborhood,” August 14]‚ I have empathy for Brooklyn’s residents. I am an architect and resident of Belfast, Northern Ireland, a city emerging, like Brooklyn, with a new identity. Our famed shipyards occupy prime development land on the fringe of downtown Belfast. Original plans for the site touted new neighborhoods, packed with affordable housing. Recently, these plans have transformed into gated apartment developments having little to do with regeneration or integration. Unfortunately, a city new to such a process has sat idly by. In my visits to Brooklyn, I see the price for the Atlantic Yards development will extend far beyond the loss of sunlight. Perhaps next time, those who so eagerly support Ratner’s plans will have confidence in Brooklyn’s potential and avoid the bandwagon of politically backed developers in town for the next prized scalp.
—David Coyles, Belfast, Northern Ireland

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September 18, 2006