September 25, 2006

He Pays, She Pays
Michael Idov profiled the building I moved out of in 1986 [“Two BR: $2,600. Three BR: $568,” September 18]. I lived in Apartment 17, directly below Madonna. She made a racket into the wee hours that made sleep at times impossible. Sometimes I would retaliate by playing opera at full volume. I spoke with her only once when I asked her to turn the sound down and she said she was going deaf. Why did I live there? I wanted to live alone, I wanted to live in Manhattan, and there was no place nicer that would accept a tenant at my salary level and a dog. My introduction to the building was a little boy singing “I’m gonna cut your dog’s head off.” Once he came up to me with a bread knife and threatened me, which I laughed off. Then one day, he held me up for real, saying he had a gun. I called the police. A few weeks later, thanks to the intervention of a friend, my dog and I moved to a better apartment.
—R. Maclean, Manhattan

The Devil in David Berkowitz
Having lived through that terrifying summer in Queens, I find it an outrage that you would devote this kind of attention to such a monster as is David Berkowitz [“The Devil in David Berkowitz,” by Steve Fishman, September 18]. What on earth were you thinking to give this animal such a voice?
—Jeanne Teed, Bellmore, N.Y.

The “Times” Under Siege
I am offended by the implication that Jayson Blair’s actions at the Times, unethical as they were, are in any way equivalent to Judith Miller’s reporting on WMD [“The United States of America Versus Bill Keller,” by Joe Hagan, September 18]. Miller’s reporting and her editors deserved the same scrutiny as Blair received.
—Jill Nelson, Manhattan

Dis-Approval Matrix
San Gennaro falls in the “Highbrow-Brilliant” quadrant of “Approval Matrix” [September 18]? Living on Mulberry Street, I find it hard to imagine it belongs anywhere but at the bottom of any lowbrow-highbrow continuum. “Snakes on a Sudoku” ought to beat out San Gennaro any day.
—Alexander Rubens, Manhattan

How brave of you to expose Bliss Spa’s attempts to deter Stella Akilova’s clients from following her to her new gig [“Intelligencer: Ingrown Tumult Among the Waxoholics,” by Emma Rosenblum, September 18]. Exhale Spa recently sacked my longtime (speedy and thorough) waxer, Violet, and installed Eliza Petrescu—she of the $85 eyebrow wax. Violet saw me through pregnancy and got me into shape postdelivery and then vanished faster than you can say “Brazilian.” Despite my best efforts, I can’t find where Violet moved on to. Please help?
—Marla Goodman, Manhattan

Big Man on Camp
I recently had the opportunity to read “Big Man on Camp” [by Robin Hemley, August 21] where a 48-year-old man goes back to the camp he clearly unhappily spent time at as a counselor years ago. I spent numerous summers at Camp Echo, from 1988 to 2001, as a camper and a counselor, and I felt I must reply. Camp Echo was an amazing place to grow up. With the great previous ownership, friends, and staff members, there were more positive things taught at Camp Echo than most children today are even taught in their own homes. This included religious services, special Friday-night meals, time designated to spend with brothers and sisters, and always good sportsmanship on the playing fields. Ask any of the thousands of Camp Echo alumni: They will tell you about the amazing positive difference their summers up at camp made in their lives.
—Eric Farron, Merrick, N.Y.

Salad Days
Your identification of “a lettuce-based midtown meat market” is spot-on [“Intelligencer: Salad Days,” by Emma Rosenblum, August 14]. As I stand in line clinging to my plastic bowl, the creepy guy next to me attempts conversation about my fascinating choice of Craisins over the infinitely more popular golden raisins. I am so over salad. Those neon containers are the scarlet letters of singledom. Worse still, I spend upwards of $12 on a bowl of cellulose? I am throwing my orange bowl away. Somewhere in a New Jersey landfill, a seagull is going to die from ingesting this thing. But if it has to be one of us, I choose the seagull.
—Erin Probst, Manhattan

September 25, 2006