October 9, 2006

The Outsourced Parent
Thanks for “The Outsourced Parent” [September 25]. It may have been the first attempt to quantify the value of the services of a stay-at-home parent without domestic help for one sweet little girl over the course of eighteen years: $2,170,735, based on your calculations. On an annual basis, that is the salary equivalent of $120,596 just for one child, jumping to approximately $241,193 for a charming second child. This analysis finally answers the age-old question presented by family breadwinners: What did you do for me today? I will be sure to send all the stay-at-home parents I know a copy of your article, as they never seem to get the credit they deserve.
—Joyce Heinzerling Davis, Manhattan

I’m betting “The Outsourced Parent” sent a chill down the spine of more than one Manhattan mother. It’s a brilliant piece of pointed social commentary. I’m hoping it reminds some parents that time with their kids is a good thing. Oh, and there’s just one outsourcing cost you forgot: the thousands in therapy and rehab bills for children raised by strangers.
—Laurie Gigliotti, Venice, Calif.

Brooklyn Is Burning
Mark Jacobson’s “Brooklyn Is Burning” [September 25] is off the mark when it implies that the recent rash of arson in Brooklyn may be somehow caused by speculation surrounding Forest City Ratner Companies’ Atlantic Yards project. Jacobson belittles Forest City’s generosity toward Kassoum Fofana, whose family was left homeless by one such fire. My organization, Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (build), assisted Fofana in putting his life back together after that tragic fire and asked Forest City if it might help out. It delivered Fofana’s family a refurbished apartment on the Atlantic Yards site—rent-free—and offered them the opportunity to relocate to a new unit at Atlantic Yards when it is built.
—James E. Caldwell, President of BUILD, Brooklyn

Joy in Mudville
I am a 16-year-old aspiring sports journalist. As a huge baseball fan, I loved Stephen Rodrick’s “Who Owns New York?” [October 2]. I am a huge Mets fan; my blood runs blue and orange. I thought your article was a little biased toward the Yankees, and your comparison of Mo Rivera and Billy Wagner frustrated me. Then came the closing paragraph: “That is called joy. And in baseball, joy brings championships. The Mets in six.” This brought a big smile to my face.
—Drew Schustek, Long Beach, N.Y.

Those Fugging Girls
I just wanted to let you know that the Fug Girls did a brilliant job covering Fashion Week for nymag.com. It was like having your best, funniest friend there for you. Thanks for your good work!
—Laine Campbell, San Diego, Calif.

The Devil in David Berkowitz
As a journalism teacher, I find it often difficult to get students to understand the concepts of “slant” and “reading between the lines,” but I could use Steve Fishman’s well-written piece [“The Devil in David Berkowitz,” September 18] to demonstrate both. Despite the seriousness of the topic, I couldn’t stop laughing out loud—Fishman’s subjects never did quite convince him that “David Berkowitz, the Jewish serial killer,” is “an apostle of Jesus.” This is why I love journalism—you just can’t make this stuff up. A great article.
—Camille Pepe Sperrazza, Brooklyn

Life After a Death
It was fascinating to read the history of The New York Review of Books [“The Ma and Pa of the Intelligentsia,” by James Atlas, September 25]. When one has little time to read the actual books, the Review’s superbly written, in-depth articles are a brilliant substitute. Our inner worlds would be an impoverished place without this publication. Barbara Epstein’s death is a great loss, but the Review must continue. Good luck to Bob Silvers.
—Lisa Moore, Manhattan

October 9, 2006