December 4, 2006

A City Without Wal-Mart
It may be worth discussing the demise of Wal-Mart [“The Bottom Line: Attention, Wal-Mart Shoppers,” by James J. Cramer, November 27], the supposed swallower of mom-and-pop shops everywhere, but while this is happening, small businesses throughout the Upper West Side are fast disappearing with nary a big-box retailer in sight. On the southwest corner of Broadway and 72nd Street, we have lost a Korean grocery store, a news agent, a bakery, and a fried-chicken joint. Broadway between 69th and 70th is now home to four banks. Upper West Siders may soon be able to do little in their neighborhood but withdraw their money and spend it at Starbucks.
—Alan Shuback, Manhattan

James J. Cramer’s column reminded me of the announcement by Wal-Mart offering $4 generic drugs to customers. This was welcome news nationally. But while consumers across America will now enjoy access to $4 prescription drugs, New York City residents will not. David Weprin, chair of the City Council’s finance committee, recently stated that he would consider allowing Wal-Mart into the city “if they played by our rules.” Weprin and his colleagues should look closely at public-opinion polls, which have consistently shown that New Yorkers would like the opportunity to shop at Wal-Mart.
—Larry Penner, Great Neck, N.Y.

His Life Is Harder
I haven’t stopped thinking about Jennifer Gonnerman’s article “A Hard-Earned Life” [November 6], and it keeps coming up in conversations with friends. We’re all reminded that we’re spoiled with our full-time office jobs with benefits. It reminded me that I can’t keep saying “Next year, I’ll volunteer”; I need to do something for my fellow New Yorkers today.
—Maryann Bryant-Rubio, Manhattan

Home Is Where the Hip Aren’t
I’ve lived in many New York neighborhoods over the past 30 years, downtown and up, and these past ten years, the Upper East Side [“The Death of (the Idea of) the Upper East Side,” by Jay McInerney, November 20]. I believe most people choose where to live for reasons other than how hip the area is or which restaurants are nearby. Moving to a young, creative neighborhood makes you neither young nor creative. I am grateful that, whatever the motivations, this part of the city is “encased in amber”—once these pieces of history are gone, they cannot be brought back at any price.
—Robert J. Rosen, Manhattan

Also, St. Vincent’s
Your section on HIV/AIDS [“Doctors’ Orders,” November 20] seemed to imply that there are only two New York State Designated AIDS Centers. St. Vincent’s Manhattan and St. Vincent’s Midtown are both DACs—in fact, Midtown (when it was St. Clare’s) was the first hospital in the state to receive the designation and the first to have a dedicated AIDS inpatient unit. We cared for AIDS patients when very few others would.
—Len Walsh, Executive Director, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Manhattan

A Meaty Tradition
in his brilliant rant against the fast-food industry, David Edelstein refers to workers “forced to work so quickly that the [cows’] poop pours out of the intestines over everything” [“Movies: Fast Food Nation,” November 20]. But he left out the tradition of the meat industry: to hang carcasses up by the hind legs so that when the gut is slit, the intestinal matter pours into the chest cavity and rib cage, where it is most likely to cause contamination. If hung by the forelegs, this would not happen. But hey, it’s tradition.
—John Joss, Los Altos, Calif.

Corrections: In “Party Lines” (November 20), a photo of Marisa Acocella Marchetto was misidentified as Lauren Weisberger, and a photo of Cady Huffman was misidentified as Lindsay Doran.

In “Doctors’ Orders” (November 20), a profile of the Parkinson’s-treatment program at New York–Presbyterian Hospital incorrectly referred to Dr. Stanley Fahn as head of Michael J. Fox’s Foundation for Parkinson’s Research council. In fact, Dr. Fahn is the chair of the Parkinson’s Disease Community Research Advisory Council, a group that is managed by but not solely affiliated with Fox’s foundation.

December 4, 2006