December 11, 2006

Burning Out
Jennifer Senior’s cover article on burnout is extremely well written and insightful [“Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” December 4]. My friends and I are all talking about it. A year ago, I was a burned-out professional. All the vacations and job opportunities weren’t replenishing the enthusiasm anymore. It was time to get out. I quit my job in advertising and, for the first time in 24 years of working, took four months off, traveled (sans BlackBerry!), and came back to New York with a different, less neurotic attitude about work. Senior’s examination of “the gap between expectation and reward” definitely hit the mark.
—Maddy Daniels, Manhattan

Die Partying
All New York City needs is an incontinent ex-murderer to revive its nightlife [“Party Boy in a Cage,” by Jonathan Van Meter, November 27]. Your article seemed to gather pity for Michael Alig. The hero of the story is the “un-fabulous” parole officer who spared the public this pathetic guy for two more years. Alig should have got a life sentence.
—Leslie Harris, Brooklyn

Sex in Conversation
Your question “Does sex happen here?” to Richard Burns, on the twentieth anniversary of his tenure as director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center, borders on homophobic [“Intelligencer: Still Acting Up,” by Tim Murphy, December 4]. This is like asking the director of a Jewish center, “How do you decide which of you guys gets to do the finances?” or “Where’s your awesome basketball court?” of an African-American community-center administrator.
—Danny Carragher, Manhattan

Lost in Translation
Bill Nighy’s “two-fingered handshake” does not suggest that “there’s only so far he can go in the direction of intimacy” [“The Sex Symbol Who Showers in the Dark,” by David Edelstein, December 4]. Rather, he has a worsening genetic condition called Dupuytren’s Contracture, which makes his ring and little fingers bend forward against his palm.
—Tina Johnson, Manhattan

Young People Today
I believe the Village, too, lost its edge not long after Jay McInerney published Bright Lights, Big City in 1984 [“The Death of (the Idea of) the Upper East Side,” by Jay McInerney, November 20]. For years, my friends who were denizens of the 10021 Zip Code took cabs downtown to play as well as check out downtown real estate. The Upper East Side was a place to sleep, visit the Met and the Whitney, and host the occasional dinner party. McInerney’s article makes it sound like this all happened just yesterday.
—Steve Wittkoff, Black Rock, Conn.

It’s a Miracle
What a change to read a complimentary article on Barry Manilow [“Pop: A Man Much Maligned,” by Karen Schoemer, November 27]. So few musicians have the staying power of Manilow, and even fewer have been named “showman of our generation” by Rolling Stone. He might not be everyone’s favorite, but he has been mine for over 30 years. Thank you for honoring him, and proving age is a well-worn badge and talent is forever.
—Michele Yohanna, Carmel, N.Y.

Holy Beauty!
Regarding Arianne Cohen’s article on the possible future of the First Baptist Church on West 79th Street [Intelligencer: Joachim’s Temptation,” November 27]: When I moved to the city two years ago, I spent two nights in a hotel near the church. After wandering around Central Park, I returned to my hotel in the late-summer dusk and was stopped in my tracks by the warm glow of the church’s stained glass. This remains one of my favorite and most soothing views in the city. A church is not merely a beautiful façade, and, as W. Lawrence Joachim, president of the church’s board of trustees, noted, the building may not be “an end unto itself.” However, in this busy city full of faceless buildings and crowded sidewalks, the church offers a pleasant reprieve to those passing by.
—Hillary Ferguson, Manhattan

December 11, 2006