May 21, 2007

A Park in Paris
Manhattan is not the only city that has saved an unused elevated track [“The High Line: It Brings Good Things to Life,” by Adam Sternbergh, May 7]. Paris turned an unused railroad viaduct into Le Viaduc des Arts or Promenade Plantée. What makes Viaduc work so well is not just the elevated park (although it is a very beautiful promenade connecting many high-rise apartment buildings) but the street life below. The colonnade of arched supports were glassed in and turned into showrooms and workrooms for designers and craftspeople. What a brilliant reuse of architecture. With all the talk of saving the High Line for a garden in the sky, I am concerned with the space below. Jane Jacobs was right in her firm belief that it is the life on the sidewalks that makes the city come alive.
—Gary Kanter, Manhattan

A Teacher’s Education
I am a parent of a student at NEST+m [“NEST+m: An Allegory,” by Jeff Coplon, May 7]. NEST+m has been fraught with problems since its inception, and with Celenia Chévere gone, it remains the same and at times is worse, because now the teachers are miserable. Schools are for the students, but NEST+m is about the politics of education. Unfortunately, the kids get lost in that battle.
—Name Withheld, Manhattan

He Had It All
Eddie Wise once had it all: an untaxed salary, a close-knit community, and the kind of independence we white collars spend our days dreaming of [“The Panhandler’s Payday,” by Jennifer Gonnerman, May 14]. Yet he gave up the respect, camaraderie, and freedom for a fat bank account, phat sneakers, and a debilitating sense of fear. It seems his golden hustle was in fact a poor one and that Eddie Wise is no wiser than the rest of us.
—Lisa Jacobs, Manhattan

Those Days
Studio 54, Where Are You?” [by Jada Yuan, May 7] was a step back in time for those of us who practically lived there in the late seventies. You can always tell who really went there because we called it “Studio,” never “54.” For me, Studio was a rite of passage. Six nights a week. Drugs? By the boatload. Sex? Any which way. If Stevie (Rubell) liked you, you were in. That night and every night thereafter. There never was, nor ever will be, any place like it.
—Jon Bruno, Los Angeles

I enjoyed your article on the original Studio 54 posse. What a fascinating group. It was particularly fun to read about how each individual helped to make this cultural phenomenon come to life. They were ultimately pioneers for the modern-day club scene. I was fortunate enough to have gone to Studio 54 back in the eighties. I went there when it reopened under new management, and even then you could still sense the tremendous energy and uniqueness about the place—from the moment you walked through the palm-tree-lined entryway, you knew you were in for a real treat. The décor was amazing, the bartenders were gorgeous, and the crowd was always friendly and diverse. The best part of being at Studio 54, however, was getting out on the dance floor. The overhead bridge would come out, confetti would fly, and for a brief moment, everyone was a star.
—Elizabeth Leamy, Greenwich, Conn.

Sex and the College Student
I found “The Sex Diaries” [by Arianne Cohen, April 30] thoroughly entertaining, but I was disappointed by your omission of a critical Manhattan dweller: the college student. Maybe I’m biased because I’m attending school in America’s college town, Boston. In any case, the sexual goings-on of the overly hormonal, perpetually broke 18- to 22-year-old set deserve attention. My friends and I were inspired to take a page from your book and start weeklong diaries of our own. After seven days of awkward dates, booty texts, and drunken hookups, we came to a conclusion: Harvard students are getting more play than New Yorkers.
—Lena Chen, Cambridge, Mass.

May 21, 2007