Comments: October 8, 2007

1. With pennant fever in the air, readers responded heatedly to our recent baseball stories. Aggrieved Dodgers fans accused Sam Anderson (“Exorcising the Dodgers,” September 24) of insufficient piety. “The writer could not possibly understand anything about the Dodgers, not being from Brooklyn,” wrote Gerard Kuehn of Walled Lake, Michigan. The former CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard challenged our characterization of a film studio there as a sign of the borough’s fall from grace. “Mr. Anderson might be interested to learn that Brooklyn was one of the places where the American movie industry got its start,” wrote Marc H. Rosenbaum. Such sentiments were pats on the back compared to the opprobrium heaped on Will Leitch’s story on A-Rod (“Going, Going …,” October 1), particularly his reporting that A-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras, discussed an ownership stake for his client with the potential buyers of the Chicago Cubs. “I am officially boycotting New York (even though I read it for the first time today),” wrote the blog Yankee Sweep. Boras denied the account to the Associated Press, which was seized upon in the land of sports radio and TV as evidence of the piece’s mendacity. Leitch defended his reporting on “If Scott Boras didn’t have conversations like that, he wouldn’t be Scott Boras.”

Photo: David M. Heald/Courtesy of the Guggenheim

2. Jerry Saltz’s column about the Guggenheim Museum and its director, Thomas Krens (“Art: How to Rebuild the Guggenheim,” September 24), cheered by many in the art world, outraged Krens partisans. Anthony Calnek, who worked at the museum for sixteen years, cited Saltz’s glowing reviews of several shows there over the years and concluded that Saltz “should stick to reviewing art and stop giving us tired attacks on the people who make these shows possible.” William Mack, the chairman of the museum’s board of trustees, alleged a series of factual errors: “It is not true, as Saltz avers, that people with Israeli stamps in non-Israeli passports are constrained from visiting Abu Dhabi. There is absolutely no agreement that nudes or ‘controversial’ material will not be shown at the Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi … Guggenheim projects have not gone ‘belly up’ or not materialized. Feasibility studies are just that—an investigation into the possibility of a future project. Many factors, including local politics, available resources, and the participating parties’ respective interests, may result in a project’s proceeding or not. Jerry Saltz was harsh in his criticism and attacked Tom Krens on a personal level. Tom’s vision is shared throughout our institution and emulated by many other leading cultural and educational organizations.”

Saltz responds: “It’s not surprising to see the head honcho of the Guggenheim board circle the wagons. Regarding the passport issue, here’s a typical advisory found on the Web: ‘Please note that Israeli passport holders and travelers whose passports bear Israeli stamps will be denied an entry visa to the United Arab Emirates.’ As for Guggenheim projects that have gone ‘belly up,’ talk to anyone who lost their job at the former Soho Guggenheim.”

3. In his Yom Kippur sermon at Congregation Rodeph Sholom on West 83rd Street, Rabbi Robert Levine recited at length from Jon Gluck’s story of his recovery from cancer (The Radioactive Dad,” May 28), emphasizing the gratitude Gluck felt for having survived. “Appreciation of blessings is vital,” said the rabbi. “Appreciation of blessings can even be life-changing, for, if you are blessed, Judaism tells you, you must be a blessing.”

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Comments: October 8, 2007