Comments: June 23, 2008

1. A survey of the city’s best doctors (Best Doctors 2008,” June 16) is bound to be greeted with complaints, both about who was put on the list and who was left off. Several readers protested the inclusion of Dr. Gary Wormser, our Lyme-disease specialist—proving that the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme continues to be contentious. In other letters, doctors themselves felt slighted. “I noted at least one specialty to be omitted: anesthesiology,” wrote Dr. Laurence E. Ring, chief resident in anesthesiology at New York–Presbyterian Hospital. “Anesthesiologists perform an invaluable service every day throughout the city. They make sure patients, from youngest to oldest, sickest to healthiest, make it safely though surgery.” And a blogger who calls herself the Magazine MILF voiced this grievance: “My one doctor who consistently makes the list is my one doctor I hate: He once kept me waiting for two hours while doing a magazine interview.”

2. You might expect that Tricia Walsh-Smith, the theater mogul’s jilted wife who took her marital problems online, would not elicit affection from commenters, and you’d be right (The YouTube Divorcée,” by Phoebe Eaton, June 9). Or, at least, half-right. Some readers took swipes (“Assuming she is literate and could read the agreement, she needs to move on”), but others showed sympathy, of a sort. “Personally I find Tricia to be endearing and hilarious,” wrote one commenter, while another added, “I kind of feel bad for her.” One respondent put the affair in a literary context: “If Tricia were a fictional character, complete with kooky fiancés and Eugene O’Neill delusions, we’d probably all be cheering for her. But because the whole mess is real, it’s just sort of sad instead.”

3. Finally, this excerpt from the blog the Subtle Rudder, which came in response to Who Still Dies of AIDS, and Why,” by Gary Taubes (June 16): “I spent four years in the mid-nineties working on the front lines of grief and loss with the AIDS Memorial Quilt. If you lost someone to AIDS and made a panel to remember them, chances were pretty good that you’d have handed that panel off to me. This was the ACT-UP era, pre-cocktail, pre-it’s-a-chronic-illness-now. This was when all the infected guys I knew were saying good-bye and running up big credit-card bills before they joined the ranks of the gone-too-soon. But things changed. Protease inhibitors came along, and all of a sudden, we were spending our time talking about tech stocks and the hot new restaurant on Mission Street. It seemed like you had to be either indigent, addicted, or seriously unlucky to actually die anymore. But now HIV infection is on the rise, especially in young people who don’t remember the toll of the disease, who didn’t see their friends disfigured and dying, who didn’t blacken their address books with crossed-out names. For years after I left the quilt, I would think I saw someone from before, someone who looked familiar walking down the street or driving past in a car. It was a form of haunting, as though all the people who died of AIDS were just showing up, at the gym, in line for lattes, along the sidewalk in the Castro. Like they moved away from the scene for a few years, but now they were back, hot for gossip, ready to resume their places within our lives. But really, we’re all walking ghosts, even those of us who are still here.”

Last week,’s Grub Street received 53 (and counting) responses to a post from a reader bemoaning the rise in requests for “scooping” (removing the innards of a bagel) she’s noticed at her local bagel shop. Such debates confirm the obvious: New Yorkers deeply care about their bagels.

Bespoke bagels? Yeah!
It’s a bagel, not a double-tall-skinny-soy-mocha-latte. Seriously, scoopers sound like anal-retentive self-absorbed killjoys.
The scoop is an authentic and long tradition. The earlier generation included my grandfather Julius Greenspan, a Brooklynite 75 years ago. Scoop, toast, schmear, Nova—it’s a great balance that lets the fish shine.
As a bagel scooper, I would like to defend myself. I am not a total moron. To me, no matter how much it is toasted, the inside feels mushy and I don’t derive any joy from eating it.
Bagels are not supposed to be fucked with. They must be consumed properly, eat the whole thing. Sucks.
I like to scoop my bagels, save the innards in my oversize handbag and leave them for a day or two to harden. Then I put the stale blobs on a hot dog bun and eat it for lunch.
Hey, for the same reason, I always get my egg sandwiches on toast instead of a roll. Sue me.
Honestly, how long does it really take for them to scoop a bagel? Hey, they’ll only get faster as more people request scooped bagels.
More scooping!!!! More scooping!!!! Less complaining more scooping!!!!!!! Less complaining more scooping!!! Less complaining more scooping!!!

In “The Principal of P.S. 1” (May 12), the portrait of Alanna Heiss in the photograph by Peter Stanglmayr was uncredited; it was painted by Sabina Streeter.

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Comments: June 23, 2008