Comments: Week of February 9, 2009

1. The trench warfare over whether Wall Street traders are tearing apart our country or practicing capitalism in its purest form were in full rockets red glare in the debate over Joe Hagan’s story about day traders (Stock-Surfing the Tsunami,” February 2). For maximum head-spinning enjoyment, we’re going to alternate pro and con views: “This is a great story about a young guy who is living the American Dream. This is what makes this country better then any other”; “These kids are crooks. No idea what real life is. They will all have an eventual visit from the hard-knocks fairy”; “These guys wake up early, and stay late. They maybe take one week off a year. They are not the bankers having three-martini lunches. When these guys make money, they’ve most certainly earned it”; “ Please stop referring to the business of typing into your keyboard as ‘hard work.’ You want hard work? Go pick beans twelve hours a day”; “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”; “Can’t you just visualize them sitting there in front of their screens like laughing swollen mosquitos, sucking the money out of the markets?”

2. The anti-dynasty forces that seized on Chris Smith’s story about Caroline Kennedy’s awkward dance with Governor Paterson over the potential Senate appointment (The Zany Adventures of (Senator) Caroline Kennedy,” February 2) suggested one good reason she may not have really wanted the seat—because she’d have to contend with so much class-based contempt. Though she did have her supporters (“Caroline Kennedy would have been a wonderful senator, and I am praying that this fiasco will cost Paterson and the two idiotic, narcissistic N.Y. senators their seats), the consensus was that she didn’t come close to deserving it. “Caroline was a disaster,” wrote one reader. “Bloomberg pushed her because she was someone he could control. She had no core beliefs, no connection to the people, and barely ever voted. It was obvious she was trading on her name.”

3. It is with sadness, as well as appreciation for a life well lived, that we note the passing of James Brady, who served as editor of this magazine in the late seventies. Among other gifts as a writer and editor, Brady was an influential player in the gossip business, back before it became the gotcha sport that we know it as today. Under founding editor Clay Felker, he developed the “Intelligencer” section and later was involved in the creation of the Post’s “Page Six,” which has become an institution unto itself. Brady also wrote several books of fiction and nonfiction, including a memoir of his experiences in the Korean War, and was working as a columnist for Parade magazine right up to his death last week at the age of 80.

4. In this issue, you will notice a serious change to the magazine— “The Intelligencer,” which has been revamped many times since Brady’s day, has been revamped again. It begins with an exploded news graphic that, this week, tells you everything you need to know about our new senator, then a series of very short essays we’re calling “Posts” (a term we borrowed from that ol’ Internet thing), followed by an encounter with a prominent person around town (this week: William H. Macy), and concluding with a giant horizontal photo feature that bears a certain resemblance to “The Look Book” in the “Strategist.” That concept has been moved and adapted for a new purpose—to highlight not a random stylish person spotted on the street but a New Yorker we’ve selected, who is emerging and bears watching. (“The Look Book” lives on, vertically, in its old home.) There’s plenty of other new stuff in the section, too. As always, we await your feedback.

5. Finally, inspired by the bone-chilling temperatures last week, polled readers on Where Is New York’s Windiest Location? Here are the highlights: “Meatpacking takes the cake. I’ve seen many a model disappear in gusty conditions”; “Columbus Circle. It is a circle, after all, and the wind has nowhere to go but toward you. Stand on the corner of the Time Warner Building and see for yourself. There’s also a lot to be seen since the Hearst Building is just two blocks over, so there are a lot of fragile young things in supershort skirts holding it all down”; “24th Street from Madison Square Park to Lex can be particularly perilous. The Credit Suisse buildings and the connecting walkway funnel wind from the park and create one gale-force pressure jet that will eff your hair beyond repair for the day—as well as prevent you from like, walking”; “42nd toward the West Side Highway is positively the worst in the city. The wind currents have stopped me dead in my tracks and lifted small dogs off the ground, I saw it happen, Fido turned into a kite”; “The man-made tunnel that moviegoers at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and residents of 30 Lincoln Plaza have to brave makes Ulysses’ travels look like a trip to Whole Foods.”

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Comments: Week of February 9, 2009