Comments: Week of March 23, 2009

1. The “Best of New York” cover (March 9–16) by the graphic designer kaws was a major smash in the blogosphere. Rather than bore you with all the kind words, we’ll just borrow the blog Rotting Television’s succinct appraisal: “DOPE TO SEE KAWS COVER NEW YORK MAG!!” Amid the widespread acclaim, one reader e-mailed, “I really was disappointed with the cover. It was frustrating to see that there were nine choices. I wish you had let the readers vote.” Well, to show that we do in fact support reader participation, let us share with you the results of our “Best of New York” readers’ poll on

Best Pizza:
1. Joe’s Pizza
2. Patsy’s
3. Artichoke and Di Fara (tied)

Best Place to Take an Out-of-Town Guest:
1. Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park (tied)
2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
3. American Museum of Natural History, West 79th Street Boat Basin, The Box, Pianos, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade (tied)

Best Bar:
1. Rose Bar and Employees Only (tied)
2. Angel’s Share, Lit Lounge, PDT, Botanica, Little Branch (tied)

Best Clothing Shop:
1. Loehmann’s and Century 21 (tied)
2. Bergdorf Goodman
3. Intermix, What Comes Around Goes Around, Tokio 7 (tied)

Best Burger:
1. Shake Shack
2. JG Melon
3. The Burger Joint

Best Bagel:
1. Ess-a-Bagel
2. H&H Bagels
3. Russ & Daughters

Best Bakery:
1. Patisserie Claude
2. Almondine, Buttercup, Ciao for Now (tied)

2. Vikram Pandit, the CEO of the great listing money ship known as Citigroup, may be comforted to learn that not everybody hates him out there in the big, wide world. Judging from the response to Joe Hagan’s profile of Pandit (The Most Powerless Powerful Man on Wall Street,” March 9–16), at least some people understand the enormity of the challenges he faces and express empathy for him. “If times were better, Pandit would be hailed as a self-made, humble man who climbed to the top of Wall Street without a single connection,” wrote one reader, who was not, by any indication, a Citigroup employee. “Instead, he is being totally thrashed for the sake of being thrashed. Questioning his decisions is fine (although it seems hard to believe that anyone could have salvaged this mess), but bloody personal attacks are unnecessary.” Another suggested that Pandit may be playing a much more important role in terms of government policy than we understand: “Vikram Pandit’s mistake was that he made a gentlemen’s agreement in a snake pit. Behind the scenes I’m betting Citi is advising the Treasury about risks and liquidity and [Treasury Secretary Tim] Geithner, Pandit, and [Citigroup CFO Gary] Crittenden have great respect for one another. These are the architects of the solution not the problem.” A similarly generous spirit was exhibited by another reader: “Whoever accepted this thankless job would find Pandit’s fate. Citigroup’s demise reflects the global misfortune of a levered world where all banks here and abroad are simply undercapitalized. Pandit’s misfortunes are our own. His story is ours.”

3. Vikram Pandit wasn’t the only embattled public figure to be respectfully received by New York Magazine readers. In response to Chris Smith’s critique of Governor Paterson’s job performance to date (Eliot’s Problem Child,” March 9–16), one reader rallied strongly to the governor’s defense: “In times like these, during which there is no money, nothing but hard choices, and a looming recession—the governor’s job is to make hard choices. If he’s doing his job right—he should be pissing off every constituency that wants or needs what fiscal responsibility dictates they cannot have. Enough picking on Paterson. Some stupid gaffes, sure—but you would have to go back to Governor Carey to find comparably distressed times. And we chide Paterson for trying to keep a sense of humor?”

4. Stephen Rodrick’s account of one fan’s extreme devotion to an obscure band called the Mountain Goats (God & Worshipper: A Rock-and-Roll Love Story, Of Sorts,” March 9–16) prompted a vigorous and positive exchange on the band’s website, which included, notably, an apology from the main Goat himself, John Darnielle, for being antisocial: “I worry: the article seems to imply that I’m especially crushed by Mountain Goats fans. This is a partial truth: I am crushed by human company in general & avoid it wherever possible. It takes an act of Congress to get me to visit friends. So, if I’m uncomfortable around you guys, that’s not anything about you.”

Comments: Week of March 23, 2009