Comments: Week of June 8, 2009

1. “Listen up, putzes, if you head over to New York Magazine you’ll discover this little write-up about Larry David and Woody Allen,” wrote the blog Hollering Into the Void. The article in question (Twilight of the Tummlers,” June 1), which argued that Allen’s brand of Jewish humor may soon be extinct, earned praise both for its author, Mark Harris (“Terrific article, succinct summation, and entertaining,” wrote Josh Max), and for its subject. “Woody Allen’s a treasure and my favorite director ever,” wrote an online commenter. “When you think of it, the very best of American humor, classically, is Jewish humor. Without that sensibility, you get … Dane Cook?” One reader bridled at Harris’s description of Seinfeld’s three main characters as the three faces of Jewish humor, wondering: What about Elaine? “A completely original ‘Jewish’ modern guy’s girl who was also kind of slutty. That was a real creation.” Of course, the character of Elaine Benes was not explicitly Jewish; according to her Wikipedia entry, her ethnicity was never specified, though “the name Beneš [Anglicized as Benes] is a common Czech surname.” Keen observers may also recall that Elaine once sent out a particularly memorable and regrettable Christmas card.

2. “I am so stressed about where my preschooler will end up for kindergarten,” wrote one commenter in response to Five-Year-Olds at the Gate,” Jeff Coplon’s story on overcrowded kindergartens (June 1). Another commenter added, “This is why most of my friends left NYC when it was time to have kids.” Assembly member Deborah J. Glick of the 66th District, which includes Tribeca, wrote: “I read, with incredulity, the comment by John White that this current problem is a remnant of the prior community-school-board system … [I]t has been Mayor Bloomberg’s zeal for up-zoning, coupled with his belief that these new residents would send their children to private school, that has added dramatically to the density of District 2.” Sarah Reetz of Tribeca wrote in with an anecdote—and a stern parental chiding for the mayor. “Fully five years ago, I stood with hundreds of other parents at P.S. 89 (now woefully overcrowded) as we warned Deputy Mayor Doctoroff that the Bloomberg administration had granted development of thousands of housing units in District 2 while making no provision for educating the children that would be moving into those spanking-new two- to three-bedroom apartments. Consider yourself warned, Mayor Mike—this third term might not fall so easily into your hands. You deserve a ‘time-out.’ ”

3. Finally, here are a few of the spirited answers we received in response to a straightforward but prickly question, posted recently on our Daily Intel blog: How do you feel about sharing cabs? Our blog post chronicled the city’s recently announced pilot program that will allow people to split rides—and fares—with strangers in designated cabs. Some sample reactions from our readers:

“Absolutely! Bring it on. This will help solve cab shortage problems.”

“It could be great or miserable depending on who you share with. Kind of like on airplanes, where you either have a great conversation with the person sitting next to you or you have to spend the entire time pretending to sleep.”

“I’m too socially awkward to share cabs.”

“I think it’s great! Grabbing a cab is so much quicker than waiting for the bus, subway, or walking. If you can do so at a deeply discounted rate, then who cares if you have to sit next someone? It’s better than sitting next to 100 someones on the 6 train.”

“I like the money-saving aspect, but with my luck I’ll end up in a cab with ‘that drunk girl’ who pukes all over my shoes. Or worse, I’ll be ‘that drunk girl.’ ”

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Comments: Week of June 8, 2009