Comments: Week of September 13, 2010

1. In last week’s issue, Mark Jacobson detailed his conflicting thoughts about the proposed Muslim community center blocks from ground zero (“Muhammad Comes to Manhattan,” August 30–September 6). Some of the responses to the article were a little less nuanced. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, outspoken critics of the project whom Jacobson quoted in his piece, responded on their blogs. Geller wrote that that planners “[Zead] Ramadan and Sharif El-Gamal played Jacobson like a dhimmi fiddle,” which is to say he was treated like a non-Muslim governed by Sharia law. Said Spencer: “Just the sort of piece you’d expect from a Leftist journalist/propagandist who has his reservations about the Islamic supremacist mega-mosque, but his knee jerk cultural Leftism won’t let him express them … He does his best to whitewash the unsavory developer Sharif El-Gamal and to make Pamela Geller and me look silly … He does quote me at some length, and people who bother to check will see that what I’m saying is true.” A writer on the other side of the issue, Charlie Eisenhood of NYULocal, highlighted Jacobson’s depiction of a sermon by Imam Khalid Latif. “Isn’t that what we want as a country? That kind of uplifting, empowering American sermon? The fact that such a message would emanate from a place near ground zero should fill us with joy, not fear or anger.” One of our commenters, by contrast, skipped the ideology debate altogether: “I live in the neighborhood—and I lived here in September 2001—and I would love to have a community center that offers the sort of cultural events you get uptown.

2. In another story from last issue, Andrew Rice examined the struggle between chairman Leonard Riggio and shareholder Ron Burkle for control of Barnes & Noble (“The Billionaire and the Book Lover,” August 30–September 6). Reaction tended to focus less on the battle between the two (further perpetuated last week when Burkle appealed a court’s dismissal of a lawsuit he had filed against B&N) than on larger questions about the future of reading itself. Tech blog Gear Diary felt Riggio didn’t grasp the importance of e-readers to his company, pointing to his admission that he doesn’t use its own such device, the Nook. “It’s not like e-book readers are limited to the young and tech-savvy. [The Nook] is their flagship device. At least try it once in a while, or lie,” wrote contributor Carla Z. “Compare that to Amazon, where Jeff Bezos can’t go five minutes without spouting off another Kindle milestone. You know from hearing him talk how passionate Bezos is about the Kindle. What we now know from hearing Riggio talk is that the Nook is nice, if you like that sort of thing.” Yet several commenters on came forward in defense of paper-and-ink books and the stores that sell them. “I love my local B&N,” wrote Voguette. “I go there to relax. Just walking around there always makes me feel better. I’d be sad if it closed.” If Voguette lives in the West Sixties, she’s out of luck: Barnes & Noble announced last week that it plans to shut down its Lincoln Square location.

3. None other than Kanye West praised Lane Brown and Logan Hill’s effort to channel the voice of his Twitter feed (“Kanye West Tweets the Fall,” August 30–September 6). “Ok this shit is really accurate woooooow,” he wrote.

Correction: In the feature article “The Rabbi and the Rabba” (July 19–26), three photos of Rabbi Weiss on pages 38 and 39 (from left, the first, second, and fourth photos) should have been credited to photographer Robert Kalfus, copyright 2010.

Self-Congratulation: Cover Noms Uncovered

New York received six nominations in the American Society of Magazine Editors’ 2010 Best Cover Contest. Visit to vote on the finalists; our entries are below.

Most Controversial
September 28, 2009
Photograph by Mannie Garcia/AP; typography by Marion Deuchars for New York.

Science, Nature & Technology
Swine Flu and You
October 12, 2009
Photograph by Horacio Salinas for New York.

Fashion & Beauty
Fall Fashion
August 24, 2009
Photograph by Marcus Bleasdale for New York.

Entertainment & Celebrity
Neil Patrick Harris
September 21, 2009
Photograph by Art Streiber for New York.

Reasons to Love New York
December 21–28, 2009
Photograph by Mitchell Funk/Getty Images; typography/illustration by Michael De Feo for New York.

Spring Fashion
February 22–March 1, 2010
Photograph by Marco Grob for New York.

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Comments: Week of September 13, 2010