September 13, 2004

High Honor
In “The First Family’s Local Roots” [September 6], Christopher Tennant refers to a speech President Bush gave at ground zero as a “debris-pile battle cry.” That debris pile contained the body of my son, James Patrick White, along with nearly 3,000 other heroes. For the record, I considered the president’s visit to that sacred site an honor to my son and to all the other victims.
—Al White, Jackson, N.J.

Zabar’s Brawl
It doesn’t require too much reading between the lines to see what really motivated Adam Bellow to hitch his wagon to the conservative movement [“My Escape From the Zabar’s Left,” September 6]. He used his father’s contacts to launch a very lucrative career and enriched himself by publishing disgraceful, dishonest books with little regard for personal or political consequences. His daughter Lily is right to be ashamed.
—Jeffrey Schiff, Brooklyn

I recently passed a brownstone on the Upper West Side with a pro-Bush poster in the window. I almost felt compelled to ring the doorbell and commend the tenants for their good sense and courage. For me, “My Escape From the Zabar’s Left” really hit home. I have to suffer the righteous indignation of the “We Hate Bush” citizenry on a daily basis. Although I am tolerant of their views, I have learned, painfully, to refrain from expressing my own; no free exchange of ideas is entertained and opposing views are denigrated as fascist and bigoted. Not only are my opinions usually considered to be wrong, I am also perceived as being morally corrupt. Like Mr. Bellow, I believe the Democratic Party has left me. Thank you for “coming out” and exposing the arrogance of the die-hard liberals.
—Suzanne Schernwetter, Manhattan

Mr. Bellow employs too broad a brush in his effort to impugn Upper West Side liberalism. To characterize Democratic Manhattanites as embodying “a narrow tribal outlook largely founded on class prejudice” is absurd and reductionist. As one who baked cookies as a child to support George McGovern’s campaign, I suggest Mr. Bellow put a little more schmear on his bagels and remember that there is a world of liberals out there who come from widely disparate backgrounds and whose outlook is broad, enlightened, and elective.
—Julie Hatterer, Manhattan

Adam Bellow’s “My Escape From the Zabar’s Left” was a fun wallow in New York City provincialism. I was raised in Iowa, in the conservative Evangelical Christian culture that informs virtually all talk radio, an increasing share of cable news, and the Republican Party platform. That culture has never earned a cute moniker like “Zabar’s left” because it’s not exotic. In fact, throughout most of the country, it’s seemingly ubiquitous. And yet there are many young leftists like me from the flyover states who are a future political and cultural force. The once-big tent has shrunk to suffocating proportions.
—Scott Isebrand, Manhattan

Style Guide
It was great to see the unhyped, de-slicked, non-glossy “Fall Fashion” issue [August 23]. All the professional fashion hawks, industry supporters, and aspiring fashion mavens got the 411 on the new fall clothing without the usual pretense. I also enjoyed the fresh faces of the profiled fashion-school grads, regular people, and art students who posed. Thank you for keeping it real.
—Tia Walker, Manhattan

A lot of New York fashion happens on the streets of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Style is a major force in this vibrant city and does not start on Park Avenue and end at Spice Market.
—Robert L. Pini, Manhattan

You should have stated that the “Fall Fashion” issue was 99 percent ethnic-free, since there was barely a face of color on any of the pages. Maybe next fall you will get it right.
—Leslie Harris-Bernstein, Brooklyn

The presence of a cell phone in most of Brooke Shields’s photographs makes me wonder whom she’s expecting to call [“Human Shields,” August 23]. If, in the absence of her new daughter, she’s in contact with the nanny, her pictorial is more a comment on the modern urban celebrity mother than on today’s fashion.
—Victoria Swanson, Weehawken, N.J.

Shame on you for promoting fur in this day and age [“How to Be a Park Avenue Princess,” August 23]! And you want to pass yourselves off as enlightened?
—Iris Fano, Great Neck, N.Y.

Fête Accompli
It is a good thing Cesar Chavez couldn’t read David Amsden’s “The Other Half: Sweathampton” [August 23]. Amsden describes the hardships migrant workers endure: receiving only a $40 tip on a $500 bill, mingling with the upper-crust at fête after fête, being ignored by the likes of Calvin Klein, and banking just $20,000 after toiling for ten weeks. I have already contacted the authorities; we will finally stamp out this injustice!
—Daniel Feigin, Manhattan

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September 13, 2004