May 17, 2004

Dinner Theater
Rocco DiSpirito may be a little flippant and too much of a free spirit, but Jeffrey Chodorow is a shark who’s only interested in money, money, and more money [“Spaghetti Western,” by Beth Landman, April 26]. The show is called The Restaurant, not The Restaurant Backer. I like the show, but if there’s going to be much more of Mr. Chodorow, I’ll have to go back to CSI: Miami. Buona fortuna, Rocco. You’ll need it.
—Eileen C. O’Brien, Charlevoix, Mich.

As an attorney, I can guess how much the pending litigation between Rocco DiSpirito and Jeffrey Chodorow adds to their restaurant’s overhead (and to the price of an order of raviolis), but I can answer with certainty the question “Where can you get a good red sauce these days?” In upstate New York, where a third-generation Italian-American woman bottles her family’s traditional Abruzzese recipes. I have jars of her sauce in my kitchen at home, where the only raging ego is my own.
—Kurt Schrader, Binghamton, N.Y.

Kudos to Jeffrey Chodorow and Rocco “Da Vinci” DiSpirito for taking celebrity-chef mania to its logical and absurdist extreme. We now have cooks who don’t cook but who are famous for their cooking. Beth Landman hit the mark when she suggested Las Vegas as a better location for Rocco to cash in on his reputation. As the second home of every big-name chef in America, Vegas seems to welcome whatever ersatz, dumbed-down, retread restaurant is bestowed upon it. But calling Rocco DiSpirito the most famous chef in the country seems like hyperbole beyond even his inflated ego. God, I miss André Soltner.
—John Curtas, Las Vegas, Nev.

Photo Finished
The reason for Andrea Peyser’s self-loathing and bitterness can be found in Michael O’Neill’s wonderful photograph [“The Madame Defarge of the New York Post,” by Phoebe Eaton, April 26]. Of course, growing up in Bay Terrace among a bevy of beautiful girls doesn’t help one’s self-esteem. Tsk, tsk.
—Matt Nuskind, Flushing

I bought the April 26 issue to read about Rocco DiSpirito, but when I turned the page and saw that photo of Andrea Peyser, I literally dropped the magazine. It was scary. Because of Ms. Peyser, I have not bought or even read a copy of the New York Post in months. She is so full of hate and rage that I refuse to contribute to her salary. There’s something seriously wrong with this woman. Unfortunately, she is allowed to continue to write cruel and harmful things about people on a daily basis. Ms. Peyser, whose parents arrived in this country with a chip on their shoulders and passed it on to their children, is taking out her anger on us readers. I say enough already.
—Anna Carroll, Manhattan

Jet Set and Go
The diverse and well-chosen destinations described in “The 2004 All-Purpose Travel Planner” [April 26] have reinforced my belief that travel is a life-long necessity and an opportunity to connect with people on a more personal level. And how great to read about Paul Theroux’s trip to Kerala!
—Giselle Nelson, Ithaca, N.Y.

Public Domain
No wonder Anonymous prefers to remain as such in his/her column on short-term subletting [“Smart City: What Makes Sammy Sublet?,” April 26]. Thank goodness shareholders in my co-op in the East Village would never get away with that. Even before the current atmosphere of terrorism, for reasons of safety and security, our superintendent likes to know who is staying in an apartment, since guests need to be given electronic access to the outside door. He also requires that residents notify the doormen even if guests stay only a weekend. Although we are a seventeen-story building, with 155 apartments, it wouldn’t take long for other shareholders to realize those “brothers” and “sisters” were not really related to any tenant—that is, before our co-op board got a whiff of what’s going on.
—Fran Hill, Manhattan

Building Blocks
It’s very revealing that Karrie Jacobs’s “Demolition Man” [“Cityside,” April 26], describing the efforts of Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg to make New York the most developer-friendly city in the country, and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s ecstatic letter about the proposed Second Avenue subway [“Letters,” April 26] are both published in the same issue. Of course, real-estate-development projects help the economy. But the major beneficiaries of these projects are the real-estate developers themselves as well as the politicians who support them. What about the cost of the projects in terms of people’s lives? Will Congresswoman Maloney, Governor Pataki, and Mayor Bloomberg explain to the thousands of residents who will live above the Second Avenue subway exactly how it’s “New York’s dream come true?”
—Yuli Tartakovsky, Manhattan

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May 17, 2004