October 6, 2003

Turning The Page
Having been close to the scene of the crime on 9/11, I wasn’t looking forward to reading another story that would resurrect all my feelings of the horror of that day. One becomes inured to all the tales of death and suffering. And yet Steve Fishman’s “The Miracle Survivors” [September 15] afforded an unexpected and uplifting perspective, showing people who survived the unsurvivable and who now must deal with the issues of “why me?” Thank you for offering excellent insights into an overlooked aspect of the biggest event of our time.
- Frank R. Dudis, Manhattan

Repetition Compulsion
I agree with artist Laurie Fendrich’s claim that in the aftermath of 9/11 “the media took it over and logo-ized it” [“How 9/11 Changed Us,” September 15]. I’ve seen too many photographs, watched too many television specials, read too many articles, and heard too many stories. It’s not that I don’t care about what happened, but I don’t feel the strong attachment that I once felt. I have become numb to that day. I was glad to see the media ration their coverage of the anniversary this year. Perhaps we all need to take a step back.
- Perry Sacks , Westfield, N.J.

The Mourning After
It seems trite and simplistic for Laurie Fendrich to make sweeping judgments about non-Tribecan New Yorkers’ behavior in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (“having wine,” “eating foie gras”). As a North Tower survivor and Upper East Side resident at the time, I would like to set some things straight: No one I know sat at outdoor cafés and had leisurely lunches on September 12. We lit candles. We donated blood. We went to the supermarket and bought food for the ground-zero workers. And we cried at the loss of people we knew and for the wounds to our beautiful city. By the way, I have since moved to Tribeca and am probably one of those people Ms. Fendrich accuses of “real-estate opportunism.” Funny, because I had always felt proud to support lower Manhattan, and moving here seemed just one way to do it.
- Billy Hult, Manhattan

Chance Connection
Thank you for the wonderful 9/11 tribute issue. When I think of that day, I think of an NYPD officer I encountered outside of Bellevue Hospital about three nights after the attack. I had gone there to look at the walls of posters. As I was leaving, I passed a patrol car with two officers rearranging things in the trunk. Moving past them, I called out, “You guys are great. Thank you.” They both turned to look at me. One of them said, “What?” and I stopped and repeated what I’d said. Never breaking his steely gaze, he dropped what he was doing and crossed the sidewalk toward me, his arms outstretched. When he got close enough, I saw his eyes had tears in them. He hugged me tight, and whispered, “Thank you. I needed to hear that. Thank you.”
- Jessica Ronson-Jones, Manhattan

One Person, One Vote
Michael Wolff Is so fixated on the fact that the media use finances alone to judge a candidate’s success that he fails to consider something he himself points out later in his column [“This Media Life: Candidate.com,” September 15]—namely, that Howard Dean has raised the most money among the Democratic contenders not from $2,000-a-plate dinners but from small donations from first-time contributors. The many thousands who have turned up at Dean rallies exist in reality, not just in cyberspace, and they will each cast one vote, the same as Bush’s wealthy patrons do.
- Richard Schloss, East Northport, N.Y.

Cybermoms For Dean
Michael Wolff’s statement that “anyone who is regularly in touch with people who respond instantly and passionately over the Internet knows that they are not like you and me” implies that Dean’s supporters are weird. Well, sorry to disabuse you of the notion, but I am a typical suburban housewife—minivan, four kids, church on Sunday, school on Monday—and I am a passionate Dean supporter. We are not hermetically sealed off from the real world; we are a community—an ever-growing, welcoming, inclusive community—with a common goal: to get Howard Dean elected.
- Mary O’Sullivan, Yonkers, N.Y.

Elephant In The Room
Concerning Michael Wolff’s appraisal of Howard Dean’s Internet fund-raising: Dean’s fiscally conservative views and disdain for big-government intrusion into our lives make him more of an old-style Republican than anyone who currently resides in the White House.
- Becky Burgwin, Pittsburgh, PA

Tip For Tat
Your “Help Desk” advises readers not to tip a service provider if that person also owns the business, because the owner gets the profit of the business [September 15]. This thinking went out with the 10 percent gratuity. The business profits are compensation for the owner’s investment, risk taking, and management and administration time and skills. Gratuities are a separate consideration. They are a thank-you for a personal-service job well done, whether by the owner or a nonowner. Do you not tip a taxi driver because he happens to own his cab? Tipping less than 20 percent doesn’t mean you’re a skinflint. It means that the quality of service didn’t justify that amount.
- Floyd Smith, Manhattan

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October 6, 2003