Michael Hurwitz
Red Hook

Janet Kim replies: Because the Neighborhoods column serves as a profile, the controversy over the imminent Fairway and Ikea was specified among Red Hook's various idiosyncrasies, including the lauded Sunny's Bar. Also, earlier in the year, Toni Schlesinger's feature "On the Waterfront" [February 6-12] detailed the community's delicate future.


From Robert Sietsema's fruitcake collection ["The Anatomy of Fruitcake," November 20-26]: "The mystic poet Thomas Merton ended his days at this abbey, and I like to think of him popping a final fruitcake into the oven as he draws his dying breath."

Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and writer, died in Bangkok on December 10, 1968, from accidental electrocution.

Sheila Goodman
Rochester, New York

It is unconscionable that we, like Robert Sietsema, suffer from such "affluenza" that we would disparage and scorn a gift of a fruitcake. In every city so many people are soup-kitchen sustainees or lonely, aged, ill, and homebound individuals, largely forgotten around holiday times. Surely these people would savor a fruitcake. Shut-ins who depend on Meals on Wheels, and God's Love We Deliver type of nutrition would welcome your cast-off fruitcake. Could not these "brickbat" fruitcakes be delivered to a City Harvest sort of organization that would distribute them? It would be no skin off your nose. You didn't want it anyhow.

Joan Mary Macey
Binghamton, New York

Robert Sietsema replies: Thanks for that correction.


The United States should have more Linda Fairsteins to protect its citizens from sexual predators [Rivka Gewirtz Little, "Ash-Blond Ambition," November 20-26]. As the article points out, Fairstein is a "skilled prosecutor with an eye for the truth." We should have more prosecutors who use their power and judgment to help sex crime victims and aggressively seek solid convictions against their attackers.

The fact that Fairstein has written a number of bestselling mysteries has nothing to do with her job in the sex crimes unit. Let's hope that she returns to public service in the future.

George A. Dean
Southport, Connecticut


Christopher O'Connor's "Good Old Boys" [November 27-December 3] is disgusting. First of all, why critique Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter in the same article? Yes, they're both from "boy bands," but their solo albums have completely different sounds. It's ludicrous to compare the two. Justin has his r&b thing going, and Nick his rock 'n' roll deal. While the albums may not be their best work, you must give credit where credit is due. And both of these guys definitely deserve it.

Not only did O'Connor knock Carter and Timberlake, he laid into Linkin Park ["Show Me the Way," August 19-25] as well. So it can't be just an "I hate pop" thing. Maybe he feels that he can't give good reviews or his reviews won't be credible. Whatever the reason, he should take a closer listen to a few of the artists he seems to despise.

Sarah Woodford
Waxhall, North Carolina


I did not appreciate Christopher O'Connor's cruel and stupid comments about *NSync ["Good Old Boys," November 27-December 3]. They're a hell of a lot more talented then the Backstreet Boys ever have been or ever will be. The review mentioned that Nick Carter co-wrote only five songs on his new album, but failed to announce that Justin Timberlake co-wrote every single song on his album.



Re Billy Altman's "Talking Turkey With an Old Tom" [Jockbeat, November 27-December 3]:

While I agree that the Mets pursued Tom Glavine overzealously, I think Altman shortchanges Early Wynn. Many historians present him as an old geezer hanging on and hurting his team in his pursuit of .300.

It took five starts (and two losses) with the 1963 Indians for him to get his 300th win. He may have been sent to the bullpen after, but he pitched well, with a 2.28 ERA in 55 1/3 innings—doing his best to help his sixth-place team win, despite having his personal goal in hand.

Edward O'N. Hoyt
Washington, D.C.


Re Ed Park's "Magical Mystery Tours" [November 13-19]: Your reviewer is pathetically trying to read things into the movie that do not exist (or perhaps they do—in his own mind).

The ever-so-righteous Muggle/racism criticism Park offers is so politically correct it nearly made me burp out slugs! Does the reviewer even have kids, or at least realize this is mostly intended to be enjoyed from a kid's p.o.v.? Potter author J.K. Rowling makes a perfectly good case here re prejudice in the wizarding world. Kids do get the point without Hermione having to be a nonwhite third-world AIDS orphan.

Ottawa, Ontario

Ed Park replies: I'm sure most nonwhite third-world AIDS orphans would see your point regarding prejudice.


I had a strong reaction to a statement made in one of Toni Schlesinger's recent Shelter columns [November 13-19]. The gentleman being profiled, Andrew Vesselinovitch, states that "you'd be a fool not to buy."

I hear this all the time from people who own, and my first question to them is always "How did you get your down payment?"

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