Re "Close-Up on Chinatown" [Francine Russo, November 6-12]: Wowin all my years in the city, going to Chinatown almost weekly, I had no idea it was an "indecipherable" "foreign country." Thanks for pointing it out. In particular, thanks for the advice on where non-Asians hang out, since I'd like to avoid the Asians in Chinatown.
Actually, I'm pretty upset that the normally intelligent editors of the Voice deemed this racist article appropriate for print. Maybe for your next article you can feature Crown Heights and all those "crazy" Hasidim with their exotic haircuts and funky hats. Or go for the gusto in your next column about Asians and just call them "Orientals."
Francine Russo replies: As a longtime New Yorker, I've always loved the diversity of neighborhoods here. I've especially enjoyed exploring areas where immigrants from all over the world have transferred their languages, cultures, and cuisines. In a city with a Gap, Starbucks, and Duane Reade on almost every street, I savor the "foreign" qualities of these neighborhoods. I meant no disrespect to the people who live there.
In Alisa Solomon's informative news feature, "Which Third Way?" [October 30-November 5], she states, "To those Greens who still justify voting for Nader in 2000 by saying there's a negligible difference between Bush and Gore, [Democrats] have two words: John Ashcroft."
The sad reality is, the Democrats could have easily blocked the Ashcroft nomination. The only distinguishing feature separating the two parties is rhetoric.
Maybe Green was the way to go.
ALL THAT JAZZ
Re RJ Smith's "Crossover Dreams" [November 6-12]: Is Eminem the new Tarzan in the "jungle" of the urban Afro-American rap music scene? Will he take charge and subdue the natives by bleaching the medium into a mixture that fits the mood of suburban acceptability?
Can this be the 2002 equivalent of Paul Whiteman "making a lady out of jazz"?
Matt Higgins's article on Tony Hawk was horrible ["Chairman of the Board," October 30-November 5]. Why not stop treating skateboarding as some kiddie pastime and actually do a smart analysis of the culture? My suggestion: Buy an issue of Big Brother magazine and study the writing style of managing editor Dave Carnie. He could have written a better article drunk, holding the pen by his ass cheeks.
New Haven, Connecticut
TALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN
Re Nat Hentoff's "Genocide: Sudan Found Guilty!" [November 6-12]: My experience of two summers ago agrees with what you have published. We spent two weeks in Cairo, Egypt, working with Sudanese Christian refugees. During that time with these wonderful people we heard many horror stories of persecution and murder by the Islamic government in Khartoum.
Keep printing these kinds of articles on the suffering in Africa. Maybe our American champions of civil rights will wake up!
TAKE CARE OF MY CAT
The eviction of boho legend Taylor Mead is certainly worth writing about [C.Carr, "Buried Alive," October 23-29]. But the writer chose to spend nearly her entire article harping on this poor old guy's filthy apartment, the cat turds on the floor ("We had to almost use a jackhammer to get that litter up. . . . It had hardened onto the floor"), etc. What a shame that she was apparently too lazy to get an actual story, opting instead for cheap gross-outs at the expense of a near homeless 77-year-old's public humiliation.
I LIKE MIKE
I worked with Mike Gecan for several years on an organizing effort in Harlem, and I was delighted to see him get the credit he and the Industrial Areas Foundation deserve in Tom Robbins's excellent piece "Building Public Power: An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action" [October 23-29]. Our efforts with the IAF were very productive, and I learned more from him and his predecessor, Stephen Roberson, than I've learned from anyone elsein any field.
Mike and his colleagues, while far from perfect, work in a creative yet practical manner, and they have taught countless people how to work effectively in the public arena. These leaders turn out to be far more sophisticated than the cartoonish characters one often sees on camera during a crisis.
THE KINDEST CUT?
Re Paroma Basu's "CRACK Comes to New York" [October 30-November 5]:
I'm sure you've received countless letters about how CRACK may destroy mothers' rights. But perhaps God's plan has also included this organization.
My sister, who died last year of an overdose, had several addict friends with children, all of whom were either taken away or severely neglected. The fact of the matter is, addicts cannot care for children.
Could CRACK offer similar benefits to male drug addicts in exchange for a vasectomy?
OUR BODIES, OUR SHELVES
Re Mark Dery's article on the New York Academy of Medicine Library ["Gray Matter," VLS, Fall 2002]: There is another medical library in Manhattan open to the publicthe Public Health Library of the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
Although it has changed locations since its founding in 1986, its missionto provide information to protect and improve the public's healthremains the same. The library is located at 455 First Avenue and is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Due to limited space and staff, visitors are asked to call ahead (212-447-2981).
Public Health Library
New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Due to a space cut, the views of Brad Lander, executive director of the Fifth Avenue Committee, were not adequately represented in Alisa Solomon's "Which Third Way?" [October 30-November 5].
While Lander did express his share in the "agonizing" that progressives are experiencing over whom to vote for, he also made clear that he came down on supporting Carl McCall on the Working Families Party line. Solomon regrets the incomplete reporting of his view.
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