Letters: August 19, 2009
Reds, whites, and the blues
Re Graham Rayman's 'High and Dry' [August 12–18]: Thanks for the inside dish regarding the beverage industry. As a New York native who spent nearly a decade out West, it's a culture shock and an embarrassment to not be able to purchase my reds with other grocery items.
But regarding Trader Joe's, I'd hardly say that wine is sold in a separate storefront "for no good reason at all." Have you seen the lines at the 14th Street store? Personally, I enjoy picking up my Merlot without the half-hour wait in line.
I must say I find it hard to believe that a journalist writing for an independent urban newspaper would compose an article arguing for the death of the neighborhood store in favor of big-box corporate homogenization.
If I understand it correctly, you would prefer the time savings of picking up a major-brand bottle of mediocre wine at your local grocery store, from people who care little and know less about the bottle they are selling you, over going to your local liquor store and getting a good bottle of wine, likely for less money, from someone who can tell you why that bottle is the one to take home.
If your vision of having wine in grocery stores were to come true, the world and our city would become far less interesting indeed. Our cities are the last bastion of interest, of variety, of flavor. Let us walk to our local liquor store because we can.
This story does a great job of taking an everyday question and finding the deep political reasons behind it. Nice work. And the law is lame. Liquor, beer, wine, and groceries should be sold in the same place—way more convenient. We have plenty of mom-and-pop liquor stores in Brooklyn anyway.
Re Tom Robbins's 'Inside the Mayor's Studio' [August 5–11]: Interesting read. I actually kind of liked the article—but only because it read like something out of a pitch for an NBC summer replacement. Summary: Ex-banker, a dapper and dashing gent with his drop-dead gorgeous exotic Brazilian blonde wife, is lured by billionaire media mogul into politics. Banker builds media empire. Twelve months later, ex-banker, now media hotshot, ends up going back to private sector to work with other billionaires. Oh, and on weekends, he jets around with his royal pals from boarding school who rule small city-states.
Conclusion: I was stuck in a coffee shop for 30 minutes waiting for someone, and I would never normally read The Village Voice. If the VV is trying to go toward more society and power articles à la Vanity Fair, I'm all for it. But warning: Vanity Fair–type journalism isn't about name-dropping; stories need to have an angle. Here, my question is: Where's the beef?
This whole saga tastes and smells like sour grapes by some public servant(s) who really resented the fact that they had to work for private-sector-minded bosses, like Bloomberg and Wierson, who lead lifestyles they could never dream of. And the Voice, the AFL-CIO of left-wing journalism, got intoxicated by the allure of money, power, intrigue, and royalty and forgot that real journalism must have substance. Maybe the Voice should go back to page-turners that cover waste-management politics and counting rats.
Maria de Gracia
Stoops to conquer
Re Elizabeth Dwoskin's 'Stop-and-Frisk 101' [July 29–August 4]: I so want to like the police, but this article makes it terribly hard. And how about this? While I'm sitting on the steps of the urban park on Houston Street on a weekend afternoon, a police car drives around the basketball courts, just two feet from where kids are playing. How rude and tyrannical. Is it too hard to do a walk-through and converse with the children and adults?
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