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Enough, Already

To the Editor:

Metroland is beginning to read like a particularly bizarre feature report on The Daily Show. First there was Laura Leon’s review of Angelo’s 677 Prime [Food, Nov. 3], which she lauded (sort of), even if she did have to suffer the fools who raised their eyebrows at her tardiness, as well as the women of a certain age looking for elbow room at the bar. Being a fan of Laura’s writing over the years, the review struck me as kind of smarmy, the way she let us know just how often she’d eaten there, high prices be damned. But I said nothing.

(The rest of this letter should be read out loud impersonating Lee Strasberg in The Godfather II, as he tells Michael in Havana how circumspect he’s been over the years).

Then the letter from the guy who thought Metroland was hoisted on its own petard. Now the letter from Brian Steckel, M.D. [Letters, Dec. 1] Brian writes: “To the good people of Albany and Metroland, please stop now. I have read your review of Angelo’s 677 Prime Steak House and I deplore you all to stop with your criticisms.” He “deplores” us to cease and desist? I’m just guessing that he means “implore,” but hey, I’m not an M.D., nor am I able to afford the prices of Angelo’s.

But what stung more than Laura’s high-handedness and Dr. Steckel’s low-browedness, was the good doctor’s dig: “The owner has attempted to open a first-class establishment in a city that has died.” Ouch! First of all, Doc, the owner hasn’t attempted to open a restaurant, he’s actually opened it. You should know, you’ve eaten there several times. A city that has died? Where you from, Bones? You say you’ve lived here two years. I think your reports of Albany’s death are a tad premature.

Oh, one last thing. I think you’ll find that most detractors of the review and the ethic embodied in it won’t be found at a mall restaurant. Deplorable characterization, and I implore you to explore better our hearts and minds.

Steve Hellyard Swartz


To the Editor:

I just had to write in to say that I totally agree with that doctor who wrote the letter about the restaurant that charges $40 for a steak. I’m absolutely entitled to flaunt my good fortune in such a manner. Hell, if Albany had a place that would let me pay $90 for a choice slab of beef, I’d go there in a heartbeat, if only for the continuing pleasure of working the fact that I paid 90 bucks for a steak into each and every conversation I had for the next decade.

When, after scrimping and saving for months, you can finally afford to go to the $40 steakhouse, you’ll see me there, because I’m there nearly all the time. The next week, when you’re back to ladling some glop into a paper cup on your little plastic tray at some awful buffet place, you’ll be thinking, “That rich guy is probably eating another $40 steak right about now,” and you’ll be right. That’s the kind of guy I am.

Some of you may take issue with the good doctor’s assertion—based on two years of living here—that Albany is a “city that has died,” but you know he speaks the truth. Albany was vibrant and exciting when he arrived in the glory days of 2003, but, as we all know, has slipped precipitously into a despondent funk over the past 24 months. By its conviction to cater to people who can afford $40 for a steak, the $40 steakhouse is simply doing its part to keep downtown Albany from death’s door. To criticize such courage is just sour grapes.

Even though I’ve never met the doctor, I feel we have a lot in common. Unlike most common folk, we have both eaten at the great steakhouses of America. We both love fine dining, especially the kind of dining that requires a little refinement and a lot of cash. We both think the rest of you unwashed peons deserve the Golden Corral, Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday, and that we’d rather be caught dead wearing a Men’s Wearhouse suit than set foot in one of those places. And we both love letting you know how much better off we are than you.

Al Quaglieri


That’s My Dome

To the Editor:

Your readers might not realize that Bubbles, featured in a photo in your calendar section [Night & Day, Nov. 23], is the same installation that was such a success at the concourse in the Empire State Plaza in April-May of last year, where it was eMPAC’s first public art project. It was a smash hit with State Museum patrons, plaza workers, and touring schoolchildren. In one hour, I counted over 200 people playing with the computer-projected bubbles, swatting at them and watching them bounce or burst while the computer made music to match.

I’m particularly proud of the installation because eMPAC commissioned me to design and build the spiraling dome that holds the show. Howie Mittleman, longtime owner of North River Boatworks, led the crew that fitted 130 sheets of plywood into a snail-like sculpture the size of a small house. It’s as much a part of the Bubbles experience as the interactive computer game you pictured.

Thanks for featuring Bubbles, it’s been a lot of fun for us as well as for all the people who have played in it.

Jim Lewis

Icarus Furniture


Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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