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
(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
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.
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
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.
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.
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