Letters from the Issue of June 17, 2004

Praise for Flagler, pickup lines that fail, and fountains that flow

Pipe Dreams vs. Harsh Reality
Simply put, the Star of Miami ain't gonna happen: If I were Jewish, I'd say, "Oy vey!" But I'm Italian so I'll say, "Fuhgeddaboutit." While Kirk Nielsen's article "Aqua Nova" (June 10) regarding Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt's plans for the Henry Flagler monument and Monument Island are welcome, they bring readers to the sad realization that we are about to lose a landmark dedicated to Miami's founder, Henry Flagler, and built by Mr. Miami Beach, Carl Fisher. I must agree with William Cary, Miami Beach manager of design and preservation, that Behar and Marquardt's idea to turn the island into something they call the Star of Miami will never fly. It's one thing to fly in a jet over Biscayne Bay and have a pipe dream, but the harsh reality sets in when you actually visit the monument in person.

We at ECOMB (Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach) have undertaken a restoration fund drive to return Monument Island to its original glory. Let's not make a mockery of this grand monument. Instead let's work together on the project realistically, not as individuals who only desire to have their artistic impressions immortalized at our expense. It will be difficult enough to restore it. We don't need to reinvent the wheel.

Paul Orofino
Miami Beach


Call for Auditions
Seeking writers and actors (Michael Moore and Al Franken need not apply): Ronald Mangravite has written a theater review I thought I would never see in New Times. In "Itsy Bitsy Drama" (June 10), his critique of City Theatre's Summer Shorts program, he gives voice to what I and many of my friends have asked for an eternity: What about fairness in the arts?

For many years, and even now, the press has had a free hand in expressing a one-sided view, which was finally challenged by Bernard Goldberg in his book Bias. Many of us have just sat back and watched plays depicting the wonderful values of liberalism and denigrating any conservative view. I don't believe I have ever read a review, especially in a liberal paper, that at least asked the question: "Why isn't there a willingness to honestly give voice to and examine opposing sociopolitical views?"

Mr. Mangravite has courage to challenge the "me-too-ism" that exists among our intellectual arts community. Bravo.

Roger Shatanof
Coral Gables

Editor's note: Ronald Mangravite's review incorrectly referred to City Theatre's current program as City Shorts. The name is Summer Shorts. New Times regrets the error.


I Go to the Market for Food
Not to be pestered by lonely guys with pathetic pickup lines: I feel I must comment on Humberto Guida's Publix, I mean public, proclamation of his newfound quest for love in public, I mean Publix ("BuzzIn: Tired of the Meat Market? Try the Supermarket," June 10).

It would be asinine to think that anyone you meet these days doesn't have skeletons in his or her closet to some extent. We all have a past. It might be wise to proceed with caution if you encounter someone in a club with whom you absolutely connect -- while under the influence of your substance of choice. But who cares if you're the 99th person to stick your tongue in his or her mouth? There is always the possibility you could be the last.

Publix on South Beach can be just as much a meat market as the clubs that share the same zip code. As a Monday-night (and occasional Tuesday-night) frequenter of said Publix, I've personally fallen victim to the strangest and most uncomfortable pickup attempts.

Example #1: Location -- frozen foods. A thirtysomething, above-average-looking man approaches me as I'm eyeballing the frozen pizzas (damn Atkins diet!) to tell me how beautiful I am. Not very original but flattering nonetheless, and what woman doesn't like to hear that she's beautiful? I smile and give the obligatory "Thank you" and eyelash flutter only to have him proceed to tell me how his wifenoticed me and he couldn't let me get away. He points out his wife, who is eerily smiling at me from down the aisle. Then he hands me a ripped corner from a page of child's stationery with their names and number written on it, and tells me to please be open-minded and consider calling on the weekend ... when they have a babysitter. My reaction: silence, shock, and a gaping mouth of the nonsexual kind.

Example #2: Location -- produce. I like to call this one the "divide and conquer" approach. Two Soprano-esque men (think Paulie, not Tony) who have not so discreetly been tailing me for a couple of aisles split up so that one of them is pushing his cart toward me while the other is walking right next to me, as if he were with me. The cart-pusher asks me: "Hey, are you two together?" My response: "No, I thought the two of you were together!" followed by a sweet smile and laughter as I turn and hightail it before their return laughter fades as they ponder whether or not that was some sort of homosexual inference.

And how many single women who dare to stroll up and down each aisle on their own haven't at one point or another had to endure facing some peculiar man making the same stroll in the opposite direction who leers/smiles/drools or attempts some cheesy pickup line ("Nice tattoo -- can I see you sometime?") causing an awkward encounter in each and every aisle.

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