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A Right Wrong Turn

Loved your article “A Fusion of Flavors” on the Harlem restaurant scene (October). The first time I went to Harlem, it was a mistake. It was the 1950s. My teenage friends and I took the wrong subway and ended up on 125th Street. What a difference the years make!  Now we go eagerly to eat, check out the charming brownstones, and relish the Harlem Renaissance. Red Rooster is a favorite spot. And it’s not just the food. It’s the vibe. Chef Marcus Samuelsson presides over a rainbow coalition, greeting old friends and newcomers with equal zest. And don’t miss the peach cobbler at nearby Sylvia’s. 
Judith Bishop
New York and Miami Beach

Space Travel

Adam Pitluck’s note “Moon Shadow” (October) reminded me of my stay in Venezuela, and the canoe trip my husband and I took on one of the tributaries of the Orinoco River. For two nights we slept in hammocks on a campground that was owned by the local Indians. While they supplied the campsite with food and water, they kept to themselves, living as they did in a nearby village. One night, I noticed that there was a beautiful full moon, but I couldn’t see it well from the campsite because the trees were so tall and dense. I followed a path through the jungle to have a better look. An Indian who was also walking down the path stopped to ask if I was lost. “Lady,” he inquired, “Are you alright? Why are you here?” I told him that I wanted to get a better look at the moon. He replied, “Why? Don’t you have a moon where you live?”
RoseAnna Mueller
Grand Beach, MI

Noises Off

I read the short POV article about how sounds contribute to the scariness of horror movies with interest (“Things That Go Bump in the Night,” October). The sounds of movies of this genre have always freaked me out more than the images; I can’t stand to be within earshot of such sounds even if I am not engaged in the movie. On my eastbound transatlantic flight, I decided to see if, protected by this intellectual knowledge about sounds gained from reading the article, I could watch a scary flick. I got through the first sounds of creaky hinges and blowing winds in The Conjuring 2 OK, but when it got to the deep rumbling sound and dissonant music, I had to give up. The new information did not rescue me from the eerie effectiveness of the soundtrack. I switched to something more cheery on the movie menu.
Lloyd Brimhall
Tempe, AZ

A Stirring Tail

Your article, “Camp Mermaid” by Kathleen Parrish (October) brought back fond memories for me. You see, I was a Weeki Wachee Mermaid in 1974 and 1975. I even recognized one of the mermaids pictured! I drank Coke from a bottle and ate bananas under water too. The hardest part was using only breath control to stay under water during the 45 minute shows. During the performance if we took in too much air we shot up to the surface and out of sight. The feeling of absolute beauty and freedom under the water is something I will never forget.  Now I have the same feeling above the ground in flight since I am flight attendant for American Airlines. Which job do I prefer? Well, I’ve been with American for almost 40 years! 
Kathleen Corbett
Leesburg, VA

Perfect Pies

First of all, in reference to your August article “Appreciating Apizza,” it’s pronounced “abeetz,” and my high-school friends and I always headed to Pepe’s after a game. Or just because we needed some “abeetz.” There was Pepe’s vs Sally’s. My brother is a Sally’s man and has the private number; collects his abeetz at the back door.
I’m glad Joe Murray sang the praises of New Haven Napoletana pizza, no matter how you pronounce it. My husband is a New Yorker and thinks we are crazy in New Haven. The next time you’re in New Haven for a pizza fix, continue on to Louie’s Lunch, home of the hamburger. But don’t ask for ketchup, or you’ll be booted out. It’s not the original store, but the recipe is the same. Then stroll anywhere along the shore for some great whole-belly clams and a lobster roll (we do butter not mayo). 
When I was forced to move to D.C., there were no pizza restaurants of any kind to speak of, but recently, Pete’s Apizza opened here with very familiar sounding names: The Cutler, the Staven (East Haven), the Wilbur-Cross … still not up to the level of Pepe’s, but then again very few are. Happy eating, and thanks for the shout-out to New Haven abeetz.
Pat Rosner Kearns
Falls Church, Virginia
Senior Editor Jacquelyne Froeber Responds: Pat, your “abeetz”-loving letter made everyone in the office hungry for a taste of New Haven. Thank you for the insider info. 

True Believer

Thanks to your article “This Is Me” in American Way (July 2016), I finally understand a former student’s obsession with Demi Lovato. Lovato seems to echo this generation’s cry for us to believe in them even when we don’t understand them. To believe in them when they mess up but get back up and move forward. To believe in them when they choose a different path, when their values are good but just not like ours. To believe in them when they struggle, when they love, when they’re laughing or crying or screaming. To believe in them when they try to discover how they can make this world a better place. I already believed in my former student, and now your article has made me believe in Demi Lovato. 
Laurie Carpenter
São Paulo
Design Director Todd Johnson Responds: You’re right, Laurie: Demi is the rare performer who avoids rock-star clichés and instead champions the underdog and the misunderstood. While I was on set with Demi during our cover shoot, I was impressed by her humility and how much she cares about her fans. That and how well she rocks a full-length black leather trenchcoat.

Recharging Your Batteries

I read your August article “Parks and Recreation” on my way from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco for our daughter’s wedding. I was delighted that the article mentioned John Muir and actor/historian Lee Stetson, who portrays Muir today through his performances and recordings. My husband and I enjoyed listening to one of Lee’s CDs, on which he portrayed Muir, as we drove through Yosemite National Park a few years ago.
Muir’s Alaskan journals enriched a trip exploring that majestic state. On this most recent trip, our daughter married in a grove of towering redwoods in the Muir Woods. Thanks to Muir and those he inspired, our national parks and forests continue to be a treasure for all. In my wedding reading, I drew on Muir’s spirit with this quote of his: “Everybody needs beauty … places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”
Suzanne Kindervatter
Washington, D.C.
Managing Editor Travis Kinsey Responds: Suzanne, our national parks are one of this country’s most valuable assets, and it’s experiences like yours that remind us that they serve not only as vacation spots but also places to recharge our souls and remind us what’s really important in life.

On The Road Again

I enjoyed Todd Johnson’s January “Maps & Legends” about Asheville, North Carolina, since it is one of my favorite places. The natural beauty of the region is amazing. We went zip-lining on one of the longest aerial runs in the country, high above the forest and mountain valleys. The amount of world-class dining that you can find — as well as local beer to wash it down with — makes for many an enjoyable meal. We even got pulled into the Friday-night drum circle mentioned in the article. One other entertainment option that I highly recommend is taking in an Asheville Tourist baseball game if you are lucky enough to catch them during a homestand. The cool summer nights, the baseball, the food, the friendly crowd and the reasonably priced tickets make for a fun time. Thanks for the reminder that I need to plan my next trip soon.
Paul Midkiff
Boerne, Texas
Design Director Todd Johnson Responds: Honestly, Paul, I agree. I could have written an entire article just on Asheville’s food and craft-beer scene. From its upscale take on Southern cuisine to its sloppy-good barbecue, I think Asheville’s restaurants rival anything happening in such critical darlings as Portland, Oregon, and Brooklyn, New York. Asheville is that good. (Yes, I just threw down the culinary gauntlet, fellow foodies. Let the debate commence.)

Artful Insight

Ed Leibowitz’s story, “Rocky Revival,” was excellent! Actually, the word excellent or even superb doesn’t do it justice. It opened up a whole new world of understanding Sylvester Stallone as not just the face of Rocky but as the creator of Rocky. Having been familiar with the film Fruitvale Station, it was amazing to see how all the dots connected for Stallone to allow the director of Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler, to also direct Creed. Adding to the amazing insight into the shaping of the life of Sylvester Stallone as well as of the Rocky brand was the uncanny timing of my reading the article. I had just gone to see Creed with my family.
For years during flights, I have always picked up the magazine in the pouch attached to the seat in front of me. Usually, this is just to browse through the magazine to see some stylish apparel and accessories, the latest gadgets, and other unique items usually not sold in stores. Never before can I remember reading such a comprehensive, well-researched and exceptionally written article in an airline magazine. Thanks for adding to my flight experience! The next time I fly American, I won’t be in such a rush to pull out my own reading material. I’ll first want to take a glance and see if there’s another amazing article awaiting me in American Way.
Anthony Parnell
Las Vegas
T. K. Responds: Anthony, your letter just proves what we’ve known about Stallone all along: Every move he’s made in shepherding Rocky’s story across the decades has been precisely calculated and thought out, so as to protect a franchise that not only means something to him but that has meant so much to so many people for four decades now. It’s good to see that our story helped contribute, however slightly, to the Rocky legacy.

Full Circle

As a lifelong fan of the Rocky series (I was 3 years old when the first one came out), I was enormously pleased to see Sly Stallone grace the cover of your November issue. It was great to see a bio piece treated with the depth and richness you brought to it. Your inclusion of the “old man Rocky” painting and the observation that Stallone is just one year younger than Burgess Meredith was when the original film came out makes the franchise seem somehow more complete and satisfying. Creed was a fitting chapter in the saga and Stallone’s best performance to date. Well done, to them and to you.
Dan Domberg
Belvidere, Illinois
Senior Editor Eric Celeste Responds: You picked up on the one detail from the story — about Stallone’s age relative to Burgess Meredith’s age in the first film — that shocked me the most. It makes me feel like an old man. But it also causes me to reflect on Stallone’s long, fascinating career, which the story detailed so expertly. Thanks, Dan, for reading it and for confirming what we thought: Stallone has created a character we will always care about.