Letters to the Editor
Really?!!! The magazine that celebrates all things great in Westchester County, the one magazine I look forward to receiving each month, the magazine that I thought had the most class, highlighting the “21 Best Looking Residents” in its May issue? Put your glasses on. There are many more than 21 best-looking residents in Westchester.
You should have stopped at “Westchester: Beautiful People,” because Westchester consists of thousands of beautiful people!
Elizabeth Aprile, Elmsford
My jaw dropped when I saw your May cover. Are these 21 people really worthy of being singled out from the nearly one million Westchester residents, or is this simply an exercise in flattering a few connected individuals? Have we in Westchester become so shallow that we are actually interested in who your editorial staff deems to be beautiful? I’ve thrown the issue in the trash so that my children don’t get the wrong impression that who is or who isn’t “beautiful” is worthy of this sort of attention!
Michael Aschen, Pleasantville
Please accept my congratulations on putting out an engaging, high-quality magazine each month. I have been in the magazine twice when I was editor-in-chief of Men’s Fitness. I was pleased to see a feature in your newest issue on my friend, Alvin Clayton. I was also intrigued upon seeing your cover touting “Beautiful People: 21 Best Looking Residents.”
I chuckled to myself, knowing the value of lists to magazines, and how challenging they are to create with authenticity and integrity—particularly when the subject is something as subjective as “beauty.” Of course, People is the standard, and they do a great job of recognizing a diverse group of “beauties” each year. Given Westchester’s great diversity (one of our most valued strengths), I was eager to see how your team would celebrate this great attribute. Now, I am stunned, having just thumbed through the feature’s 16 pages and seen not a single African American woman! Not one!
Depending on your source, African Americans represent between 13.3 percent and 14.4 percent of the county’s population. Our nation’s history is rife with instances in which blacks have been excluded when defining various standards of “beauty,” from the lack of black dolls produced generations ago, to the dearth of black models that long existed (and, to an extent, still does) in the modeling industry to the lack of black images on magazine covers.
And now this.
I have a 14-year-old daughter who is beautiful by any standard. Unfortunately, I cannot let her see this issue because, by the standards of the editors of Westchester Magazine, which comes into our home each month, she isn’t beautiful at all. Or at least no one who looks like her is beautiful enough to be so recognized. And that’s a shame.
Roy S. Johnson, New Rochelle
I am a 12-year-old boy living in Westchester. I am very disappointed in the “21 Best Looking Residents” story for multiple reasons. First, I do not find the people in the issue that good-looking. They are only attractive because of their money and not their looks. Second, you do not have any children in the issue. As if we are ugly.
Leo Bottinger, Scarsdale
Your May issue is why the suburbs are considered soulless, vapid, and uninspiring. Westchester County is rich in history and natural beauty, although anyone who reads your magazine would be hard pressed to find little more than articles dedicated to shopping and advertisements for cosmetic surgery. I’m canceling my subscription.
anonymous, via email
Your magazine has reached an all-time low. What’s with your feature story about “21 Best Looking Residents?” Who cares?!!!
Brenda Stein, Scarsdale
Editor’s response: To think we were worried about engaged readership…Okay, you got us, Westchester: we’re suckers for a symmetrical face and expressive eyes. We feel good admitting that, though, because we know we’re in good company. After all, the nominations for the article came from you and local experts in the beauty biz. That’s right. We may not be able to promise that these 21 lovely people are the absolute best-looking Westchester residents, but you certainly seemed to think so. Frankly, we would have gone crazy if we’d had to make the list ourselves. We think you’re all so darn hot and wouldn’t imply for a second that anyone who wasn’t chosen is anything less.
Of course, beauty isn’t everything. So, like a lot of the beautiful residents profiled in our pages, we urge you to “look under the surface,” i.e., our Table of Contents. In just the last two months, you’d find stories on the history of Westchester’s bridges, profiles of barrier-breakers like Dr. Yvonne Thornton (the first African American woman to be board certified in maternal-fetal medicine), a feature package on our LGBT community, not to mention a nod toward the natural beauty of our county’s common fish. You’ll see references to Malcolm X, Stravinsky, Yves Tanguy, Nabokov, and Shakespeare, who certainly never turned up his Elizabethan nose at “beauty too rich for use.”
Yes, Westchester is rich in history and natural beauty. It’s also rich in creative designers, restaurants on the cusp of environmental movements, and, yes, a gaggle of people fairer than a summer’s day. We love it all; we want to celebrate it all!
And that brings us to diversity. Our 21 beautiful residents (who run the gamut, Leo, of five different decades in age) and included one Puerto Rican, one Pakistani, one Irishman, one Siberian, one Chinese-Jamaican, one Dominican, one Indian, one African American man, and, yes, and one African American/West Indian woman. In striving for broad diversity without adhering to strict quotas (which don’t always capture the realities of our increasingly mixed heritage), we do hope that—unlike so much contemporary media—we communicated our firm belief that beauty flourishes in each of our communities.
So take a look at yourself in the mirror, Westchester: you’re lookin’ good.
A No-So Secret Affair
I enjoyed your article, “The Westchester Closet,” on secretly gay men in Westchester. I am currently with a man from Westchester. Our story is unique because his wife knows. In fact we’ve all been to movies, dinners, bars, etc., together.
Their children do not know. I believe that is the last tie that is holding him and his wife to their marriage. His wife and I have emailed each other about the best way to ease the kids into this.
He and I don’t hold hands in public like we do in the city, but there is still that kiss goodnight before I sadly drive back to the city without him to live his pretend life of heterosexuality. I am confused about what to think of all of this. But I can relate to many of the things in the article.
Name withheld, Manhattan
Oops! In last month’s story, “The Westchester Closet,” we stated that the local chapter of the Straight Spouse Network meets in Scarsdale; it actually meets in White Plains. For more information, email Carol Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit straightspouse.org.
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