Get our free newsletter
Stephanie Mencimer’s screed on the Martin Luther King Library (“A Novel Proposal,” 11/5) and the letters that responded to it show real laziness of mind. What does it take to give off a critique of International Style architecture? Its detractors are legion—the public loves to hate it. One is usually preaching to the chorus when one views it as a blight.
Real critics—at least what critics used to be—can make contrasting judgments regardless of the fog of prejudgments that surround an object. I think you have to be pretty hidebound not to admit that the library looks spectacularly better than it used to. Period.
As to the maintenance of the inside, well, who can gainsay Mencimer’s charitable judgments? But she fails to note a huge advantage it has over older and more distinguished city libraries on this score: In old libraries, the stack are usually freezing cold in winter. At MLK, you can stroll and browse the stacks in relative comfort, and in the shadow of a large bookcase, shielded from the glare of banks of fluorescent lights, you can have a fine time finding a few books you want to read. Ms. Mencimer, have you missed the books for all the puke-green carpet?