A Comment On Comments

Somebody give me an excuse to go to Virginia.


I don’t know this restaurant, it is called The Commentary (great name for a restaurant) but if you go to their web site here, it looks REALLY GOOD.  Been a New Yorker my whole life  but I do notice three things:

  1. I would venture to say that 75% of the New Yorkers I talk to have at least given exploratory thought to moving.
  2. All the things that I used to think you could only get in New York you can now get everywhere.  And don’t tell me about the bagels.  That is the biggest crock.  I worked in town for over a quarter of a century and have eaten bagels there at least a thousand times.  And elsewhere.  That whole it’s-the-water-thing is delusional.   OF COURSE there are some regional things here.  There are regional things everywhere.  That’s what regional means.  But look at that restaurant, it looks good.  I am learning.
  3. New York is not New England.

So the whole comment thing has come up a few times, and rather explain it in the comments (see what I did there?), here:

  1. I am very fortunate to receive email from readers here who talk about the site, and the back and forth is one of the most popular features.  BUT.  This isn’t Facebook.  So if you say, “Hey Burton, we could have condensed that whole morning routine thing into two pieces…”  (and you would be right, had you said that) and I want to say, “You’re right,” there are two ways to do that.  One, I can reply to your comment.  You get an email (I think, right?) that I answered you – but who needs more email?  And you have to scroll down to see my note.  As importantly, so does everybody else.
  2. Then they have to scroll back up to see what you said, and in order to understand what I said.  Or vice versa, they have to scroll down to see if I said anything to what you said.  And then you get this:

    There are so many things wrong with this picture, but wouldn’t you love to know what the lady with the mic is saying?
  3. I agree, not everyone wants to see big bold letters in their “space.”  Italics are hard to read.  On purpose.  And how else are you gonna know it is me and not you?  I mean, you’ll know I suppose.  But no one else will.
  4. There are fixes, of course.  Right now this site works in conjunction with the Facebook Group.  FB is built for these conversations, and lines them up the right way.  Not everyone is FB, I get that.  But if you are, go ahead and post a link to whatever article you want to comment on over there, and we can chat back and forth without making anyone crane their necks.
  5. That’s a temp solution, ALTHOUGH IT IS WORKING.  We have over doubled the readership to the site since we got here, and on a monthly basis tripled it.  See, who wants to read italics?  Unless you are Stephen King, italics are best used sparingly.
  6. I DON’T DELETE COMMENTS.  Well, there were like 5 of them.  When I do, I write whomever left the comment an email, and if they are game for it we try to figure out a different way to make their point.
  7. What does delete comments are these two amazing programs we use, the main one is called Akismet.  It ain’t cheap but every day it prevents you from having to go through well over 1,000 (that’s a real number) of these:

    This is one of the short ones. They go on for days. There is very little intelligence in this artificial intelligence.
  8. Akismet isn’t perfect, but what is?  If you feel your comment got caught up in Akismet Land or something, just email me at john_burton@ivy-style.com (THANKS Charlottesville).  I will dig for it and put it up.  I did that yesterday.  You know who you are.

Have a great weekend.  If you have Duck Head photos, holler.  And thanks again for everything.


23 Comments on "A Comment On Comments"

  1. Charlottesville | January 28, 2022 at 10:19 am |

    JB – Thanks for the update on comments and other things. And, congratulations on shedding the far-too-common provincialism that affects some New Yorkers. And which also affects Charlestonians, Texans, Californians (less so recently), and quite a few Virginians as well, if I am being honest.

    Please do consider a visit to Virginia. Charlottesville is quite livable, enjoys some residual sense of heyday Ivy, southern version, and has a very good restaurant scene. We even have our own excellent bagels (www.bodosbagels.com), but alas no deli worth the name. Pastrami on rye with mustard and a half-sour pickle on the side must require some special gift that eludes 99% of non-New Yorker delis.

    The restaurant you linked to looks like a decent place, but having once lived for a time in Arlington, I can say that the neighborhood is a bit on the instant ambiance side, most of it having been built up around a Metro station over the last 10 years or so. However, an advantage of the area is that you have access to the restaurants, museums, etc. of Washington only a few minutes away across the Potomac. And, if you ever need a big city fix, Amtrak can have you in Manhattan in a few easy hours of watching the scenery go by.

    Changing the subject, I have sometimes wanted to say something about content, style, typos, etc., but did not want to post it to the site because, for example, pointing out a typo can sound petty, and we all make them, including most especially me. Similarly, asking a question about a peripheral matter is likely of no interest to most readers; see the preceding two paragraphs of this comment, for example.

    I would think an e-mail to you would be the best way to pass on this type of comment or question, but the last time I sent you an e-mail, it went unanswered for some time, and then I learned that your Ivy Style e-mail address was on the fritz for a while. All of that to preface a simple question: would e-mail be the best way for us non-Facebook folk to get in touch about that sort of thing, and if so, what is the best e-mail address to use?

    THANK YOU! I am coming in the spring, I will let you know? Email is john_burton@ivy-style.com and I could not agree with you more. I do 8 typos a minute but no one wants to scroll through comments telling me about them. – JB

  2. Criag Fulton | January 28, 2022 at 10:34 am |

    Re: “We have over doubled the readership to the site since we got here, and on a monthly basis tripled it.”
    This is not at all surprising.
    Thanks for breathing new life into the site, JB.

    Oh wow, thank YOU. – JB

  3. As a former New York resident, I will say that efforts in my current city to make pizza in the style or proper bagels (it is true about bagels) have been noble but have nonetheless fallen short. Still, that’s aiming for the stars and landing on the moon, so it’s not too bad.
    I’ve enjoyed this site for some time and the fact that readership has increased so dramatically is a good sign in many ways. I raise a glass of egg cream to toast your success. (Make that whisky. I never much liked the egg creams.)

    Thank you! And thanks for all the comments, too. Where did you move? Do you like it better? Why? – JB

  4. On regional things, and peripheral matters?

    From sauerkraut with Polish/German sausage or ham, and pumpernickel for leftover sandwiches, to New England style Thanksgiving dinner, mmm, mmm, mmm, my mom could cook anything, and I mean anything, in the most authentic style. Niether I nor my folks have ever been to NY or New England, but I always seek authentic quality at a reasonable price. Charlottesville knows. Pastrami on rye with mustard and a half-sour pickle is the schnizzle!

    From the west coast to the foothills of the Rockies, one can find the best Mexican food with green chili. East of Denver, Tex-Mex, etc., not that great.

    So, guilty as charged. I will attempt to refrain from peripherals in the future, but this seems to be the best place to have discussions with reasonable men, who are disappearing at an increasingly alarming rate.

    One day, we will have an Ivy Style convention/conference.

    Mr. … Bopper? We had a meet and greet scheduled in NYC for the break between Christmas and New Year’s, but pulled it because of Covid. I was organizing it on the FB Group. Are you a member? I will post here as well then. (I know not everyone wants to get to NYC, I am starting here) – JB

  5. Longtime reader and one who rarely comments. As someone who remains happily stuck in a routine with daily wearing khakis or Levi 501s accompanied by either a white or blue OCBD, my motivation for visiting this site is not driven by the style posts but by the comments. To Hardbopper’s point, I learn more from reading the “discussions with reasonable men” than the content posted.
    I come for the give and take in the comments. The grammatical police comments, debates over what is Ivy, regional perspectives, haughtiness, self-deprecation, cultural references, humor, and the display from those who possess astonishing levels of sartorial nuances entertain me. If anything, it seems there has been a regrettable drop-off.

  6. “And don’t tell me about the bagels. That is the biggest crock. “


    Also true of/about good clothing, a good steak, and live music.

    ESPECIALLY the music. – JB

  7. Boston Bream | January 28, 2022 at 12:15 pm |

    Agreed. I can still fine white and blue OCBDs, high rise chinos, rep ties,knit ties, grey flannel trousers, cordovan penny loafers (and by “cordovan”, I mean the color, not the ridiculously expensive leather), navy blazers, tweed jackets,as easily as I could in the late 1960s.

  8. I beg to differ, Mr. Burton. I have traveled across the entire country and I can tell you with certainty that NYC really has the best bagels. Same with pizza.

    The New York Times ran an article a few years ago about determining the scientific reason why NYC is known all over the world for having the best bagels. Turns out it was the water after all. (No joke.)

    Hi Mitchell – thought I read something about that too. I guess my question would be, then why isn’t everything else that is made with NYC water better? The Times – now, if the Cleveland Plain Dealer had published that piece… – JB

  9. First, it’s actually very refreshing to understand how IS manages the comments process – so many outlets are so intentionally opaque about how they actually engage with the public, with the ensuing frustrations and feelings of mistrust, that you discussing how the ship works from the engine room up is the kind of reader/member engagement that can only build and enhance trust, a rare and valuable commodity today. I think the recent boost in readership numbers proves the point.

    Second, as a transplanted 3rd generation New Yorker (born in Manhattan, grew up first in Brooklyn, then moved to Washington before middle school), it can be tough to leave the food and culture that’s in your bones (nobody does lox and whitefish like Russ & Daughters), and there are some things that New York does better than other parts of the country…but it is possible to embrace the place to which you moved while still keeping a your original home with you (so to speak). As for Washington, apart from certain areas, it wasn’t as interesting a food and cultural city until ca. 2007, and has really come into its own since then. Yes, the Chesapeake cuisine is amazing (and addictive), but so too are the many immigrant-run restaurants (Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Pakistani, just to name a few), trendy Michelin-star establishments, neighborhood favorites, and reliable watering holes. Plus, the longstanding strangeness around D.C. and pizza is long gone, especially if you like Neapolitan or New Haven-style pizza. It may lack the certain energy of New York, and be a bit more status-obsessed (yes, it’s possible), but look just beneath the surface, and it’s a far more interesting city than many give it credit.

  10. The Commentary is a tasty place. My office is across Glebe Rd from it and I try to get there whenever I pop round. Not as lively as it once was when all of the surrounding office buildings were filled to the brim.

    Having lived in Arlington (Clarendon neighborhood) for 13 years before just recently moving to Old Town Alexandria, I’d say the ambiance you get really depends on the neighborhood, it feels hyper local here.

    I spend inordinate amounts of time up in Westchester and while I love popping to Sal’s or Walter’s in Mamaroneck, in general I prefer the food down here. The variety has increased tremendously in the 30+ years I’ve lived in the area.

  11. Craig Sevde | January 28, 2022 at 3:48 pm |

    Wrong Mitchell. New Haven has the best pizza.

  12. Went to Little Creek, VA once, and had Oysters Rockefeller at a beautiful place on the water. Ridiculously good. No way that could happen anywhere else.

  13. I haven’t lived in NYC since 1971. I was born and grew up here.
    I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has it’s own
    peculiarities. I still consider myself a New Yorker. What I miss
    most are the museums, the shopping ( not as good as 30 years ago),
    the restaurants, the scale, the street repartee and yes.
    the assertiveness. For me Bay Area folks are a bit tame, despite
    the weirdness. Of the places I’ve visited only London and/or Paris compare.

  14. There are so many things I miss about New York. The city is teeming with energy and interesting people. Re: Roger Sack, I agree that New Yorkers possess an assertiveness that simplifies interactions (often *not* at the expense of kindness, despite what some may say). New York is a scintillating conversation continuously in progress. I’m not a native New Yorker: Like many creative-types, I moved there in my early 20s. I loved studying and working there, mostly living in various little apartments in the Village, but keeping up with the pace of life there eventually became unsustainable for me. And so, also like many creative-types, I eventually moved to Portland. It’s no match for New York in a great many ways, but Portland was a place where I could work to live, rather than live to work, and I came to appreciate the slower pace, the easier accessibility of the arts communities, and the proximity to some staggering natural beauty.

  15. Hardbopper

    Sounds like Steinhilber’s.


  16. Jonathan Mitchell | January 28, 2022 at 10:57 pm |

    Criag Fulton,
    I can only agree with your comment.
    I’m not going to badmouth CC, because it’s thanks to him that we have this site, and there was great stuff for years.
    But, after a while we got heavy doses of dime-store philosophy, mysticism, astrology, and pop quasi-religious stuff when he ran out of Ivy-related material. With JB at the helm, not only is the site back on the right track, but it’s become far more imaginative while always remaining true to Ivy sensibility.

  17. If you find yourself in Corpus Cristi visit The Yardarm. Rough looking outside but a local favorite for a reason.


    Definitely will do. – JB

  18. Craig Sevde | January 29, 2022 at 9:44 am |

    The only thing I retained to remember NYC was my 212 area code! Except everyone in FL has those as well! Lol

  19. The simple fact is that every place is unique and has its special places, food and people. I grew up in suburban Cleveland, Oho and it had(and still has) some of the best deli food around. It also had some of the finest menswear stores around as well-bunch Brothers, Harry Jacobson, Rogoffs. Great style and wonderful surroundings. Yes-NYC, SF, London,Paris, even LA, Rome, Milan-all great places. Let’s enjoy the best of where we are and eschew snobbery-it gets old and stale very quickly. BTW, this is a great website and is always a great read.

  20. @Jonathan Mitchell, I’ll agree on the direction of some of CC’s articles, but I don’t think I’d call his approach to mysticism or philosophy “dime store.” I very often found my views at odds with his, but he generally knows his stuff on a quite comprehensive level and meets a higher standard of background knowledge than most people in the new age sphere and its periphery. His regular column for The Bohemian is a worthwhile read, I think. Even some Trad-Man stuff, though that’s where I’ll more often find things to dispute.
    Still, JB’s developments at I-S have been really welcome, I’ll definitely agree.

    Hi Nevada, thanks! Do you think an article on CC (Not an interview) would be of interest? – JB

  21. I know you asked Nevada, but no.

  22. Respectful difference of opinion with Rake here, I think a check in story with CC would of course be of interest, particularly to some longtime readers. It might make more sense to do something like that further down the road when you’ve fully integrated more of your own ongoing developments here.

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