When The Washington Star folded 16 months ago, there was great lamentation that people in our town would be deprived of printed news sources other than the newspaper you're now reading.

But, by gosh, despite the real loss of the Star's perspective on local matters, there's no lack of something else to read, judging by the number of news racks that have mushroomed in recent months.

A recent survey around the entrance to the Rosslyn subway station found available on a daily basis the Washington Post, Richmond Times-Dispatch, USA Today, Northern Virginia Sun, Washington Times, Arlington Journal, Fairfax Journal, Alexandria Journal, Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post and--if you asked the croissant vendor to move his cart--Los Angeles Times.

In other parts of the immediate region you'll find the Alexandria Gazette, Baltimore (morning) Sun, Baltimore Evening Sun, Montgomery Journal, Prince George's Journal and Frederick Post. Also, some weeklies and biweeklies.

(Missing, incidentally, since Jimmy Carter went back to Plains are the papers from Georgia's capital that tried to gain a foothold during his presidency, the morning Atlanta Constitution and the evening Journal.)

The diversity of news and opinion is, of course, good. But an unwelcome result is--as around Rosslyn--a dreadful clutter of the streetscape, with the racks scattered in helter-skelter fashion. Maybe we ought to return to the old-fashioned newsstand so famous on New York's Broadway.