Luxury [boring] City

At Chelsea Now I often feel like I’m writing a subtler version of one of those blogs chronicling the loss of old New York in the crush of New York’s new development, like Lost City or Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York. Roughly a quarter of my stories feature efforts to Save something, whether it’s Save theContinue reading “Luxury [boring] City”

"we ground troops still exist"

As some of you know, I was kind of devastated to miss Winter Soldier week before last. And the glimpse I got yesterday reminded me why, in the presence of a half-dozen members of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Some I’ve written about, like Garett Reppenhagen; some I’ve always wanted to meet, like Garett’s buddyContinue reading “"we ground troops still exist"”

rashomon, via NYC schools

This past Tuesday, I sat in a windowless classroom on my beat, getting yelled at by a principal, four assistant principals, and a handful of teachers and students from a local high school. Many of their sentences began: “Do you even know..?” Did I know that their math team had done well? That their mediaContinue reading “rashomon, via NYC schools”

"these people are a part of me"

Unlike the last time I blogged, I’ve kept these posts away from election campaigns. But reading Obama’s speech today, a passage struck me that could have been written for my entire family: I can no more disown [Rev. Wright] than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman whoContinue reading “"these people are a part of me"”

international development mit schlag

I’ve been sick, on top of everything else, which is why I’ve not posted in the past two weeks.  I’ll make up from it this week, by blogging daily from Winter Soldier. Meanwhile, stop by Jina‘s shop: you’ll be hooked. She’s doing important, groundbreaking work in Rwanda, documenting a country’s recovery from a very darkContinue reading “international development mit schlag”

…..the more they stay the same

Now we know for sure: military doublespeak has always sounded just like that. First, as the War of 1812 began and rumors surged through the military town of New-York that young men stationed at Staten Island would be deployed in the invasion of Canada, a pro-government newspaper scoffed: “We are authorized to state that no troops stationed on Governor’s Island have proceeded or are ordered to proceed to the North. The rumour that such an order is to be given is false and groundless.” Read that carefully for what it doesn’t say.

the things we stumble on looking for something else

 From Peter Doyle, a train conductor who came across  a New York poet named Walt Whitman one evening: “He was the only passenger; it was a lonely night, so I thought I would go in and talk with him. Something in me made me do it and something in him drew me that way. HeContinue reading “the things we stumble on looking for something else”

what writers block?

Last night we were hanging out with our  neighbors Mike and Betsy Fitelson  (a somewhat unprecedented event, despite the fact that he’s a fellow journo and they live in the apartment next to ours). Midway through,   Mike said something I’ve often tossed off just as easily:  “I don’t know what writers’  block means.” Given aContinue reading “what writers block?”

the glass slipper of Bryant Park

Turns out that given the site, near the park that 30 years ago had a seedy rep (so much so that we thought this movie was set there), the architects reached back much further: to the 1853 World’s Fair, when New York decided to best London and build a Crystal Palace.

As I said to a colleague, “That’s all a history slut like me needed to hear.” I spent far too much time reading about the building, designed by architect George Carstensen. It filled what is now Bryant Park with nearly 40,000 square feet of glass, 1,250 tons of iron and 70-foot columns supporting its central dome…