Archive

New York

23 September 2013

Times Square hasn’t stopped running on temptation, fantasy, and greed, but these things wear different clothes now. Sex is still for sale here—just look up. From underwear ads to HBO shows, sex spreads itself over the very billboards the city mandates that buildings in Times Square display—but it’s so aspirational, so plastic and corporate-sponsored, that it hardly registers as sex, and surely not as sleaze. More…

12 November 2012

People’s cars were floating like carrots in soup. The emergency responders were outside, helping the people who lived across the street evacuate their ground floor apartments which had just become swamps. Some people jumped into their cars and tried to save them, but only the lights turned on. If the water wasn’t moving them, they weren’t moving. More…

9 July 2012

Urban modernism was the ideology of City Hall. With midtown Manhattan’s rising business district serving as a model, city government (aided by federal funding and private institutional partners) sought to transform the largely obsolescent, decaying, yet stubbornly rooted cityscape into one that was fluid, dynamic, and detached from nature’s vagaries. More…

13 October 2011

Mayor Bloomberg has ordered the Occupy Wall Street protesters to remove themselves and their supplies from the Park at 7 AM tomorrow. If the protesters don’t leave, Bloomberg likely will order you and your colleagues to forcibly remove and arrest the men and women who have come there to protest the policies, politicians, and financial leaders responsible for the continuing economic crisis. As concerned citizens, we ask you not to follow this order. More…

12 September 2011

Serra, who lived in the same Duane Street loft building as Murray, watched the first plane hit the North Tower, then people jumping, then the collapse. One of his assistants arrived at his studio covered in ash. His exhibition at Gagosian was delayed by a month—the truckers who handle his enormous steel sculptures had volunteered to help clean up Ground Zero. More…

9 September 2011

The operators didn’t make any small talk, nor did they offer any marketingesque pleasantries about the adventure we had chosen and how meaningful it might or might not be. They merely nodded to the life jackets, unmoored the boat, and motored out into the harbor with us. In the face of their alpha-male taciturnity, I remember scrutinizing the winch at the back of the vessel for clues about how the whole thing was going to work. More…

17 February 2011

The opera, with its dreamy, almost plot-free structure—a series of loosely connected tableaux in the Great Hall of the People, a Beijing factory, and finally the leaders’ bedrooms—now has a different weight. Its performance at the Met, under Adams’s own baton, feels less like a delayed coronation than the revisiting of a repertory piece. More…

14 February 2011

The symmetry is powerful, if accidental. Both factions are marked by recognizable hairstyles and unusual modes of dress. Both groups are resented by their near relations (ordinary bourgeois youth, mainstream Jews) for their economic dependence on others. Both groups live in configurations unusual for the advanced capitalist west. It would not be unusual to enter either a hipster or a Satmar apartment and see a cot in the kitchen. More…

1 September 2010

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7 May 2010

It was packed and festive there, though an aging busker belting odes in the back room drove us outside, where a guy with magic weed smoked us up. I mean, he really smoked us up, with the result—I’m hoping this is why—that I mis-transcribed your number in the wee small hours of the morning. More…

28 September 2009

Another New York summer has passed: gone are the warm nights of stoop sitting; gone are the free concerts and outdoor movies and endless scrambles to claim picnic blanket space; and gone, too, are the Jews for Jesus. More…

5 December 2008

Soon enough real Christmas carols come back on. Is it the Wagnerian windows at Bergdorf Goodman that make us associate Christmas carols with Germany? Christmas music is very Nibelungenland. Christmas music is like The Marble Index by Nico. Play that constantly for a month and see how everybody feels. “Jingle Bells” is like the music from a Brecht play. More…

5 October 2006

In neighborhoods already bereft of their old industrial working-class base, the claim that Ratner will revitalize Brooklyn’s natural, irreplaceable working-class origins is self-fulfilling. If the opposition, as has so often been claimed, is obsessed with the “character” of Brooklyn, then Ratner is too, only more successfully. More…