One of the more recent entries in the annals of literary hype that threatens to overshadow actual achievement is Nell Freudenberger. Back in 2001, when the recent Harvard grad was an editorial assistant at The New Yorker, her short story “Lucky Girls” was published in the magazine, and she soon became known, both in New York publishing circles and beyond, as a wunderkind. She happened to be attractive. “Too young, too pretty, too successful” said the title of an article by Curtis Sittenfeld, in Salon. But then came a well-received first novel, The Dissidents, and a short story, “An Arranged Marriage,” in The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 Fiction issue, in 2010, and awards, like the PEN/Malamud. And now with her second novel, Newlyweds (Knopf, 352 pp., $25.95), an extended version of “An Arranged Marriage,” comes her most successful effort yet, one that shows a more mature voice and the true triumph of her talent over her hype. Read More
By The Editors 4/24/12 8:14pm
We all know what Scott Fitzgerald said about second acts in American lives. And most of us can cite examples that belie the great writer’s grand assertion.
One of those lives, one of those second acts, passed from the scene the other day. Charles Colson once said that he feared what he might have become had he not gone to prison. But because he did, he transformed his life. He became a tireless minister to incarcerated men and women around the world, and the group he founded, Prison Fellowship Ministries, has offered solace and inspiration to hundreds of thousands of prisoners. Read More
By The Editors 4/24/12 8:13pm
The city’s archaic system of rent regulation may be in need of rethinking, but it is just as well that the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear a legal challenge to the system. The issue is contentious enough without the distinguished justices getting involved and possibly imposing a top-down solution. Read More
By The Editors 4/24/12 8:11pm
When Mayor Bloomberg announced the other day that the city would, in essence, provide New York University and its partners with a rent-free building for a new school of applied science in Brooklyn, a reporter asked why an elite school with a large endowment deserved such a sweet-sounding deal.
If Mr. Bloomberg was prepped for such a question, it showed. NYU, the mayor quickly noted, planned to spend $60 million of its own money to move Transit Authority equipment and city personnel out of the building it intends to occupy. “We should be saying thank you to them,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
Truth be told, NYU doesn’t need public expressions of gratitude. Read More
By The Editors 4/24/12 8:06pm
Call it the Tri-Be-Can’t effect: As New Yorkers, we loathe letting go of our venerable institutions. It’s hard to even admit that they’ve changed enough to warrant a new name. The Lincoln Center is referred to as “the tents” during Fashion Week, as if anyone is still fooled into thinking the shows take place in Bryant Park. The most recent egregious case of celebratory misnomers has to be the Tribeca Film Festival, which was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff. The purpose of hosting the event in Tribeca was to show the world that the neighborhood devastated by the attacks of Sept. 11 still had enough spirit to be snooty about its cinema. With its Cannes-do attitude, the festival premiered international indies in an attempt to show that New Yorkers were still as culturally polyamorous as their European brethren.
But for its 10th-year anniversary, something feels a little … different. Read More
By Michael Woodsmall 4/24/12 11:00am
Last Wednesday, Paul Molé—the legendary Upper East Side chop shop whose barbers have tended to the top-notch trimmings of Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio and the slighter of the male Honeymooners, Art Carney, among others—uprooted from its 1031 Lexington Avenue, thirty years its home, and moved … across the street. Read More
By The Editors 4/17/12 8:13pm
It was Beyoncé Knowles who sang that “Girls (Run the World).” She would know, especially given Sunday’s mob scene outside Bar Pitti, where she and husband Jay-Z attracted an agitated crowd, frenzied by a rare public appearance of their new daughter, Blue Ivy.
For evidence, tune to HBO, which debuted a show Sunday night starring daughters of David Mamet, Brian Williams and Laurie Simmons, whose 24-year-old spawn, Lena Dunham, also wrote, directed and coproduced Girls alongside Hollywood’s favorite one-manchild movie factory, Judd Apatow.
Note that Beyoncé didn’t have “women” in the chorus of her song. Even though Hillary Rodham Clinton can cover the New York Post, drinking beer and earning a classic headline—‘SWILLARY!’—in the process, it would seem Old Age and Treachery are no match for the youth these days, or at the very least, the fawning attention youth commands. Read More
By The Editors 4/17/12 8:09pm
When Governor Christie decided that it was a bad idea to build a new rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River, he made it seem like the project figured to become the region’s answer to the Big Dig. That infamous federally funded highway-tunnel project in Boston was budgeted at $2.8 billion in 1982. The final cost was more than $14 billion in 2007.
Mr. Christie insisted that the so-called ARC tunnel (as in Access to the Region’s Core) would cost billions more than the federal government’s estimate of about $8.7 billion, and that New Jersey would have to pay for 70 percent of the project’s cost. So he abruptly cancelled the state’s participation and effectively killed the idea of replacing the antiquated, century-old tunnel that Amtrak and New Jersey Transit currently use.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently released a report that indicates that the governor’s posturing was more about politics than it was about accountability. Read More
By The Editors 4/17/12 8:03pm
The Republican Party has been on the winning side of the past five mayoral races, which means that a generation of New Yorkers has come of age without realizing that there was a time not so long ago when Republicans routinely nominated sacrificial lambs for the city’s highest elective office.
As the mayoral campaign of 2013 approaches, there are signs that the Republican Party has no desire to return to the old days, when it was a nonplayer in municipal affairs. That no doubt explains the recent chatter concerning the party’s admiration of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
News reports indicate that the GOP would be more than happy to have Mr. Kelly’s name on the top of its ticket next year. And why not? Read More
By The Editors 4/17/12 8:02pm
Governor Cuomo and other top policymakers and legislators are in the process of negotiating a deal that would give parents of public school children full access to teacher evaluation data. That’s good, but there’s the not-so-good part: The data will not be released to the general public.
That’s a bad deal. How bad? Well, all you need to know is that there has been some discussion about possible prosecution of parents who slip the data to news organizations. That this kind of conversation is taking place at all should persuade Albany to make the data available to everyone. Complete transparency would make the issue of parental prosecution moot.
Those who wish to restrict access to the data note that evaluations of other public employees are not subject to disclosure. That’s true, but other public institutions are not in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime transformation, at least not to the degree that public education is. Read More