Urban Affairs

Gotham's Glorious Throes

04.21.2005 | Tim Marchman | Urban Affairs
The three of us wound up in a booth meant to barely fit one person, passing a bottle. We fed quarters into a slot and a corrugated metal screen went up, revealing an enormous and gap-toothed woman without a top snoring atop a three-legged stool. The manager picked up a long, thin stick, opened a hidden door, and prodded the woman in the side. She burst into vivid life, wriggling and gyrating even before she had fully opened her eyes. When she finally did see us, her eyes goggled. "Oh, snap," she said. "What you want to see?"

Anthony Haden-Guest -- "too uptown for downtown and too downtown for uptown.”

04.19.2005 | Jonathan Leaf | Cultural Affairs, Urban Affairs | 22 Comments
“I still think New York, despite its negatives, is the most exciting city in the world. But it’s the not the city it was, or the one I came to. New York then had this whole lot of Euro-trash that was very colorful, and there was the Warhol scene. Also, it had a literary world that seems not to exist now. In those days you could go to Elaine’s and writers would just hang out and smoke.”

Back to the Fortress of Brooklyn and the Millions of Destroyed Men Who Are My Brothers

04.18.2005 | Jacob Siegel | Literature, NP, Urban Affairs | 2 Comments
Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude was heralded as an Important Novel. Yet no critic or essayist has confronted it’s central theme: an exceptionally candid obsession with blackness in the white mind. Mingus, the central black character, is the story’s only true love, blackness its only beating heart. This is the most important work on race in 50 years — since Invisible Man — and no one has bothered to notice.

The Creative Class Con

04.12.2005 | Harry Siegel | Urban Affairs | 2 Comments
New Yorkers should know better than to take seriously an argument which asserts that “the real foreign threat is not terrorism; it’s that we may make creative and talented people stop wanting to come here.”

Dorfman's Gotham -- Cityfolk

Art Spiegelman                                       Seth Lipsky

Bloomy Bites Rudy

03.30.2005 | Harry Siegel | Urban Affairs | 1 Comment
What stood out from Mayor Mike’s rather lengthy list of his accomplishments, real and otherwise, were the two subtle but unmistakable cracks at his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, who no doubt casts a big shadow.

Light on Redemption, Heavy on Sin

03.24.2005 | Tim Marchman | Urban Affairs
Sante is such a good stylist, in fact, that it is hardly noticed that he does not merely describe, but implicitly glorifies the century-old equivalents of the South Bronx housing project or the Brownsville crackhouse and their attendant pathologies.

New York Beyond Manhattan

03.23.2005 | William Meyers | Partisan Art, Photography, Urban Affairs | 4 Comments

The eye never has enough of seeing.
--Ecclesiastes 1.9

Why Florida Fears Belgium, or, The Creative Class Schtick

03.2.2005 | Fred Siegel | Urban Affairs
In expanding his notion of cool cities and the creative class to embrace the entire world, Florida takes his one oversimple idea and spins it out into 315 pages.

Pier Fishing in LA

02.22.2005 | Gary Copeland | Partisan Art, Photography, Urban Affairs | 2 Comments

Walker Evans' Manhattan, Summer 1938

These photos, less famous than the subway shots that became Many Are Called, but nearly as impressive, were taken in the Summer of 1938 on 61st Street between 1st and 3rd Aves by Evans for the WPA.

The Free Money Pit

02.16.2005 | Harry Siegel | Urban Affairs | 1 Comment
In the upside down world of New York, the new school money is more likely to prove the straw the breaks the state’s fiscal back — and brings the city down with it — than it is to have much effect on education.

Sex (in a Tree) in the City

02.14.2005 | Hannah Meyers | Science, Urban Affairs | 8 Comments
As much as any high school couple, Gotham's pigeons expose their exploits to all who share their metropolis. On subway platforms, parks and crowded midtown streets you can find hot packages of pigeon strutting, showing their stuff, and getting — yup — some tail.

What Is Bloomberg's New York?

01.31.2005 | Harry Siegel | Urban Affairs
Most every New Yorker had a sense of each mayor’s New York, from Giuliani’s law and order town to Dinkins’ gorgeous mosaic, at last as far back as Lindsay’s Fun City. But Bloomberg has yet to define his vision, either to the city at large or even to the members of his own administration, who often seem to be running their own mini-mayoralities.

MLB's Daft DC Scheme

By playing at once the con and the mark, MLB has scammed itself out of a gold mine.

What's Wrong With MLB in DC

When MLB offered to let DC pay to have them play, Mayor Williams was fixated. He would be the mayor who returned baseball to the nation's capital after 33 years.

St. Augustine & the Cyclists, or, Critical Mass

Somehow all Union Square's sloganeering feels aimed at a far-off corner of the world, like American prayers in the 1950's for the conversion of Russia. Sure it expresses fervent hopes, but nobody's holding their breath.

Debris -- Murder and Regret

I spent the next three days pushing buttons. I wanted to help and they told me the best way to help was to do what I was told. That's how I got my Emmy. For doing what I was told and watching people jump out of the Twin Towers, in fast forward and reverse. Some sixty times I watched the Towers fall. Like a chimp in a Skinner box.

Adam Smith and Sonny Liston -- A Philadelphia Story

10.15.2004 | Peter Dougherty | NP, Urban Affairs | 3 Comments
The West Philadelphia streets on which I grew up were studded with shoe repair stores, laundries, restaurants, printers, banks, insurance offices, machine shops, newsstands, candy stores. This is where I encountered the outside world, got my first job, and learned the bourgeois virtues in miniature.

Life According to George Washington Plunkitt

10.11.2004 | Trad Anon | Partisan Reader, Urban Affairs | 2 Comments
New York City has got a bigger population than most of the states in the Union. It's got more wealth than any dozen of them. Yet the people here, as I explained before, are nothin' but slaves of the Albany gang. We have stood the slavery a long, long time, but the uprisin' is near at hand. It will be a fight for liberty, just like the American Revolution. We'll get liberty peacefully if we can; by cruel war if we must.