For Garden State Democrats, the reversal of fortune these past few years has been startling. For the decade and a half before Christie’s 2009 election, Democrats were practically unbeatable in the state. There were two main ingredients to this success: Demographic changes that made the state more diverse and Democrat-friendly, and the post-1994 redefinition of the national Republican Party as Southern-dominated, Christian-infused and ideologically far to the right; the culturally liberal suburbanites who’d happily voted for Kean, Clifford Case and even Ronald Reagan began fleeing the G.O.P. label in droves. Even when it seemed like they were doing everything they could to lose elections, Democrats would still come out on top.
But now they’re fighting for their lives, facing not only the prospect of four more years without the governorship, but also the potential unraveling of a down-ballot empire on which the jobs and contracts that give the party its organizational and financial muscle depend. It’s a turnaround that can be attributed to a host of culprits, but one towers over the others: The New Jersey Democratic Party itself.

Exit everyman: How the Jersey Democratic bosses destroyed Dick Codey and unleashed Chris Christie | by Steve Kornacki | Capital New York

For Garden State Democrats, the reversal of fortune these past few years has been startling. For the decade and a half before Christie’s 2009 election, Democrats were practically unbeatable in the state. There were two main ingredients to this success: Demographic changes that made the state more diverse and Democrat-friendly, and the post-1994 redefinition of the national Republican Party as Southern-dominated, Christian-infused and ideologically far to the right; the culturally liberal suburbanites who’d happily voted for Kean, Clifford Case and even Ronald Reagan began fleeing the G.O.P. label in droves. Even when it seemed like they were doing everything they could to lose elections, Democrats would still come out on top.

But now they’re fighting for their lives, facing not only the prospect of four more years without the governorship, but also the potential unraveling of a down-ballot empire on which the jobs and contracts that give the party its organizational and financial muscle depend. It’s a turnaround that can be attributed to a host of culprits, but one towers over the others: The New Jersey Democratic Party itself.

Exit everyman: How the Jersey Democratic bosses destroyed Dick Codey and unleashed Chris Christie | by Steve Kornacki | Capital New York


In the decade following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, when lower Manhattan’s viability as the city’s global business center was very much in question, other, unrelated trends pushed the neighborhood into a renaissance. More people live there and a greater diversity of businesses are located there than before Sept. 11. Landlords, businesses and residents have more financial incentive than ever to invest in the neighborhood, even as the damage wrought by the hurricane has many climate experts predicting a future of devastating storms like Sandy.
When the storm made landfall just south of Atlantic City on the evening of Oct. 29, it pushed a record 13.88-foot storm surge over the southern tip of Manhattan, turning the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel into a 90 million-gallon holding tank, filling the World Trade Center site’s basement levels with up to 30 feet of water.
Water climbed to the ceiling of the South Ferry subway station, the end of the No. 1 line in lower Manhattan, and debris covered tracks in stations up and down other lines after the water rushed in and out.
M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota said that seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were flooded. The flooding in the tunnels in Lower Manhattan was so serious that the Federal Emergency Management Agency asked specialists from the Army Corps of Engineers to help. The “unwatering team,” as it is known — two hydrologists and two mechanical engineers from the corps with experience in draining flooded areas — flew to the airport in White Plains because it was one of the few in the area that was open.
The eastern part of lower Manhattan, where the FDR highway divides neighborhoods from the waterfront and Pier 17 juts into the East River, was particularly hard hit. The surge and ensuing rainfall flooded parking garages and coffee shops, clothing stores, and at least one doggie daycare (the Salty Paw, on nearby Peck Slip). Thousands of New Yorkers found themselves out of office and home.
When serious questions are asked about residential waterfront communities in New Jersey, Staten Island and the south shores of Long Island, lower Manhattan is rarely mentioned. And while the big landlords interviewed by Capital expressed interest in measures they or the city might take to protect the neighborhood from the next superstorm, in the meantime almost everyone seems to be rebuilding pretty much what was there before.

Lower Manhattan rebuilds again, until the next time | by Dana Rubinstein | Capital New York

In the decade following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, when lower Manhattan’s viability as the city’s global business center was very much in question, other, unrelated trends pushed the neighborhood into a renaissance. More people live there and a greater diversity of businesses are located there than before Sept. 11. Landlords, businesses and residents have more financial incentive than ever to invest in the neighborhood, even as the damage wrought by the hurricane has many climate experts predicting a future of devastating storms like Sandy.

When the storm made landfall just south of Atlantic City on the evening of Oct. 29, it pushed a record 13.88-foot storm surge over the southern tip of Manhattan, turning the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel into a 90 million-gallon holding tank, filling the World Trade Center site’s basement levels with up to 30 feet of water.

Water climbed to the ceiling of the South Ferry subway station, the end of the No. 1 line in lower Manhattan, and debris covered tracks in stations up and down other lines after the water rushed in and out.

M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota said that seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were flooded. The flooding in the tunnels in Lower Manhattan was so serious that the Federal Emergency Management Agency asked specialists from the Army Corps of Engineers to help. The “unwatering team,” as it is known — two hydrologists and two mechanical engineers from the corps with experience in draining flooded areas — flew to the airport in White Plains because it was one of the few in the area that was open.

The eastern part of lower Manhattan, where the FDR highway divides neighborhoods from the waterfront and Pier 17 juts into the East River, was particularly hard hit. The surge and ensuing rainfall flooded parking garages and coffee shops, clothing stores, and at least one doggie daycare (the Salty Paw, on nearby Peck Slip). Thousands of New Yorkers found themselves out of office and home.

When serious questions are asked about residential waterfront communities in New Jersey, Staten Island and the south shores of Long Island, lower Manhattan is rarely mentioned. And while the big landlords interviewed by Capital expressed interest in measures they or the city might take to protect the neighborhood from the next superstorm, in the meantime almost everyone seems to be rebuilding pretty much what was there before.

Lower Manhattan rebuilds again, until the next time | by Dana Rubinstein | Capital New York

A gap in the city’s hurricane response, and a volunteer army’s attempt to fill it

A gap in the city’s hurricane response, and a volunteer army’s attempt to fill it


 JFK: Um, did you really all have hourglass figures?
 Mom: Yep, we really did. We wore body-hugging skirts, blouses with bows at the neck, and suits, if we could afford them. Women, even secretaries, wore suits. But mostly skirts and blouses and dresses. It was not very comfortable, especially sitting in those skirts. They would ride up, of course. But we all dressed very formally, always. Men: suit and tie, and that’s a proper suit, no jackets and slacks. Women: girdle, stockings, high heels, always. No sneakers to walk to work; we would not have been caught dead in them.
JFK: What was the office environment like?
Mom: Sexual overtones were in the air, like breathing. It was the culture, not just at Playboy. Women were objects of desire, period. However, this was the office of a highly successful magazine and we were expected to work well and professionally and we all did. There were, as I remember, five of us, including the head secretary. We sat in a line at our desks in a large room and the ad men’s offices opened behind us. Each ad man had a small office, but with a window overlooking Park Avenue, a nice desk, chairs for visitors. We each worked for two or three ad men directly. There was flirting, innuendo, double entendre all the time, but rarely was it serious. It became serious only if the woman allowed it in the work place and this hardly ever happened. Not at Playboy while I was there, but certainly somewhere, and abortions were illegal. I knew one young woman who flew from New York City to Mexico for one.

Entertainment for Women | A daughter interviews her mother about working for Playboy in the ’60sby Jessica Francis Kane | The Morning News

JFK: Um, did you really all have hourglass figures?

Mom: Yep, we really did. We wore body-hugging skirts, blouses with bows at the neck, and suits, if we could afford them. Women, even secretaries, wore suits. But mostly skirts and blouses and dresses. It was not very comfortable, especially sitting in those skirts. They would ride up, of course. But we all dressed very formally, always. Men: suit and tie, and that’s a proper suit, no jackets and slacks. Women: girdle, stockings, high heels, always. No sneakers to walk to work; we would not have been caught dead in them.

JFK: What was the office environment like?

Mom: Sexual overtones were in the air, like breathing. It was the culture, not just at Playboy. Women were objects of desire, period. However, this was the office of a highly successful magazine and we were expected to work well and professionally and we all did. There were, as I remember, five of us, including the head secretary. We sat in a line at our desks in a large room and the ad men’s offices opened behind us. Each ad man had a small office, but with a window overlooking Park Avenue, a nice desk, chairs for visitors. We each worked for two or three ad men directly. There was flirting, innuendo, double entendre all the time, but rarely was it serious. It became serious only if the woman allowed it in the work place and this hardly ever happened. Not at Playboy while I was there, but certainly somewhere, and abortions were illegal. I knew one young woman who flew from New York City to Mexico for one.

Entertainment for Women | A daughter interviews her mother about working for Playboy in the ’60s
by Jessica Francis Kane | The Morning News


Your insomnia’s buzzing. It’s June 30, 1987. 3 a.m. No shot at sleep, no shot at sex. You’re up, awake, obsessing over the sudden dip in Wally Backman’s batting average or what the Yankees are going to do about their third starter. Normal, nightly stuff for a New York sports fan. Then you get pensive. About why the Knicks suck; and why the Rangers suck; and why the Jets and the Giants suck even if it’s the wrong season to think about their suckitude. You want to talk it all out. No, you need to talk it all out. But there’s no one there to listen. You can fix this. HoJo’s stroke, Rasmussen’s slider — well, OK, maybe not the Knicks. You’re alone in the world with all this knowledge until, suddenly, you are not.
On July 1, 1987, WFAN, a 24-hour sports talk radio station, broadcasting out of a sub-basement in Queens, hit the air. It didn’t come out of nowhere, exactly. The format had been evolving. Marty Glickman, long-ago voice of the Knicks and Giants, first took questions on air in the 1940s at New York’s WHN. He listened to calls and relayed them to his audience since the technology didn’t yet exist to patch in a caller. Howard Cosell advanced the genre in the ’50s by openly chastising coaches during broadcasts. In the ’60s, Bill Mazer pioneered the current sports talk template, bantering with callers, letting their voices be heard, and then, in the ’70s, John Sterling crystallized it by lambasting them. Enterprise Radio attempted all-sports programming in 1981. They went out of business after nine months.

The Sound and the Fury: The fall and rise of the first all-sports talk station, WFAN
By Alex French and Howie Kahn on Grantland

Your insomnia’s buzzing. It’s June 30, 1987. 3 a.m. No shot at sleep, no shot at sex. You’re up, awake, obsessing over the sudden dip in Wally Backman’s batting average or what the Yankees are going to do about their third starter. Normal, nightly stuff for a New York sports fan. Then you get pensive. About why the Knicks suck; and why the Rangers suck; and why the Jets and the Giants suck even if it’s the wrong season to think about their suckitude. You want to talk it all out. No, you need to talk it all out. But there’s no one there to listen. You can fix this. HoJo’s stroke, Rasmussen’s slider — well, OK, maybe not the Knicks. You’re alone in the world with all this knowledge until, suddenly, you are not.

On July 1, 1987, WFAN, a 24-hour sports talk radio station, broadcasting out of a sub-basement in Queens, hit the air. It didn’t come out of nowhere, exactly. The format had been evolving. Marty Glickman, long-ago voice of the Knicks and Giants, first took questions on air in the 1940s at New York’s WHN. He listened to calls and relayed them to his audience since the technology didn’t yet exist to patch in a caller. Howard Cosell advanced the genre in the ’50s by openly chastising coaches during broadcasts. In the ’60s, Bill Mazer pioneered the current sports talk template, bantering with callers, letting their voices be heard, and then, in the ’70s, John Sterling crystallized it by lambasting them. Enterprise Radio attempted all-sports programming in 1981. They went out of business after nine months.

The Sound and the Fury: The fall and rise of the first all-sports talk station, WFAN

By Alex French and Howie Kahn on Grantland


"Adam represents the crucial link," said Anne Saxelby, the owner of Saxelby Cheese, which New York magazine voted the best cheese shop in the city in 2007. “He’s the behind-the-scenes guy that no one hears about but that makes the entire supply chain work.”
And yet Moskowitz is equally comfortable in front of the scenes. A born showman, he keeps a microphone and a set of Technics turntables in his faux-wood-paneled office, where he delivers ad hoc hip-hop performances to guests and warehouse employees. Moments after I first met him, he cued up one of his unreleased tracks, “Life Laureate,” and started freestyling about cheese. (“I got the cheese/ It’s like the weed/ But I sell that shit/  ‘cause it’s not a dirty deed.”)  
At the time, Moskowitz, a short but powerfully built guy with a tattoo of the entire cheese-making process on his left arm, was wearing a black T-shirt that read “Raw Milk Rockstar.” The phrase embodies his attempt to raise the profile of underappreciated cheese professionals.

New York’s prince of cheese | by Jed Lipinsky | Capital New York

"Adam represents the crucial link," said Anne Saxelby, the owner of Saxelby Cheese, which New York magazine voted the best cheese shop in the city in 2007. “He’s the behind-the-scenes guy that no one hears about but that makes the entire supply chain work.”

And yet Moskowitz is equally comfortable in front of the scenes. A born showman, he keeps a microphone and a set of Technics turntables in his faux-wood-paneled office, where he delivers ad hoc hip-hop performances to guests and warehouse employees. Moments after I first met him, he cued up one of his unreleased tracks, “Life Laureate,” and started freestyling about cheese. (“I got the cheese/ It’s like the weed/ But I sell that shit/  ‘cause it’s not a dirty deed.”)  

At the time, Moskowitz, a short but powerfully built guy with a tattoo of the entire cheese-making process on his left arm, was wearing a black T-shirt that read “Raw Milk Rockstar.” The phrase embodies his attempt to raise the profile of underappreciated cheese professionals.

New York’s prince of cheese | by Jed Lipinsky | Capital New York

The streets of Tirana and the roots of Albanian-American organized crimeby Kevin HeldmanCapital New York
A note from Capital co-editor Josh Benson on the series:

Last year, Capital published a series of stories by Kevin Heldman about the Albanian crime scene in New York. In the course of reporting them, Kevin talked to more than a hundred gang members, law-enforcement officials and civilians in New York and Michigan, and told the story not only of an increasingly prominent criminal subculture but of the hardworking, often misunderstood immigrant community that spawned it. His reporting took him inside homes and nightclubs and law offices and prisons, and the details he came back with were remarkable. Possibly the greatest testament to the reporting and writing that Kevin did was that his access got consistently, dramatically better as the series went on. This was zero-sum, life-and-death stuff involving people who for the most part were not at all accustomed to media scrutiny. But they kept letting Kevin in for more.  Based on that series, Kevin got a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to continue his reporting in Albania. He went, and found a place that was both foreign and familiar, from the street-food vendor who used to live in Jackson Heights to the bar owner who allegedly played a key role in a war between two Albanian local crews that ended in the murder of a would-be intermediary, whose body was found near the B.Q.E. 
Kevin’s back now. Here's his first piece based on the trip. We'll have more from him on this topic and others in the coming weeks.
This note is from our newsletter. And there is more in it! Sign up for exclusive pieces by our editors, links, and news from Capital New York.

SIGN UP HERE AND SUPPORT CAPITAL NEW YORK!

The streets of Tirana and the roots of Albanian-American organized crime
by Kevin Heldman
Capital New York

A note from Capital co-editor Josh Benson on the series:

Last year, Capital published a series of stories by Kevin Heldman about the Albanian crime scene in New York. In the course of reporting them, Kevin talked to more than a hundred gang members, law-enforcement officials and civilians in New York and Michigan, and told the story not only of an increasingly prominent criminal subculture but of the hardworking, often misunderstood immigrant community that spawned it.

His reporting took him inside homes and nightclubs and law offices and prisons, and the details he came back with were remarkable. Possibly the greatest testament to the reporting and writing that Kevin did was that his access got consistently, dramatically better as the series went on. This was zero-sum, life-and-death stuff involving people who for the most part were not at all accustomed to media scrutiny. But they kept letting Kevin in for more. 

Based on that series, Kevin got a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to continue his reporting in Albania. He went, and found a place that was both foreign and familiar, from the street-food vendor who used to live in Jackson Heights to the bar owner who allegedly played a key role in a war between two Albanian local crews that ended in the murder of a would-be intermediary, whose body was found near the B.Q.E. 

Kevin’s back now. Here's his first piece based on the trip. We'll have more from him on this topic and others in the coming weeks.

This note is from our newsletter. And there is more in it! Sign up for exclusive pieces by our editors, links, and news from Capital New York.

SIGN UP HERE AND SUPPORT CAPITAL NEW YORK!


Another kind of “for white people” work is much easier to grasp. It conveys up front the notion that white people are a breed apart, morally, spiritually, intellectually. “Birth of a Nation,” “Gone with the Wind,” and “The Searchers,” yeah, sure, but also the first scene of the first episode of HBO’s “The Wire,” a moment that seemed so condescending to me that I could go no further with the series that virtually every white writer I know loves to pieces.
The opening of the series is a murder-scene conversation between a young hood-rat witness and a sage, world-weary white detective about the death of a lowlife named Snotboogie:
MCNULTY watches as the body, now bagged, is hauled into the back of the MORGUE WAGON.
MCNULTY: I got to ask you. If every time Snotboogie would grab the money and run away, why’d you even let him in the game?
WITNESS: What?
MCNULTY: If Snotboogie always stole the money, why’d you let him play?
WITNESS: You got to. This America, man.
The WITNESS looks away, oblivious to the poetry of it. MCNULTY turns around, takes in the scope of the tragedy that is Baltimore.
Yes, of course, the Witness wouldn’t grasp the poetry of his own words. Of course, this is McNulty’s moment to sigh deeply at the “tragedy that is Baltimore.” This America, man.
“Mad Men” doesn’t condescend in that way, but I still find it hard to relate to. Money and status seem to be on the line in nearly every encounter. That’s why one character, a formerly slim, icy and glamorous blond who has become plump and was rechristened by “Mad Men” fans on the internet as Fat Betty, is a tragicomic figure in this show’s universe.
The direction and music seemed designed to convey that nothing is sadder than being overweight and shoved to the margins of the rat race. Betty is living through the aftermath of a divorce and a cancer scare, sure, but the fact that she can’t suffer these misfortunes in style, like Jackie O strutting down Madison Avenue, compounds the tragedy. It made me think of John Cassavetes’ brutal kiss-off to middle-aged Gena Rowlands in “Opening Night”: “You’re not a woman to me anymore.” Fat Betty is the flipside of chubby, lonely but bubbly Queen Latifah staring down the abyss in the comedy Last Holiday.

Steven Boone on the very white poetry of “Mad Men”

Another kind of “for white people” work is much easier to grasp. It conveys up front the notion that white people are a breed apart, morally, spiritually, intellectually. “Birth of a Nation,” “Gone with the Wind,” and “The Searchers,” yeah, sure, but also the first scene of the first episode of HBO’s “The Wire,” a moment that seemed so condescending to me that I could go no further with the series that virtually every white writer I know loves to pieces.

The opening of the series is a murder-scene conversation between a young hood-rat witness and a sage, world-weary white detective about the death of a lowlife named Snotboogie:

MCNULTY watches as the body, now bagged, is hauled into the back of the MORGUE WAGON.

MCNULTY: I got to ask you. If every time Snotboogie would grab the money and run away, why’d you even let him in the game?

WITNESS: What?

MCNULTY: If Snotboogie always stole the money, why’d you let him play?

WITNESS: You got to. This America, man.

The WITNESS looks away, oblivious to the poetry of it. MCNULTY turns around, takes in the scope of the tragedy that is Baltimore.

Yes, of course, the Witness wouldn’t grasp the poetry of his own words. Of course, this is McNulty’s moment to sigh deeply at the “tragedy that is Baltimore.” This America, man.

“Mad Men” doesn’t condescend in that way, but I still find it hard to relate to. Money and status seem to be on the line in nearly every encounter. That’s why one character, a formerly slim, icy and glamorous blond who has become plump and was rechristened by “Mad Men” fans on the internet as Fat Betty, is a tragicomic figure in this show’s universe.

The direction and music seemed designed to convey that nothing is sadder than being overweight and shoved to the margins of the rat race. Betty is living through the aftermath of a divorce and a cancer scare, sure, but the fact that she can’t suffer these misfortunes in style, like Jackie O strutting down Madison Avenue, compounds the tragedy. It made me think of John Cassavetes’ brutal kiss-off to middle-aged Gena Rowlands in “Opening Night”: “You’re not a woman to me anymore.” Fat Betty is the flipside of chubby, lonely but bubbly Queen Latifah staring down the abyss in the comedy Last Holiday.

Steven Boone on the very white poetry of “Mad Men”


Windolf, 48, is a recent addition to the group of people who are behind Punch!, a new iPad publication that is, for now, mostly a sparsely populated “bookshelf” of interactive games and visuals and other little graphic toys on the broad themes of contemporary politics and pop culture news. (It’s free at the App Store, here.)
"The web is increasingly feeling like noise and bother," he said. "I mean I read it, all day. But I don’t always feel so good afterward." 
What he sees in Punch! is the possibility of creating a successor to Spy, the seminal late-’80s monthly-magazine brainchild of Kurt Andersen and Graydon Carter that was a turning point in the culture of magazine-making and reading. It was a relatively short-lived, money-losing proposition that, in the final stages of its growth, scattered its seed across Manhattan like some kind of plucked dandelion, sprouting nasty bits of yellow everywhere it landed.
"On the other hand, I used to read Spy and not feel great afterward, either,” he said. “That’s something people forget.”

The making of a brand-new iPad magazine that’s already sick of the Internet | by Tom McGeveran | Capital New York

Windolf, 48, is a recent addition to the group of people who are behind Punch!, a new iPad publication that is, for now, mostly a sparsely populated “bookshelf” of interactive games and visuals and other little graphic toys on the broad themes of contemporary politics and pop culture news. (It’s free at the App Store, here.)

"The web is increasingly feeling like noise and bother," he said. "I mean I read it, all day. But I don’t always feel so good afterward." 

What he sees in Punch! is the possibility of creating a successor to Spy, the seminal late-’80s monthly-magazine brainchild of Kurt Andersen and Graydon Carter that was a turning point in the culture of magazine-making and reading. It was a relatively short-lived, money-losing proposition that, in the final stages of its growth, scattered its seed across Manhattan like some kind of plucked dandelion, sprouting nasty bits of yellow everywhere it landed.

"On the other hand, I used to read Spy and not feel great afterward, either,” he said. “That’s something people forget.”

The making of a brand-new iPad magazine that’s already sick of the Internet | by Tom McGeveran | Capital New York


Most film festivals can be summed up as a party, a marketplace, or a platter of cultural fruit and vegetables. Ebertfest, now 14 years old, is a love-in.
Chaz Ebert presides over the film screenings the way my mother used to usher people into her kitchen and fix them a heaping plate. Chaz’s famous husband Roger selects the films they show with an emphasis on love and understanding. The characters in Ebertfest films are motivated by love, hobbled by obstacles to understanding. When they fight their way through problems to find some kind of clarity, blindingly beautiful things happen.
One of Roger Ebert’s good friends, the maverick Australian filmmaker Paul Cox, said at a Q&A at the festival, which took place last week, “Our eyes need caressing as much as anything else.”
He was talking about the blunt, all-business visual flow of contemporary mainstream cinema, where every moment is sold hard and fast. The characters who attend Ebertfest learn that they don’t have to enter the theater bracing for a beating or a hustle. They’re home.

At Ebertfest, where no one mutters about the color of your ticket and the ‘Times’ doesn’t rule | by Steven Boone | Capital New York

Most film festivals can be summed up as a party, a marketplace, or a platter of cultural fruit and vegetables. Ebertfest, now 14 years old, is a love-in.

Chaz Ebert presides over the film screenings the way my mother used to usher people into her kitchen and fix them a heaping plate. Chaz’s famous husband Roger selects the films they show with an emphasis on love and understanding. The characters in Ebertfest films are motivated by love, hobbled by obstacles to understanding. When they fight their way through problems to find some kind of clarity, blindingly beautiful things happen.

One of Roger Ebert’s good friends, the maverick Australian filmmaker Paul Cox, said at a Q&A at the festival, which took place last week, “Our eyes need caressing as much as anything else.”

He was talking about the blunt, all-business visual flow of contemporary mainstream cinema, where every moment is sold hard and fast. The characters who attend Ebertfest learn that they don’t have to enter the theater bracing for a beating or a hustle. They’re home.

At Ebertfest, where no one mutters about the color of your ticket and the ‘Times’ doesn’t rule | by Steven Boone | Capital New York


I’ve sometimes fantasized that the finale of “30 Rock” shouldn’t have Tina Fey in it. What would happen if we suddenly had 22 minutes inside of the “TGS” studios, which the camera, pointing as it does at Fey’s character with the same technology as it does on Tracy Morgan, on Subas the janitor, on zany Kenneth the Page, pretends to render objectively, and found that the camera and the mind of Liz Lemon are actually in some out-of-body way engaged in a feedback loop? Jack Donaghy becomes a gruff but finally somewhat boring guy, a little bit of a backslapper but completely without absurdity. Subas’ accent is severely lessened, and he’s going to night school to re-obtain the law degree he had in his home country; Jenna is very pretty, driven, a little shallow, but utterly un-absurd.
In this version, I think Tracy Morgan’s dressing room, the nerve center of a giant movie and television franchise, is full of the bustle of efficient assistants faxing out contracts and brokering his bookings on interview shows. Kenneth, with his slight accent, is still endlessly accommodating, but not at all weird and far less prone to jaw about his backward Appalachian upbringing.
What an exercise like this would disclose is the possibility that the Liz Lemon character’s internal life does not itself accurately reflect the world around her. It’s not possible to experience the outside world without the filter of one’s own imagination. When Dunham’s most ardent supporters report that she gets so much right about life for young women in New York City, I suspect they mean she gets so much right about the internal experience of being a young woman in New York City. A very specific kind of young woman.
This is the trouble with “Girls,” I think. It’s the possibility that it discloses something about the internal imagination of white people in New York City  in what we are sometimes told is a post-racial world: That the white imagination renders successful people of color essentially white by a subconscious, internal exercise; those that remain themselves after that operation is complete are stereotypes. If they were not, they would translate as white.

New York, as seen from the ground floor of the Apatower | by Tom McGeveran | Capital New York

I’ve sometimes fantasized that the finale of “30 Rock” shouldn’t have Tina Fey in it. What would happen if we suddenly had 22 minutes inside of the “TGS” studios, which the camera, pointing as it does at Fey’s character with the same technology as it does on Tracy Morgan, on Subas the janitor, on zany Kenneth the Page, pretends to render objectively, and found that the camera and the mind of Liz Lemon are actually in some out-of-body way engaged in a feedback loop? Jack Donaghy becomes a gruff but finally somewhat boring guy, a little bit of a backslapper but completely without absurdity. Subas’ accent is severely lessened, and he’s going to night school to re-obtain the law degree he had in his home country; Jenna is very pretty, driven, a little shallow, but utterly un-absurd.

In this version, I think Tracy Morgan’s dressing room, the nerve center of a giant movie and television franchise, is full of the bustle of efficient assistants faxing out contracts and brokering his bookings on interview shows. Kenneth, with his slight accent, is still endlessly accommodating, but not at all weird and far less prone to jaw about his backward Appalachian upbringing.

What an exercise like this would disclose is the possibility that the Liz Lemon character’s internal life does not itself accurately reflect the world around her. It’s not possible to experience the outside world without the filter of one’s own imagination. When Dunham’s most ardent supporters report that she gets so much right about life for young women in New York City, I suspect they mean she gets so much right about the internal experience of being a young woman in New York City. A very specific kind of young woman.

This is the trouble with “Girls,” I think. It’s the possibility that it discloses something about the internal imagination of white people in New York City  in what we are sometimes told is a post-racial world: That the white imagination renders successful people of color essentially white by a subconscious, internal exercise; those that remain themselves after that operation is complete are stereotypes. If they were not, they would translate as white.

New York, as seen from the ground floor of the Apatower | by Tom McGeveran | Capital New York

THE MAN BANKS FEAR THE MOST: Wall Street’s gone largely unpunished for its role in 
wrecking the economy—until New York Attorney General 
Eric Schneiderman came along, according to The American Prospect.

“Eric took the risk of working with the administration,” says an attorney close to him, “because this was the only path that led to the public getting relief from the crisis. This is what you want from a political leader. A ‘pure’ political leader who stands outside the process isn’t very helpful. A political leader who just goes along isn’t helpful either. But to do what Eric did means you have to take an enormous risk. If he fails, if the investigation doesn’t become real, he will have to choose between denouncing the president in an election year or becoming party to something he spent a year denouncing.”

via Azi

THE MAN BANKS FEAR THE MOST: Wall Street’s gone largely unpunished for its role in 
wrecking the economy—until New York Attorney General 
Eric Schneiderman came along, according to The American Prospect.

“Eric took the risk of working with the administration,” says an attorney close to him, “because this was the only path that led to the public getting relief from the crisis. This is what you want from a political leader. A ‘pure’ political leader who stands outside the process isn’t very helpful. A political leader who just goes along isn’t helpful either. But to do what Eric did means you have to take an enormous risk. If he fails, if the investigation doesn’t become real, he will have to choose between denouncing the president in an election year or becoming party to something he spent a year denouncing.”

via Azi


You might wonder what a veteran director in Nigeria—home to the world’s fastest-growing movie industry—would have to learn from the New York Film Academy, a trade school best known to late-night cable viewers for its goofy commercials featuring celebrity endorser Brett Ratner. Yet last year, Ishaq was among roughly 250 students who took part in an unusual cultural exchange, as the Union Square-based film school dispatched a delegation of instructors on an entrepreneurial mission to Africa.
The month-long moviemaking course, publicized on the front pages of Nigerian newspapers, was just one component of the for-profit trade school’s drive to turn itself into a global education brand.
The academy enrolls around 5,000 students annually, 1,000 of them in full-time degree programs, and a heavy proportion of them come from abroad. In addition to its locations in New York and Los Angeles, the academy opened satellite campuses in Abu Dhabi and Australia over the last few years, and frequently stages short-term programs in emerging movie markets like India, Brazil and China.
Wherever it travels, the New York Film Academy follows a philosophy of “open enrollment,” admitting nearly anyone who is able to pay its tuition and fees, which range from $1,500 for some one-week courses up to $20,000 a semester for its two-year M.F.A. tracks. Recently, the school has been the target of online complaints, accusations that its owners reap millions while offering degrees with little benefit. But overseas, the fine print of issues like accreditation command less attention than academy’s august-sounding name, and the Hollywood stars to which it claims a connection.

How the New York Film Academy discovered gold in the developing world | by Andrew Rice | Capital New York

You might wonder what a veteran director in Nigeria—home to the world’s fastest-growing movie industry—would have to learn from the New York Film Academy, a trade school best known to late-night cable viewers for its goofy commercials featuring celebrity endorser Brett Ratner. Yet last year, Ishaq was among roughly 250 students who took part in an unusual cultural exchange, as the Union Square-based film school dispatched a delegation of instructors on an entrepreneurial mission to Africa.

The month-long moviemaking course, publicized on the front pages of Nigerian newspapers, was just one component of the for-profit trade school’s drive to turn itself into a global education brand.

The academy enrolls around 5,000 students annually, 1,000 of them in full-time degree programs, and a heavy proportion of them come from abroad. In addition to its locations in New York and Los Angeles, the academy opened satellite campuses in Abu Dhabi and Australia over the last few years, and frequently stages short-term programs in emerging movie markets like India, Brazil and China.

Wherever it travels, the New York Film Academy follows a philosophy of “open enrollment,” admitting nearly anyone who is able to pay its tuition and fees, which range from $1,500 for some one-week courses up to $20,000 a semester for its two-year M.F.A. tracks. Recently, the school has been the target of online complaints, accusations that its owners reap millions while offering degrees with little benefit. But overseas, the fine print of issues like accreditation command less attention than academy’s august-sounding name, and the Hollywood stars to which it claims a connection.

How the New York Film Academy discovered gold in the developing world | by Andrew Rice | Capital New York

A brief history of what the Village Voice meant to New York, and why someone needs to buy it back from Phoenix | by Tom McGeveran

It’s the post-Koch New York that formed the basis for the best version of the Voice in the last three decades. All that history with the beatniks, the folkies, the hippies, the downtown New School smart set, were part of the formation of the paper’s personality, but it was under the ownership of Carter Burden and afterwards that the Voice becomes the hometown paper of the downtown club scenes, the practitioners of experimental theater, the Soho galleries, the Christopher Street gay scene (only after protests, though!). Those strands joined Andrew Sarris’ highbrow film criticism, Nat Hentoff’s eccentric beautiful harangues, Jules Feiffer’s soft lacerations of New York speech acts and national policy both; together, they became something exciting, rebellious and different.
If the alternative newsweekly had its heyday in the 1960s and early ’70s, they had another in the late ’70s and early ’80s, one that was just different. Because the pisse-copie of New York’s downtown life, its ethnic subcultures, its academic and intellectual avant garde, was being written differently by then, too.
The Times, and New York Magazine, and even Esquire were writing about these neo-Bohemians, these foreign films, these avant-garde artists and performers. When the National Endowment for the Arts got into its big skirmishes in the 1980’s with artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Karen Finley, the mainstream media ate the story up, but told it all in a McCarthyish vein that was hard to take for anyone living here in New York.
That the newspaper that had brought Norman Mailer into uptown living rooms now brought the city’s David Wojnarowiczes there only makes sense.
Menand, again (emphasis mine):
[The] reader implied by a magazine’s interests and attitudes is rarely the magazine’s actual reader. If the actual Voice reader played the bongos or wore a leotard, the paper would not have lived for a year, because very few advertisers will pay to reach coffeehouse musicians and modern dancers. As McAuliffe explains, by the time the Voice began making money, in the mid-nineteen-sixties, the typical reader was thirty years old and had a median family income of $18,771 (about a hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars today). Almost ninety per cent of Voice readers had gone to college; forty per cent had done postgraduate work. Most had charge accounts at major department stores, such as Bloomingdale’s. Most owned stock. Twenty per cent were New Yorker readers. The Voice was the medium through which a mainstream middle-class readership stayed in touch with its inner bohemian.It was the ponytail on the man in the gray flannel suit.
The newspaper as counternarrative, as the voice of cranky, artsy-fartsy, nonconformist New York, the nagging New York conscience of even the city’s power elite, has no place in the Village Voice Media formula. The Phoenix formula is earnest, and meant to serve. Its chief proponents value journalism, and see the same need in every big market: To serve as an alternative to the mainstream media. Not so much to fight the creeping automatism, but to dodge it.
That means that right now we have a Voice that should be producing long, provocative, unreported-but-beautifully written columns about Ray Kelly’s stop-and-frisk policies; that provides an intelligent counternarrative to the war between the corrupt teachers’ unions and their opponents who are actually enemies of the public-school system in do-gooder’s clothing. It is a Voice that has nothing much to say to Washington, or Madison Avenue, or the fashion industry, or the music industry, or Hollywood, or Europe. It is, in vast topical areas, a Voice without a voice.

A brief history of what the Village Voice meant to New York, and why someone needs to buy it back from Phoenix | by Tom McGeveran

It’s the post-Koch New York that formed the basis for the best version of the Voice in the last three decades. All that history with the beatniks, the folkies, the hippies, the downtown New School smart set, were part of the formation of the paper’s personality, but it was under the ownership of Carter Burden and afterwards that the Voice becomes the hometown paper of the downtown club scenes, the practitioners of experimental theater, the Soho galleries, the Christopher Street gay scene (only after protests, though!). Those strands joined Andrew Sarris’ highbrow film criticism, Nat Hentoff’s eccentric beautiful harangues, Jules Feiffer’s soft lacerations of New York speech acts and national policy both; together, they became something exciting, rebellious and different.

If the alternative newsweekly had its heyday in the 1960s and early ’70s, they had another in the late ’70s and early ’80s, one that was just different. Because the pisse-copie of New York’s downtown life, its ethnic subcultures, its academic and intellectual avant garde, was being written differently by then, too.

The Times, and New York Magazine, and even Esquire were writing about these neo-Bohemians, these foreign films, these avant-garde artists and performers. When the National Endowment for the Arts got into its big skirmishes in the 1980’s with artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Karen Finley, the mainstream media ate the story up, but told it all in a McCarthyish vein that was hard to take for anyone living here in New York.

That the newspaper that had brought Norman Mailer into uptown living rooms now brought the city’s David Wojnarowiczes there only makes sense.

Menand, again (emphasis mine):

[The] reader implied by a magazine’s interests and attitudes is rarely the magazine’s actual reader. If the actual Voice reader played the bongos or wore a leotard, the paper would not have lived for a year, because very few advertisers will pay to reach coffeehouse musicians and modern dancers. As McAuliffe explains, by the time the Voice began making money, in the mid-nineteen-sixties, the typical reader was thirty years old and had a median family income of $18,771 (about a hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars today). Almost ninety per cent of Voice readers had gone to college; forty per cent had done postgraduate work. Most had charge accounts at major department stores, such as Bloomingdale’s. Most owned stock. Twenty per cent were New Yorker readers. The Voice was the medium through which a mainstream middle-class readership stayed in touch with its inner bohemian.It was the ponytail on the man in the gray flannel suit.

The newspaper as counternarrative, as the voice of cranky, artsy-fartsy, nonconformist New York, the nagging New York conscience of even the city’s power elite, has no place in the Village Voice Media formula. The Phoenix formula is earnest, and meant to serve. Its chief proponents value journalism, and see the same need in every big market: To serve as an alternative to the mainstream media. Not so much to fight the creeping automatism, but to dodge it.

That means that right now we have a Voice that should be producing long, provocative, unreported-but-beautifully written columns about Ray Kelly’s stop-and-frisk policies; that provides an intelligent counternarrative to the war between the corrupt teachers’ unions and their opponents who are actually enemies of the public-school system in do-gooder’s clothing. It is a Voice that has nothing much to say to Washington, or Madison Avenue, or the fashion industry, or the music industry, or Hollywood, or Europe. It is, in vast topical areas, a Voice without a voice.


Like General Grant, I was bound for Atlanta, but like General Stoneman I had to spend a little more time in Macon than planned. No money to leave town until week’s end. Aside from the shelters, the bleached-white, colonial-looking Washington Memorial Library is the place for transients to kill time.
After doing some research and writing there, I wandered across the street to Washington Park, where a WMAZ news van idled.
"What’s the big story?" I asked a technician who was resting in the van’s belly, with the side door open.
"Trayvon vigil in an hour," he said. "You’re right on time."
It actually turned out to be a tribute to “the Martins”—Trayvon Martin and Martin Luther King, Jr. About 20 people showed up to hear a little boy recite M.L.K.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and some adults cry for justice in the Trayvon “Stand Your Ground” killing. The event was as dreary you’d expect of a plea for basic civil rights that folks died making 50 years ago. During the closing moment of silence, I imagined spectral, mocking voices. They were saying: still dreaming?
After two more nights in Macon’s overcrowded shelters, I cashed a paycheck and headed northeast to Atlanta, out of God’s country. The sky in the Atlanta metro area is much further away than in the high-elevation “heart of Georgia,” where the clouds always seem just out of reach, and the churches are just another part of the landscape.

Full circle: ‘Lowlifes,’ drifters and resettled New Yorkers on the outskirts of God’s country | by Steven Boone | Capital New York

Like General Grant, I was bound for Atlanta, but like General Stoneman I had to spend a little more time in Macon than planned. No money to leave town until week’s end. Aside from the shelters, the bleached-white, colonial-looking Washington Memorial Library is the place for transients to kill time.

After doing some research and writing there, I wandered across the street to Washington Park, where a WMAZ news van idled.

"What’s the big story?" I asked a technician who was resting in the van’s belly, with the side door open.

"Trayvon vigil in an hour," he said. "You’re right on time."

It actually turned out to be a tribute to “the Martins”—Trayvon Martin and Martin Luther King, Jr. About 20 people showed up to hear a little boy recite M.L.K.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and some adults cry for justice in the Trayvon “Stand Your Ground” killing. The event was as dreary you’d expect of a plea for basic civil rights that folks died making 50 years ago. During the closing moment of silence, I imagined spectral, mocking voices. They were saying: still dreaming?

After two more nights in Macon’s overcrowded shelters, I cashed a paycheck and headed northeast to Atlanta, out of God’s country. The sky in the Atlanta metro area is much further away than in the high-elevation “heart of Georgia,” where the clouds always seem just out of reach, and the churches are just another part of the landscape.

Full circle: ‘Lowlifes,’ drifters and resettled New Yorkers on the outskirts of God’s country | by Steven Boone | Capital New York