A Brief History of NYE in NYC, From Electric Light to Sneezing Powder

  I have a confession to make. In the forty years I have lived in Manhattan, I have never once stood in Times Square and waited for the ball to drop on New Year’s Eve. It is, I know, one of those obligatory New York experiences, like going to the top of the Empire State Building or climbing the Statue of Liberty. Back in the roaring Seventies, a friend of mine went to stand there for hours in the dark and cold. She reported that the cops wouldn’t let anyone return once they’d left the police pens, even to use Read More

Foiled Again

  ENEMIES A History of the FBI By Tim Weiner Illustrated Random House 537 pages   On Dec. 31, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows for the indefinite military detention, without trial, of any American citizen “who was a part of or substantially supported Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” This act effectively abrogates the Bill of Rights and removes one of the cornerstones of Western liberty. But not to worry. In a signing statement, Obama pledged that he would not authorize Read More

Coney Island’s Grand Past and Grim Future

They're getting very near the end now at Coney Island. They've been tearing pieces off the place for years, and soon the bulldozers will be back again, pushing over the last, weathered links to the past on Surf Avenue. Read More

Bloggers Vs. an Author: No One Wins

There’s nothing that a writer wants more when he’s in the middle of a book. It shimmers there before us, like some blacktop highway mirage. The time when the writing is finished, all the writing and rewriting, the endless Read More