Frieze New York, up and running through Monday, is a fashionista’s wet dream of what an art fair ought to be. Take a look if you want to know how the people who buy and sell contemporary paintings and whatnots are amusing themselves right now. Set in a meandering white tent on Randall’s Island in the East River—it’s just a quick taxi ride (or Frieze-organized bus or ferry ride) from Manhattan—Frieze New York is our Gilded Age art world’s answer to the perfect Edwardian country house party. The bleached-chic style can make ignorance and mendacity look pretty. READ MORE >>
Did a presidential contender quash an unfriendly biography?
Late Monday night, the New York Times posted a story that has set off voluminous chatter in the New York political class. A year ago, HarperCollins announced it planned to bring out a biography of Gov. Andrew Cuomo by Fredric U. READ MORE >>
My quest to find a New Yorker who moved to Texas because of gun control
Back in January, commentators had a good chuckle when Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott posted online ads saying, “Keep your guns, come to Texas.” Subtle as a strip club flier, it was a pitch to residents of New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo had recently signed new gun-control measures into law following the Sandy Hook massacre. READ MORE >>
Will his 2016 ambitions hurt his ability to run New York?
Andrew Cuomo has been leading the charge of American liberals for over two years now. The New York governor made history in the spring of 2011 by steering marriage equality through the state’s dysfunctional legislature. Last spring, he urged decriminalizing the public possession of marijuana, his response to the racially-charged pot busts under New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “stop and frisk” regime. READ MORE >>
A phenomenon that revived cities can also make them monotonous
A funny thing happened in the half century since Jane Jacobs published her classic treatise excoriating the planning establishment for clear-cutting American cities and replacing eclectic neighborhoods with sterile housing towers: Her vision of urban change won the day. READ MORE >>
Becoming mayor is tough. But not as tough as restoring urban America's two-party system.
On a recent weeknight, the nearly-broke Republican Party of Manhattan held a fundraiser at the National Republican Women’s Club, a stately townhouse on 51st Street. A few dozen people trickled in, like members of some near-extinct secret society. Two women came via Paratransit van; another, even more elderly, inched down the sidewalk with a cane and broad-brimmed hat, a vision out of Roald Dahl or Wes Anderson. READ MORE >>
Forget Clooney. Alec Baldwin is America's most believable celebrity liberal. Here's why.
It wasn't so long ago that Alec Baldwin—his never-all-that-imposing days as a leading man well behind him—was just another Hollywood dolt with a waning grip on our attention and an apparently well-deserved reputation as an arrogant putz. However you define "cultural cachet" in the 21st-century infotainment thunderdome, betting on him to achieve it would have made predicting a Newt Gingrich inaugural seem like the consensus opinion of reasonable people everywhere. READ MORE >>
Readers of The New York Times, including several hundred thousand subscribers in New York, woke up Tuesday to a full-page ad on page A7, paid for by the Emergency Committee for Israel, that blared: "Who is Chuck Hagel, President Obama's anti-Israel nominee for Secretary of Defense?" Below quotes from several anti-Hagel critiques—including that of th READ MORE >>
Post-Newtown, our "national conversation" on guns has taken two strikingly divergent paths. On the one hand, much of the punditry and Washington political establishment is already lapsing into the resigned assumption that yet again, nothing much will come of our initial outrage over the horror of children being cut down by big guns with big clips, even before Joe Biden announces the administration's gun-control proposal this week. The gun lobby is just too strong, and the popular resistance to major new firearms restrictions just too ingrained, for reform to happen. At the same time, though, several high-profile Democrats who've been mentioned as 2016 presidential contenders are betting on a different read of the situation. As they see it, Newtown has truly changed things, making it not just politically feasible to broach new constraints, but perhaps even politically imperative.Last week, there was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, tapping some of his father's moral fervor in a rip-roaring call to make his state a pioneer in gun control: "No one hunts with an assault rifle. End the madness now." He has since reached a deal with state legislators to further restrict assault weapons in the state, limit magazine clips to seven rounds and toughen background checks. Not to be outdone, Cuomo's potential 2016 primary foe, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who made his name running against gun violence in Baltimore, let slip that he, too, will be announcing a major package of new regulations, including the nation's strictest gun-licensing requirements and a ban on assault weapons. And don't forget Colorado's John Hickenlooper, another Democratic prospect who, in the more hostile political terrain of the West, is now calling for instituting background checks on all gun sales, including private person-to-person ones.What are we to make of this? Are we back to the Democratic Party circa 1984, with candidates trying to outflank each other to the left to win the affections of the liberal base, with ominous consequences for the eventual general election? Wasn't that what happened to the Democrats in 2000, when Bill Bradley, an ardent gun control proponent, helped drag Al Gore to the left on the issue during the primaries, which helped lead to Gore's loss in Tennessee, Arkansas and West Virginia, any one of which would have put him over the top in the Electoral College? READ MORE >>