Inner Harbor
September 22, 2010

Cádiz, Spain—No famed church, museum, or historical totem draws outsiders to this city on the Atlantic. So few come. Cádiz returns the lack of interest. Let the summer hordes swelter in Seville or Madrid. We’ll feed and entertain you, the body language of the place tells a new arrival, but we don’t need your validation. Take us as we are. And to be honest, the first impressions won’t beguile. Arriving by road, you pass through an unseemly industrial area reminiscent of the New Jersey Meadowlands, followed by a banal stretch of modern beachfront Spanish architecture.

Learning From Spain's Bullet-Train Experiment
June 03, 2009

Victoria Burnett of The New York Times recently wrote a fascinating piece about Spain's entry into the wild world of high-speed rail. The country's first route, between Madrid and Seville, opened in 1992. Since then, the national rail network has grown to some 2,000 kilometers of track, and it's proven so wildly popular that politicians from all parties are tripping over themselves to bolster service—the current plan calls for 10,000 kilometers of track by 2020.

A Close Shave
February 27, 2008

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street(DreamWorks) ForeignersBy Caryl Phillips (Knopf, 235 pp., $24.95)  Records of Shelley, Byron, and the AuthorBy Edward John Trelawny (New York Review Books, 308 pp., $12.95)   I. As Sweeney Todd croons to his razor, “My friend, my faithful friend,” more in love with its sharp blade than with Mrs. Lovett, his partner in crime, you may find yourself wondering what it is about opera and its ubiquitous vengeful barbers.

To Awaken the Dead
January 30, 2008

David Macaulay: The Art of Drawing Architecture National Building Museum.   I.  What makes a writer a "children's book writer"?

The Pen and the Baton
October 09, 2006

Divas and Scholars:  Performing Italian Opera  By Philip Gossett