The New Yorker

Articles from Vol. 77, No. 23, 2001

As Good as Dead
Just after a fourteen-year-old boy named Nicholas Breach learned that a tumor on his brain stem would be fatal, he told his parents, Rick and Kim Breach, that he wanted to be an organ donor. They respected his decision, and so did the boy's medical team...
Briefly Noted
The Hunters, by Claire Messud (Harcourt; $23). These novellas both have displaced protagonists who cannot decide whether to seek a deathlike stillness or to embrace life's mess. In the first, a Toronto cleaning woman finds that the ritualized relationship...
Confidence Men
On a summer day in the eighteen-twenties, two men brought startling news to New York City's Centre Market. Manhattan, they announced, was sinking. The men explained that the mayor had sanctioned an emergency plan to saw off the bottom half of the island,...
Das Big Haus
The new chancellery in Berlin is both bombastic and giddy. It has swoops and curves and a kind of retro-modern elan, combining the gargantuan sleekness of nineteen-sixties American architecture with surrealistic touches like trees on top of columns,...
Desert Songs
All art exhibitions are in themselves works of art. They compose objects in space for enjoyment in time. They embody arguments about those objects. The arguments of mediocre shows are trite. Those of bad shows are condescending to both the objects and...
Goings on about Town
Most pop stars are, by their very nature, masters of the ephemeral. Country and blues artists, on the other hand, tend to be more mindful of their past: they make frequent use of their genre's history, both as a sign of respect for earlier masters and...
Mother Love
Shooting a thriller in raw daylight is a tough way to develop an atmosphere for blood and mystery. The great forties noirs, for instance, were set indoors and were bathed in a voluptuous melodrama of deep shadows and brilliant white light. But at the...
Penn's Soup
The bowl of bouillabaisse photographed by Irving Penn in Barcelona in 1948 was prepared in a restaurant, Los Caracoles. "Working alone," Penn says, "I placed the bowl on two napkins on the sidewalk outside, exposed by daylight." You can make out the...
Soldiers and Spice
In 1502, a Bolognese traveller named Ludovico di Varthema left Venice for the East, returning six years later. The book that he wrote about his travels, published in Rome in 1510, and translated into several languages, attracted considerable attention...
Tables for Two
41-43 E. 22nd St. (674-7400)--A waiter sets two dishes on the table. One holds pappadams, the spicy, waferlike Indian flat bread; the other holds a sweet tamarind-pulp syrup, made from the pod of the Indian evergreen. The delicious, not quite familiar...
That Sunday
Things in New York begin either six flights up or one flight down and then just vanish. All the wonders that Henry James wondered at a century ago--the Waldorf-Astoria, the Metropolitan Opera--are gone, and the wonders that he didn't wonder at but that...
The Life of the Saint
Suppose you wish to achieve excellence in life, but you have no real talent for anything in particular. You are not smart enough to be a great scientist or creative enough to be a great artist; you do not possess the native shrewdness to be a distinguished...
The Personal Touch
On a Friday morning in late March, the start of Academy Awards weekend in Los Angeles, Jack Valenti--dapper as always, his skin tanned, his white hair carefully coiffed, his demeanor relentlessly upbeat--was seated at a prominent table in the dining...
The Talk of the Town: Exit the Wu-Tang
One evening last week, a small crowd of passersby gathered on the sidewalk in front of 99 University Place, a squat office building in Greenwich Village, to watch a man tossing boxes and trash bags into the street. Before long, a dozen people had set...
The Talk of the Town: Fast Times at NASDAQ High
One recent Friday, on the trading floor of one of the biggest and busiest firms on Wall Street, a phalanx of traders, in their casual-khaki best, waited placidly in front of their computer screens for the market to close. The phones were not ringing;...
The Talk of the Town: Helen Stark
In the disconnected way things happen sometimes, many friends and former colleagues of Helen Stark, The New Yorker's longtime librarian, learned only recently of her death, last April. Helen worked in the New Yorker library for forty-seven years. She...
The Talk of the Town: Hot and Cold
In 1610, Nicolas de Crans, a deputy commissioner in Savoy, set out to investigate some extraordinary events that had recently been reported in the high Alpine valley of Chamonix. Farmers there were complaining that their land was disappearing; entire...
The Talk of the Town: Will You Mulch Me?
The week before last, several dozen members of the country's food establishment received a curious wedding announcement via E-mail."This Saturday, July 28, at 3:00 P.M. I will wed my mulchmate Kate McDermott, who I met on the GardenWeb.com soil, compost,...
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