Revisiting the children of the storm

Photo: Brenda Ann Kenneally for The New York Times

In 2006, The New York Times Magazine sent photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally to New Orleans to document how Katrina and its ensuing chaos had affected the city’s children a year after the initial devastation. Kenneally’s stark images, seen in this multimedia feature, captured four families whose lives had been dramatically upended by the storm and the preexisting poverty that Katrina both exacerbated and exposed with brutal swiftness. Read All »

Happy Battle of Brooklyn Day!

Battle of Brooklyn

The Battle of Brooklyn wages on in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn. Photo 2008: Catherine Quayle

It was 234 years ago today that the British snuck across the little channel from Staten Island, slipped in through the back door of Brooklyn, and began their assault on New York.

It was a very bad day for the adolescent nation, still giddy from declaring its independence eight weeks earlier and eager to take its shiny, new liberty out for a spin. The British had been amassing ships, some 400, off Staten Island for weeks while the citizens of Manhattan watched, waited and gradually flipped out (but also made creative use of their time by redecorating – a prominent statue of King George III was melted down for musket balls).

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Friday morning round-up

Security

It’s been a busy and mystifying few days in North Korea. First, ex-president Jimmy Carter flew to Pyongyang to secure the release of an American jailed there for trespassing. Then, during the visit, North Korea’s reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il, secreted in his bullet-proof train to China, where he presumably sought the support of Chinese officials for his son and chosen successor. Now, Carter has not only secured the release of the American, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, but also a commitment from North Korea to resume multilateral talks over its nuclear program.

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Finally, an official plan for the World Trade Center site

Photo: AP/Mark Lennihan

After years of often tense and fruitless negotiations, including some searing public recriminations, the executive board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has formalized a deal with real estate tycoon Larry Silverstein to build two towers at the site of the 9/11 attacks. The board, which owns the property, voted unanimously at a special public meeting on Thursday to approve the deal, after discussing the terms of the agreement in a private session.

Silverstein holds a 99-year lease on the property, which he obtained just weeks before the buildings were destroyed. Construction has already begun on one new tower at the southeast corner of the 16-acre site, but Silverstein has requested public backing for the other two. In March, the authority, the city of New York and the state each agreed to kick in $600 million in subsidies if Silverstein could obtain at least $300 million in private investments on his own. New Jersey also agreed to back the plan in exchange for the Port Authority building a new Bayonne Bridge.

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Thursday morning round-up

Photo: AquaBounty

Security

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has reportedly traveled on his secret, bullet-proof train to China, even as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visits the country to secure the release of a jailed American. The visit stoked speculation in the South Korean media that Kim may have been seeking the support of his country’s closest and most powerful ally for his heir-apparent son, Kim Jong-un.

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Wednesday morning round-up

Security

Former President Jimmy Carter will fly to North Korea in the next several days to seek the release of an American imprisoned there for illegally entering the country, South Korean media and Foreign Policy magazine reported on Tuesday. The State Department would neither confirm nor deny the reports, but hinted that such a mission would be a “humanitarian” one, and that Carter would go as a private citizen. The U.S. has already sent a secret team of negotiators to Pyongyang to secure the release of the American, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, but made little progress.

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A tax even my dad can get behind

Photo: NewYorker.com

Reading The Financial Page in this week’s New Yorker on the subway this morning got me so fired up that I was tempted to turn to the guy standing next to me to express my outrage. Knowing nothing about him, I was sure he’d agree.

James Surowieki, arguing for a millionaire tax bracket, writes that currently:

[S]omeone making two hundred thousand dollars a year and someone making two hundred million dollars a year pay at similar tax rates. LeBron James and LeBron James’s dentist: same difference.

But it’s the numbers he cites about the concentration of wealth in this country that really make the blood boil: Read All »

Cy Twombly’s ‘The Ceiling’

Cy Twombly's "The Ceiling" Photo: Musée du Louvre/Angèle Dequier

The last time I was in Paris, I got lucky with the weather — think sun-dappled cobblestones and a magic hour that lasted for five, rather than the gray drizzle that tends to predominate in the city. Maybe that’s why I managed to avoid stepping foot into a single museum during my entire stay. Instead of enduring the tourist crush at the Louvre or the d’Orsay, I chose to people watch from my sidewalk perch at Café de Flore, sight-see on a Vélib and amble around happily in the Luxembourg Gardens. It was, in short, a week very well spent.

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