"It’s as good as it gets; a light rain is falling on a soft May evening and I’m walking north on a silent Park Avenue hoping to get into trouble. 14,000 yellow taxis have turned Manhattan into a Bengal hellhole, blasting their horns non-stop, picking up or disgorging passengers in the middle of traffic clogged streets, speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians, as the Big Bagel law requires. But on the Upper East Side, on a balmy evening, the yellow devils are causing havoc downtown, so I almost find myself singing in the rain as I head north far from the madding crowd. (Both puns unintended.)
Nicola’s is an Italian restaurant that used to be very much in fashion back in the Seventies and Eighties. I hadn’t been there for many years, but Michael Mailer insisted we go down memory lane, so we did. Nothing had changed. Nicola was the headwaiter at Elaine’s, until he told the fat lady to shove it, got fired and opened up his own place two blocks south. Nicola was no fool, except for his terrible coke habit, and he continued Elaine’s custom of showering attention on writers and journalists, back in those halcyon days the Hiltons and Kardashians of the time. Hacks covered Elaine’s and Nicola’s like a rash, and even the late great Nigel Dempster would ring from London and chat to the proprietors when stuck for a story. Nigel posed in front of Elaine’s for a cover story whose title was 'The Scum Also Rises.' Elaine used to put pictures of her regulars up on her walls – yours truly was between Hunter Thompson and Jack Richardson – so Nicola did one better. He put up book covers inside glass bookcases and sat the authors underneath them. My first book, published in 1976, got placed in the same glass case as Norman Mailer, something that didn’t exactly displease me enough to sue. Norman’s reaction was typical. He thanked Nicola for including him next to the great Greek writer no one had heard of." (Taki)
"I spent a good part of the weekend finishing a book I’d started a week ago: 'On the Move; A Life' (Knopf, publishers) by Oliver Sacks. I don’t know Oliver Sacks and I’d only read a couple pieces he’d written for the New York Review of Books. As well as a neurologist, scientist, he’s written several books about his interests and his work, one of which was made into a film starring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams, 'Awakenings.' Another book of his, 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat,' was on the New York Times bestseller list for 43 weeks. I was well aware of it but I never read it. I do not have an abiding interest in matters of science, be it medical science or any other area. Do I appreciate their discoveries and progress? Yes. Am I amazed? Yes. But in terms of personal interest, I would rather read a history of the men and women who built New York in the 1920s, the Jazz Age, as I did in the book I just finished — 'Supreme City; How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America' by Donald Miller. Or Balzac. When I got to the last 50 of Miller’s 580-page book, for example, I wished it would just go on for another 500; more to learn. It must have been “The Man Who Mistook ...” that made me aware of Dr. Sacks. It’s also a solid name in sound, and even visually on paper. More than ten years ago, JH and I saw him a couple of times, in passing, at parties that Jill Krementz and Kurt Vonnegut occasionally gave in Jill’s studio. There were always a lot of artists and especially authors present. Dr. Sacks stands out in a crowd with his solid bearing — white hair and beard and his thick barrel chested and muscled physique. Under those circumstances — a cocktail party — he appeared to stand alone, not really engaged in conversation. I wondered about his personality but wouldn’t approach him. He was a kind of genius in my book — with great knowledge in an area where I am almost knowledge-less — and a scientific one as well. Ironically, I learned from reading his memoir that he and I share a similar social diffidence — a not wanting to intrude, or to bore. It’s also often more interesting just to observe." (NYSD)
"Auctioneer Sotheby’s is selling a lock of hair from the head of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, resting in a gilt locket.Taking composers’ hair as keepsakes was common in the 18th and 19th centuries.
After Mozart died in 1791, aged 35, his widow gave the hair to the mother of German composer Karl Anschutz. It was acquired by the late British composer Arthur Sommervell and is being sold by his family. The hair is up for auction Thursday with an estimated price of 10,000 pounds to 12,000 pounds ($15,400 to $18,450). The sale also includes a lock of Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair and an invitation to his 1827 funeral, together valued at 2,000 pounds to 3,000 pounds ($3,100 to $4,600)." (P6)
"Below is the email that was sent to basically everyone with a blog this weekend about Isaac Lee, the CEO of Fusion, by what seems to be a former employee. (It was sent from what looked to be a throwaway Gmail address.) The email is about a layer of men in upper management at Fusion called the “Friends of Isaac Lee.” This phrase was included in this weekend’s rather critical New York Times article about Fusion—but seems to then have been removed from the story. (I did see the phrase’s inclusion myself; I read the story immediately after it was posted and remember laughing about it.)
Every media reporter in New York (of the very few that remain!) will be assessing these claims, so why shouldn’t we all know what’s being said? So here’s the whole email—with one redaction.
Links in the email include this story about Lee’s magazine Loft, this bad review of This is Not a Ball, this Kickstarter page for Gabriel Leigh film, and this al-Jazeera story about Didziulis’ 'right-wing' 'war propaganda' documentary on Iran. Do you have something to add or clarify? Let us know!" (Choire Sicha/TheAwl)
"Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, marked two decades at the country’s oldest weekly magazine with a voluminous 150th anniversary edition that paired watershed pieces from the archives with fresh features. The 268-page magazine opened with a reflection on The Nation’s roots in the abolition movement and its evolution through political and journalistic movements. Vanden Heuvel said The Nation’s legacy remains pertinent, pointing to a 1966 article by James Baldwin that described the 'No Knock, Stop and Frisk laws' in Harlem, as well as a video on the policing technique that was presented to the judge who deemed stop and frisk racially discriminatory. Vanden Heuvel spoke with City & State reporter Sarina Trangle about the magazine’s history, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s national platform and whether she plans to run for office." (CityandState)
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is penning a memoir, covering his experiences as a child growing up in Alabama and his expansive career in civil service. "It's hard for me to believe it's been four decades in politics," McConnell, 73, said in a Tuesday interview with The Associated Press, which first reported news of the memoir. The book's working title, The Long Game, alludes to the legislator's endurance in the Senate. Last year, McConnell, who was first elected to the Senate in 1984, faced a difficult primary challenge against Matt Bevin, a conservative businessman, followed by a much-buzzed-about general election bid from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell told the AP the book would be a 'candid assessment of the people I've worked with and negotiated with and some of the challenges and opportunities we've had over some 30 years in the Senate.' That suggests McConnell will also write about some of his political rivals in recent years, such as President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.), his Democratic counterpart who currently serves as minority leader." (TheHill)