Letter From New York: Stillwater in New York

 

 "Each block has its history, plus a layer of your own history shellacked on top of that. It’s how New York becomes yours. A million people have walked down Blah Street this year, but I laughed with my best friend over a slice of pizza on that street. So now that block is mine." 

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Surviving Sandy

 

"If you look at the radar images, hurricanes look like tornadoes on growth hormones, making twisters back home resemble tight tantrum-throwing midget funnel cakes. Sandy turned 100 homes in Far Rockaway to ashy rubble. She snapped a crane in Manhattan, which hung there like a tired, defeated weed after being drenched by a murderous sprinkler. The subways and tunnels could have been the log ride at Disneyland."

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Ramblin' Jack

 

"Even today, hearing Elliott slip into a Woody story or song, it’s as if the ghost of Guthrie has taken flight. There is very little footage of Guthrie, but there’s enough audio to know when you’re hearing someone who learned firsthand. Elliott, when tuned to the key of Guthrie, is a frequency that hits with perfect pitch. Yet, he and Guthrie popped into this world quite differently."

 

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Burgers and Bilger

"As a writer, he takes no shortcuts. He noodled with Lee McFarlin. He went squirrel hunting. He ran around with moonshiners. He deeply entrenched himself in the world of cockfighting. He writes character studies of hidden customs and cultures. He wriggles into the tighter, lesser-seen folds of American culture. 'There is history there,' Bilger said. 'There is philosophy there. There are ideas and obsession there … I think flipping that whole perspective inside out was huge, and Oklahoma really kind of led me to that.'"

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Artists Creating Work to Save Braddock, PA.

"Artistic communities often arise from abandon and ruin: artists, always hungry for inexpensive space, are drawn to these centers, and from there you can follow the art-crumbs. Artist finds cheap space. Artist wants good coffee. Artist wants cheese plate. Shops open, others want to live in artistic neighborhood… and presto! Rejuvenation."

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