With one close friend and partner in hedonism — producer Don Simpson –dead, and another — Warren Beatty — enjoying domesticity and fatherhood, writer-director James Toback (whose extraordinary “Black and White” opens today) looks like the last of the larger-than-life Hollywood filmmakers. It’s hard to imagine any of today’s up-and-coming independent filmmakers — let alone the colorless [Read more…]

He is the outstanding chronicler of the Anglophone Caribbean, the brightest literary beacon of the Indian diaspora and arguably Britain’s greatest living writer. But V.S. Naipaul, prized by millions of readers for his precise language and thought and recent winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature, is just about the last author one would expect [Read more…]

Though I am not a smoker, Mayor Bloomberg’s drive to ban smoking from every corner of every bar and restaurant in New York seems creepy and wrongheaded. It is weird enough that his administration seems to feel so confident it has solved such social problems as crime, homelessness and dysfunctional schools that it can expend time [Read more…]

From the Red Scare hearings of the 1940s to the Clinton administration’s post-Littleton probe into the entertainment industry announced this Tuesday, government intrusion in the entertainment industry is an ill wind that has never blown anyone any good—in this country or anywhere else. Following a recommendation in last month’s Senate crime bill, the president has ordered [Read more…]

A few years ago, I was hiking up to an observatory in Georgetown on the Malaysian island of Penang. On the steep, winding road to the top, I fell into conversation with a well-dressed middle-aged man, a Malaysian Chinese, who told me about the problems his daughter faced getting into university because of the regime’s nastily [Read more…]

Fred Astaire ate there once a week and ran a tab; John Belushi dined there the night he died. Dan Tana’s was an insider’s place when it opened in 1964, and it’s an insider’s place now. Tana’s never changes; where there have been improvements over time, they have been so small and imperceptible that the old [Read more…]

After the Uprising It has been nearly a decade since the Tompkins Square “uprising,” when anarchists, squatters, and junkies fought the police who’d come to evict them from their encampment in the trash-choked park. The riot was brief but bloody; the insurgents howled as cops pulled down their cardboard and plastic tent city. But the neighborhood [Read more…]

You don’t have to be a demographer to know that more and more New Yorkers these days come from the Indian subcontinent. Just hail a taxi in midtown: chances are, you’ll find a man named Sarabjit, Uday, or Ali behind the wheel. The legions of South Asian taxi drivers are the most visible sign of an [Read more…]

Innovative suggestions about fixing New York’s then-ragged quality of life that Nathan Glazer, George Kelling, Peter Salins, and other urban thinkers outlined in a special issue of City Journal six years ago influenced one of the great successes of Mayor Giuliani’s first term. City Journal’s authors argued that seemingly trivial irritations—from aggressive panhandling and lackadaisical garbage [Read more…]

Roll out the red carpet for Hollywood’s take on Iraq and Afghanistan. Hollywood, in its collective wisdom, has decided that now is a good time to make a handful of movies about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They are antiwar movies, of course. Rest assured that they won’t exclusively depict G.I.s and Marines as bestial rapists, [Read more…]