Drew

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The woman who saved old New York

A massive freeway would have destroyed Greenwich Village and altered much of Lower Manhattan if not for one woman’s efforts. Jane Jacobs can teach us about what makes cities feel alive, writes Jonathan Glancey.<p>“Stop being victims. I think it’s wicked in a way to be a victim. It’s more wicked to be …

Urban Design

How Four Powerful Rulers Decided the Fate of a Continent

<b>FOUR PRINCES</b> <b><br>Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions That Forged Modern Europe</b><br>By John Julius Norwich<br>288 pp. Atlantic Monthly Press. $27.<p>The decade of the 1490s was a hinge in European history. In almost the same breath that Europe crossed the Atlantic and …

World History

An Interactive History of 42nd Street’s Dramatic Transformation Over 164 Years

There are two 42nd Streets. West of Sixth Avenue, what was once an artery of sordid drear has been almost entirely remade in the last few decades, …

Julius Caesar

The Cars That Ate Paris

The City of Light surrendered its streets to the private automobile in the 1960s and ‘70s. Today, under siege from smog and traffic, Paris is leading some of Europe’s most aggressive efforts to fight back.<p>It’s rush hour in Paris, and here on the banks of the Seine during an early March evening, …

9 Rules of Storytelling from Moneyball Writer Michael Lewis

“Have the nerve to be yourself” — and other advice from a master storyteller<p>Michael Lewis is the <i>New York Times</i> bestselling author of multiple books …

Writing

What is the world’s greatest skyline?

A centuries-old Yemeni city stands alongside the gleaming towers of Hong Kong as one of the world’s most beautiful architectural views, writes Jonathan Glancey.<p>A city’s skyline is its public face. And, like the faces of those we hold dear, we hold certain skylines in our minds’ eyes even when far …

Skyscrapers

For these five dramatic actors, the depth of storytelling on TV stuns

“These are our novels," says “Ray Donovan” star<p>Liev Schreiberof the quality of current television programming. And who can argue? With the depth and complexity of characters being written today, it’s storytelling at its finest – so let’s all gather around the new Tolstoy, shall we? Schreiber wasn't …

TV

What Happened to the Dream of Underground Cities?

Large, below-the-surface underground cities are far from a new phenomenon, but despite a period when they were in vogue, big cities now feel squeamish about adding or expanding them. Here’s why.<p><i>A version of this post originally appeared on</i> <i>Tedium</i><i>, a twice-weekly newsletter that hunts for the end of</i> …

Urbanism

This 500-Year-Old Book Revolutionized How We See Cities

The very first atlas of cities shows us how little has changed about our collective obsession with cityscapes.<p>Probably more than any other physical phenomenon, cities are a reflection of the incredible complexity of the modern world. And in the mid-1500s, as modern cities began to burgeon …

How to Remove Anything from a Photo in Photoshop

In a perfect world, there would be nothing disturbing the flawless look of your subject and its beautiful surroundings. Nothing would distract the …

Tutorials

The Curse of Reading and Forgetting

Recently, a colleague mentioned that she had been rereading Richard Hughes’s “A High Wind in Jamaica,” which was first published in 1929 and is about a group of creepy little kids who become the unwanted wards of sad, listless pirates. She praised it, and her recommendation sent me to Amazon. The …

Eight ways to be more creative and insightful

Tests of human intelligence show that as IQ, the measure of our analytical thinking skills, appears to be on the rise, creative thinking may be on …

Real-life 'Billion Dollar Spy' reads like a Cold War fiction thriller

One wintry night in early 1977, in the depths of the Cold War, a furtive man approached a<p>CIAofficer at a gas station reserved for foreign diplomats in Moscow and slipped him a note offering to spy for America.<p>CIA supervisors in Washington were so fearful of a KGB trap that they said no — repeatedly.<p>…

Books

Retired CIA operative becomes breakout spy novelist

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Jason Matthews retired after more than three decades as a CIA operative, writing fiction proved a form of therapy.<p>Living in Los Angeles, cut off from the agency and its secrets, Matthews channeled his energy into the 2013 novel "Red Sparrow." It became a best-seller and …

National Security

This is how Cirque du Soleil reinvented the circus

It’s generally believed that the way to beat your rival is to outperform or outpace them. But in business, the better way to win is to create uncontested new market space where no competition exists.<p>Consider Cirque du Soleil, a performance that broke away from traditional circus shows by borrowing …

Cirque du Soleil

Why museums hide masterpieces away

In major museums around the world, some truly great works of art are hidden away from public view. What are they – and why can’t we see them? Kimberly Bradley finds out.<p>The numbers don’t lie. At New York’s Museum of Modern Art, 24 of 1,221 works by Pablo Picasso in the institution’s permanent …

Henri Matisse

Van Gogh and the decision that changed art history

In 1878 Van Gogh was a struggling would-be preacher. At his lowest ebb, he began to draw. Alastair Sooke looks back at this pivotal moment in history.<p>In the spring of 1878, Vincent van Gogh turned 25. As he looked back over his short life, the Dutchman found little to celebrate among the meagre …

Art History

The 9 Most Spectacular Lost Cities in the World

Chernobyl's Ghost Cities, Ukraine<p>After the worst nuclear disaster in history, the Soviet Union evacuated the towns near the Chernobyl nuclear power …

HomeMade Modern EP29 Hanging Garden

This DIY vertical garden is an easy-to-make project that can turn a window into a beautiful and productive herb garden.<p>SUPPLIES:<p>4" to 5" Terra Cotta …

Woodworking

DIY Dining Room Table (with Copper Legs!)

We've been making some major progress these past few weeks at our studio house. This past week we've been ripping through dining room and kitchen …

5,000-year-old underground city found in Turkey - Revealing Our History

“There is a fortress on top of a conical-shaped hill; it is alleged to belong to the Seljuks. We made geophysical measurements in an area of four …

7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free

Urban planners are finally recognizing that streets should be designed for people, not careening hunks of deadly metal.<p>After over a hundred years of living with cars, some cities are slowly starting to realize that the automobile doesn’t make a lot of sense in the urban context. It isn’t just the …

Urban Design

Why doctors ignore suffering

The word “patient” was not originally coined to reflect forbearance. Rather, it meant “one who suffers” and is derived from the same Latin root which gives rise to the term “passion” (as in the “Passion Plays” which depicted the agony of Christ’s final hours). Indeed, “compassion” is the emotional …

Medical Journals

A Scaled Back Dream for an Off-Shore Park

For the second time in two years, St. Petersburg, Florida, is looking to transform its pier into a destination park.<p>Is the pier park the new riverwalk?<p>For years, it seemed that all cities could talk about were waterfront developments. Encouraged by the success seen in San Antonio above all, cities …

How our photo obsession is threatening our memories

Growing up with a father who was a photographer, I have long been interested in how photos shape our memories. How does something as simple as a photograph help or harm our ability to remember our experiences?<p>Now that technology has enabled us to take dozens of pictures in seconds, stopping only …

The Brain

Why It's Time for South Africa to Take Down Its Walls

High security walls surround many middle-class homes in the country's suburbs, but they may actually increase violent crime.<p>It’s a culture shock for many visitors to South Africa to see the high walls around many homes in our suburbs. It’s to keep the criminals out, we say.<p>But it’s not making much …

The Surprising Ways That Chickens Changed the World

Civilization was powered by the humble chicken, says author.<p>For most of us, the word "chicken" spells a cold, clammy slab of plastic-wrapped white meat plucked out of the refrigerated section of our local supermarket. But in the ancient world, and in many cultures today, chickens had deep religious …

Birds

Will religion ever disappear?

Atheism is on the rise around the world, so does that mean spirituality will soon be a thing of the past? Rachel Nuwer discovers that the answer is far from simple.<p>A growing number of people, millions worldwide, say they believe that life definitively ends at death – that there is no God, no …

Religion