Gentrification’s Empty Victory

Since the turn of the century, local artists have wanted to revive a once-thriving arts center in an abandoned schoolhouse in the East Village. A developer who purchased the building at an auction in 1998 wants to turn it into a dormitory for college students. An influential historic society has lobbied the city to landmark the building to limit the developer’s options. Even the Latin Kings once attended a Community Board meeting to try to stop its sale in the first place (the “board sided with the gang members, but the city was unmoved”). P.S. 64 has been languishing in this legal purgatory now for two full decades. Is its shell doomed to remain vacant forever, or will someone in a position of power finally make a decision to determine its fate?

Published: Jun 1, 2018
Length: 11 minutes (2,887 words)

They Shared Drugs. Someone Died. Does That Make Them Killers?

Rosa Goldensohn’s year-long investigation published by the New York Times is a thorough look at a new phenomenon among prosecutors all over the country: charging the friends, family and fellow users of people who overdose on drugs with murder.

Published: May 25, 2018
Length: 12 minutes (3,130 words)

André Leon Talley’s Next Act

Friedman profiles Talley, the former creative director of Vogue, upon the release of “The Gospel According to André,” a documentary about his life.

Published: May 24, 2018
Length: 13 minutes (3,330 words)

K.D. Lang Doesn’t Have to Indulge Your Constant Cravings

At the New York Times, Penelope Green profiles Canadian singer-songwriter K.D. Lang 25 years after the release of Lang’s album Ingénue. Green writes about how Lang has come to terms with her success, her “chapter in the history of the gay rights movement,” and about reaching middle age as an artist.

Published: Mar 22, 2018
Length: 11 minutes (2,846 words)

Never Solved, a College Dorm Fire Has Become One Man’s Obsession

The eight young Ph.D. students who died in a fire at Cornell University in 1967 have become the reason for one amateur detective to live. But why is William Fogle obsessed with other peoples’ tragedy?

Published: Apr 13, 2018
Length: 32 minutes (8,040 words)

The ISIS Files

On five trips to Iraq, Rukmini Callimachi and a team of other New York Times journalists scoured files and other papers left behind by the Islamic State, which help explain how the so-called Caliphate had been able to stay in power there for a number of years. The impression left behind? That ISIS’s penchant for brutality is matched by its acumen for efficient bureaucracy. All manner of infrastructure was apparently maintained better under the group than it had been under the Iraqi government. Money was raised not only through the sale of stollen oil, but through agriculture and through well organized and enforced taxation. Callimachi covers this in an interactive piece.

Published: Apr 5, 2018
Length: 27 minutes (6,846 words)

A ‘Bright Light,’ Dimmed in the Shadows of Homelessness

Nakesha Williams’ promising life was derailed by mental illness. She resisted help from friends, family members, and social workers and died on the street.

Published: Mar 3, 2018
Length: 31 minutes (7,864 words)

The Haunting of Lindsey Jacobellis

There has never been a competitor in the history of snowboard cross like Lindsey Jacobellis, which is why it was all the more shocking that Jacobellis floundered in three consecutive Winter Olympics. To the public, those slip-ups came to define her, and John Branch examines how Jacobellis has succeeded to quiet both the external and internal noise: by working with a mental strength coach whose previous experience came helping financial traders in the high pressure environment of Wall Street.

Published: Feb 14, 2018
Length: 10 minutes (2,568 words)

Finding a Lost Strain of Rice, and Clues to Slave Cooking

Historians of African-diaspora cooking have considered hill rice a mythical, long-extinct staple. Then, one of them stumbled on it while walking in the Trinidadian countryside.

Published: Feb 13, 2018
Length: 8 minutes (2,017 words)

Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle

The beach-bum version of Jimmy Buffett has become a huge brand® with financial interests in foodstuffs, hotels, casinos, and even adult living communities. Buffett is the original escapist who has long escaped his original slacker identity. A businessman wrapped in a Hawaiian shirt, he’s worth more money than Bruce Springsteen. (Not bad for a guy who only had one top ten song, compared to Springsteen, who has had 12.)

Published: Feb 8, 2018
Length: 17 minutes (4,474 words)