When Baking and Real Estate Collide

For The New Yorker, Anna Wiener explores the cuisine-real-estate business model and traces the rise of Tartine, the artisanal San Francisco bakery known for its delicious breads and pastries and hip, airy spaces. How did this beloved spot in the Mission become a world-renowned brand? And is this food empire really what it seems?

Certain gentrifiers, who consider themselves culturally savvy, “don’t want Le Bernardin, or some four-star restaurant, moving into their neighborhood, because that would ruin the charm,” Sharon Zukin, a sociologist and urbanist at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, told me. “That would ruin the ‘authenticity.’ They might have a lot of economic capital, but they still want to have that authentic cultural capital that Roberta’s, or Tartine, signifies. Now, for me, and maybe also you, we’re asking: How can something still be artisanal if it has six branches in Seoul?”

“We’re perceived to be something bigger than what we are,” she told me. “There is no there there. It’s a water sandwich.”

According to Prueitt, Tartine is in debt and struggling not to sink further. Still, outside the Bay Area, it continues to grow.

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jun 16, 2022
Length: 15 minutes (3,777 words)

The Surreal Case of a C.I.A. Hacker’s Revenge

Joshua Schulte was once employed making cyberweapons for the CIA. Feeling wronged by the agency after a dispute with a colleague, he allegedly retaliated by releasing troves of secret data on WikiLeaks, exposing US hacking methods and assets. When the FBI investigated him, they discovered that Schulte had some deep dark secrets of his own.

On March 7, 2017, the Web site WikiLeaks launched a series of disclosures that were catastrophic for the C.I.A. As much as thirty-four terabytes of data—more than two billion pages’ worth—had been stolen from the agency. The trove, billed as Vault 7, represented the single largest leak of classified information in the agency’s history. Along with a subsequent installment known as Vault 8, it exposed the C.I.A.’s hacking methods, including the tools that had been developed in secret by the O.S.B., complete with some of the source code.

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jun 6, 2022
Length: 44 minutes (11,064 words)

Waiting at a Texas Hospital for Children Who Never Arrive

A heartbreaking account from a doctor in the children’s trauma center of a San Antonio, Texas, hospital recounting the day they waited for an influx of children, injured in a school shooting 85 miles away in Uvalde. But the kids never came.

We wanted to have never heard of them, for them to never need us. But, when that was no longer possible, we wanted the children stuffed into ambulances and helicopters, winging their way to us, filling our emergency room, spilling their blood in our operating rooms, and surviving to breathe again in the pediatric I.C.U. We wanted them here.

Source: The New Yorker
Published: May 27, 2022
Length: 6 minutes (1,521 words)

DeafBlind Communities May Be Creating a New Language of Touch

Andrew Leland’s fascinating piece in The New Yorker explores Protactile, a system of tactile communication that has evolved into a national movement for autonomy among DeafBlind people across the U.S.

Still, several linguists have come to believe that, among some of its frequent users, Protactile is developing into its own language, with words and grammatical structures that have diverged from those of A.S.L. “I am totally convinced that this is no tweak of A.S.L.,” Diane Brentari, one of the premier linguists of sign language, who teaches at the University of Chicago, told me. “This is a new language.” Clark believes that Protactile has the potential to upend centuries of DeafBlind isolation. “It’s an exciting time to be DeafBlind,” he has written. “The single most important development in DeafBlind history is in full swing.”

Source: The New Yorker
Published: May 12, 2022
Length: 27 minutes (6,928 words)

How Louie Simmons Defined the Extreme Sport of Power Lifting

Even if you’ve never tiptoed near the shrine of powerlifting, you’ll find something to love in Lauren Michele Jackson’s obituary of the iconic Westside Barbell founder. And if you have? The same — plus you’ll leave wondering why the writing about strength sports can’t always be this lyrical.

The place became a home for big bodies with troubled pasts who were joined in their commitment to pushing and pulling stupid amounts of weight. Simmons has described the psychology of the place in terms of the movie “Shogun Assassin,” in which a young son joins his father on a bloody path of vengeance. “That’s what this gym is: a journey into Hell,” he explained in the 2019 documentary “Westside vs. the World.”

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Apr 7, 2022
Length: 7 minutes (1,823 words)

The Price of Admission

This jaw-dropping story from Rachel Aviv starts as one of an abused child overcoming the odds against her, and ends with elite, monied institutions accusing her of lying:

Norton, with whom Mackenzie had been living for nearly a year, told me, “I cannot avoid the sense that Mackenzie is being faulted for not having suffered enough. She was a foster child, but not for long enough. She is poor, but she has not been poor for long enough. She was abused, but there is not enough blood.” Penn had once celebrated her story, but, when it proved more complex than institutional categories for disadvantage could capture, it seemed to quickly disown her. Norton wrote a letter to Gutmann, Penn’s president, warning that the university had been “made complicit in a long campaign of continuing abuse.” Norton says that Gutmann did not respond.


Source: The New Yorker
Published: Mar 28, 2022
Length: 42 minutes (10,600 words)

The Editor Who Moves Theory Into the Mainstream

Among a certain breed of academic (and academia-adjacent) reader,  Duke University Press holds an unswayable cachet. And in this tight, arch profile of Duke UP editor Ken Wissokur, Jennifer Wilson does the magazine version of what Wissokur does with his authors and their scholarly books: take something that sounds dreadfully dry, and make it perfectly not. If you’re waiting for hagiography, you won’t find it here.

Wissoker told me that he and Davidson had curated the apartment in the same way that he curates his relatively compressed slate of authors. “You wait until something is really good,” he explained, “rather than just go out and get a bunch of stuff.” He sees a connection between his editor’s intuition and his days as a hip-hop d.j. for his college station in Chicago in the nineteen-eighties. “It’s all about finding out where the sound is, where is it coming from,” he told me. “I like to say, ‘You go where the thinking is livest.’ ”

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Mar 29, 2022
Length: 12 minutes (3,140 words)

The Great American Antler Boom

Abe Streep deftly takes us on a journey into the somewhat bizarre world of shed hunters — whose lives revolve around elk and deer antlers.

Nearby, a coed group from Kansas was huddled around a pickup truck, where a twenty-seven-year-old Pfizer employee was holding court. He told his friends that he had run more than seven hundred miles in the past nine months to prepare for antler season.

Author: Abe Streep
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Mar 7, 2022
Length: 21 minutes (5,307 words)

A Pandemic Tragedy in Guayaquil

In this harrowing read for The New Yorker, Daniel Alarcón paints a grim picture of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, which endured one of the world’s most lethal outbreaks of COVID-19.

In Guayaquil, on any given day before the pandemic, there might have been thirty to fifty people whose deaths had to be accounted for, whose bodies had to be embalmed, moved to a grave site, mourned, and buried. During that hellish stretch from late March to mid-April of 2020, hundreds were dying each day. For more than a week in early April, the number was around seven hundred. No system in the world could have absorbed this many excess deaths, every day for weeks, without collapsing. Social media was awash with macabre images of bodies on sidewalks. The whole city had become a cemetery, a spectacle for all the world to see.

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Mar 7, 2022
Length: 30 minutes (7,694 words)

The Good Doctor

“Paul Farmer set out twenty years ago to heal the world. He still thinks he can.”
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jul 10, 2000
Length: 49 minutes (12,300 words)