New York Magazine August 31 - September 13, 2020

In the Apr. 15–28 issue: Olivia Nuzzi on “wonder boy” Pete Buttigieg. Plus: Art & Design, by Wendy Goodman; the half-billion dollar “Leonardo”; Natasha Lyonne, Annette Bening, and more.

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4 Min

1 For New York’s latest cover story, Olivia Nuzzi went inside President Trump’s chaotic 2020 campaign (“The Most Tremendous Reelection Campaign in American History Ever,” August 17–30). On The Chuck ToddCast podcast, NBC’s Chuck Todd said the story was “one of those pieces like, Wait, I can’t believe that anecdote. I can’t believe that anecdote! The Pennsylvania field stuff is astonishing. Bill Stepien and this weird Chris Christie–Jared Kushner drama. There’s just so much of it.” Writer and editor Adam Banks tweeted, “This @Olivianuzzi portrait of the Trump campaign is dense and light, clever and plain, a meticulous insider brain dump—the kind of gonzo analytical reporting that shows you how things really are as best someone can.” Author-activist Amy Siskind said, “Yikes! If you thought Trump had an ace up…

12 Min
america times three

THE UNITED STATES is not “full.” In fact, it is empty. Right now, the country has about 93 people per square mile. Many, many countries are far denser than this, and not just city-states like Singapore (more than 20,000 per square mile) or small island nations like Malta (3,913 per square mile). South Korea has 1,337 people per square mile, and Belgium has 976. If you tripled the population of the United States, adding the new Americans only to the Lower 48 and leaving Alaska and Hawaii intact and unchanged, the main part of America would be only about as dense as France and less than half as dense as Germany. A transformation on that scale is almost impossible to imagine, in large part because the American political system has fallen…

5 Min
taxonomy: the newsletter economy

OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, online-publishing platforms have made it easy for users to charge a subscription fee for newsletters. As Facebook, Google, and private equity have laid waste to print media nationwide, these platforms have given rise to a new publishing economy, in which any writer with a dedicated following might be able to make a living. ¶ Of all the platforms out there, Substack, launched in 2017, has become the preferred tool for writers striking out on their own. According to the company, more than 100,000 subscribers now pay for at least one newsletter, and the platform’s top users collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. The question may no longer be whether readers are willing to pay for hyperfocused newsletters but how many are willing to…

4 Min
gail sheehy

YOU—OR YOUR MOTHER or your aunt or your grandmother—probably first encountered Gail Sheehy’s writing in 1976, when she published Passages. It was an immense best seller, one of the biggest books of the decade, a pop-psychological way of looking at American adulthood that grew out of her reporting for New York. Your life’s journey, Sheehy argued, is made up of somewhat predictable phases and points of crisis. Your 20s are about figuring out who you are as an adult; your 30s, roaring along into that adulthood, and so forth. It was a fresh way of looking at generational and sociopolitical change, and it also felt useful: Knowing that what you’re experiencing isn’t unique can be helpful when you’re muddling through. Sheehy—who died suddenly on August 24 at 83, after a brief…

7 Min
the expendables

IN A NORMAL YEAR, major movies don’t get released on Labor Day weekend, since it’s too late to compete for summer’s bounty and too early for awards season. But with many of the nation’s theaters finally open again, this Labor Day will be defined by the premieres of two big movies that also represent a fork in the road: Together, they may determine not only what films we see but how we see them for the rest of this year and perhaps for much longer. One, Disney’s Mulan, will bypass U.S. movie houses completely and debut on Disney+ on September 4, more than five months after its originally scheduled opening in theaters. The other, Warner Bros.’ oft-postponed Christopher Nolan film, Tenet (opening September 3), is making a bet on the…

33 Min
mariah after midnight photographs by dana scruggs

MARIAH CAREY LOVES CHRISTMAS. She loves it with a fanatic’s strict adherence to the laws of Christmas joy. She loves it like no one has ever loved Christmas before. (Did you have an actual reindeer at your holiday festivities last year? Did you hang out with Santa? Didn’t think so.) Christmas is also a cornerstone of the Carey complex. Frank Sinatra might have made the holiday classically jolly, Sufjan Stevens might have made it indie whiny, and Ariana Grande might have made it horny, but no artist has come to define our commercially driven holiday fantasies more than Carey has with “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Since the song dropped on her 1994 holiday album, it’s made an estimated $60 million-plus in royalties. It’s stayed relevant, thanks to…