New York Magazine October 12-25, 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
welcoming curbed

WHEN NEW YORK MAGAZINE was founded in 1968, its absolute focus was New York City life: its politics, accents, art, social dynamics, and best lo mein. In 2020, the magazine still has New York City at its center—but the purview has expanded to the entire country, if not the world. New York’s online coverage of the specifics of city life has, in recent years, been distributed across its websites; so has its writing on architecture, urbanism, real estate, and design. Now, you’ll be reading a lot more of it on Curbed. This week, the pioneering website Curbed is joining New York as our home for coverage of cities and city life. We can’t imagine a better fit. For almost 16 years, we at New York have watched as Curbed documented, with…

18 Min
the entire presidency is a superspreading event

DONALD TRUMP was on the phone, and he was talking about dying. It was Saturday, October 3, and while his doctor had told the outside world that the president’s symptoms were nothing to worry about, Trump, cocooned in his suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, was telling those close to him something very different. “I could be one of the diers,” he said. The person on the other end of the line couldn’t forget that unusual word the president used: dier. A seldom-said dictionary standard, it was a classic Trumpism, at once sinister and childlike. If being a loser was bad, being a dier was a lot worse. Losers can become winners again. Diers are losers forever. But aren’t we all diers in the end? Donald…

5 Min
i couldn’t make this stuff up

SOCIAL MEDIA HAS BEEN SPLIT on how to respond to Trump’s illness. Some people want him to die; others pray he will make a full recovery so he can go on to be regularly assaulted in prison by ex-colleagues. There is, however, one thing we all agree on: The collision of a deadly pandemic with a reality-show host on steroids has shattered all that’s left of our definition of reality. For lo, He fell sick and seemed dead and buried. But on the third day, He cast off his bedsheets and rose again. And, lo, the door of the temple hospital was rent in twain, and He ascended into Heaven. Then He descended onto the White House Lawn and saluted for what seemed like 40 days and 40 nights. And verily, the…

5 Min
good genes

LAST MONTH, appearing at a rally in Minnesota, President Trump praised the superior genetic stock of his supporters in the state. “You have good genes, you know that, right?” Trump observed. “You have good genes. A lot of it’s about the genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.” The comment received some attention as fresh evidence of a decades-long streak of racism, which it certainly is. (There is obviously a reason the lineage of the heavily Nordic state drew his attention.) But Trump’s observations on genetics are not only an expression of racism. It is also one of his deepest obsessions and the explanation for the bizarre passivity that has characterized his response to the coronavirus pandemic from…

4 Min
claudia conway is not your savior

FOR A WHILE, it was James Comey. Then it was Robert Mueller. For a brief moment, the internet’s liberal pundits speculated that perhaps Melania Trump herself could be the truth-teller we needed to stand up to Donald Trump. But one seemingly unhappy marriage isn’t the basis for popular liberation, and neither, it turns out, are two former directors of the FBI. The prayer candles and the rumor-mongering about the president’s imminent downfall all came to nothing. The resistance—or at least, the faction that spends altogether too much of its time online—rode on in search of a new savior. It has settled on Claudia Conway, the 15-year-old daughter of George and Kellyanne Conway, former counselor to the president. When Claudia announced on TikTok recently that her mother had tested positive for coronavirus,…

28 Min
the city’s “permanent government” has always built its way out of crisis. but what if it can’t?

ONE LATE-AUGUST MORNING, I met former New York governor Eliot Spitzer at Hudson Yards, the lavishly subsidized $25 billion real-estate development that will one day house Facebook offices, investment funds, and the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer. I found him at the base of an unfinished skyscraper, where a marketing banner draped across the scaffolding read RESET EXPECTATIONS. Spitzer was wearing a mask, a green gingham shirt, and bookish horn-rimmed glasses. The former governor is now a builder, having returned to his family’s real-estate business after self-destructing in politics. He had been talking to me intermittently since the middle of the summer, analyzing the pandemic as someone with a deep personal investment in the health of the city. “I don’t know when people are coming back to these buildings,” Spitzer said as we…