Category Archives: cities

Dubai, Uganda, and today’s global political economy

My family and I are just back from visiting our daughter, who works in Uganda, with a two-day stop in Dubai, where there’s a change of flights en route from Boston to Entebbe. We chose these destinations for family reasons. But … Continue reading

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a welcome talk for college interns newly arrived in Washington

I’d like to welcome you to Washington. I’d also like to welcome you to DC. To my ear, “Washington” means the official city, the nation’s capital, the seat of power. It’s also the destination for about 20 million visitors a … Continue reading

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roots of crime

Since May, I have been able to spend time in two of the world’s biggest metropolises, Istanbul and Mexico City. They are similar in several ways beside their vastness. Each is the leading city of a substantial and proudly independent nation … Continue reading

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Boston, recovering city

(On the train to NYC) It’s my sense that the second half of the 20th century was hard on America’s oldest city, but Boston is recovering from the wounds it sustained then. Boston entered the 1900s as the hub of … Continue reading

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Detroit and the temptation of ruin

In Detroit, they call it “Ruin Porn”: images of a 35-acre abandoned automotive plant, the 18-story abandoned railway station (modeled, in turn, on ancient Roman baths), and other vast and decayed structures. I can certainly understand why citizens of Detroit … Continue reading

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Israel, day 2

(Jerusalem) I am here on a political study tour; our main business is a large number of meetings with experts and representatives of various sectors of Israeli and Palestinian society. I won’t try to narrate the whole trip but will … Continue reading

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Cincinnati

I am stuck after nearly a week’s travel because the hurricane has canceled my flights homeward. But Cincinnati is a handsome and impressive place in which to be stranded. I am staying in the Netherland Plaza, an Art Deco extravaganza. … Continue reading

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seeing Paris in chronological order

Here is a plan for visiting major sites of Paris chronologically. 1. Roman Lutetia to the high Middle Ages This itinerary can be completed entirely on foot. Start at les Arènes de Lutèce (a Roman amphitheater off rue Monge). Walk … Continue reading

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learning from Las Vegas

Las Vegas–I am here for a gathering of the alumni of YouthBuild USA. More about that tomorrow. Meanwhile, unlike Boston, Milwaukee, or Atlanta, Las Vegas makes you ask: Is this the real America? Is this our distilled essence? It is … Continue reading

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trying to look at the Empire State Building

(Washington, DC) Over the weekend, I finished Mark Kingwell’s excellent book Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams. By coincidence, I spent today in an office three blocks south of the actual Empire State Building. I … Continue reading

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