New York

‘After the elections in France and Greece the idea of Ed Miliband as prime minister is moving from late-night fear to probability’

‘In New York schools where they teach a core knowledge curriculum, some of the poorest children are discussing Shakespeare at four years old’

‘Backward-leaning leftist populism is on the rise. All the old slogans of the 1980s  — “Tory scum” and so on — are making a return’

‘American academia is being swamped by the backwaters of identity politics’


“New York, New York, it’s a helluva town! The Bronx is up and the Battery down…”

Ooops. “Helluva” was not deemed acceptable and Bernstein ended up writing that tune to the word “Wonderful” instead. Having just been back to the Big Apple after an absence of seven years, I’m pretty sure “Helluva” is the right word. It is wonderful, up to a point; but also noisy, to a degree that makes life under the flight path seem extraordinarily peaceful; crazy, to the point that even most of the cats are ‘barking’; energising to the spirit, emptying to the bank account (seduction by tourist discount in Macy’s and hidden taxes in restaurants), and so full-on that a long weekend felt like a fortnight. As for the bagels…! That’s not “Wonderful.” That’s “Helluva”.

US Election Week diary: New Yorkers and their attitudes towards the new president

‘New York feels much calmer than London about the financial crisis. It’s not clear if this attitude is a product of resignation or sheer denial, schadenfreude against wealthy financiers, or perhaps a kind of emotional hardiness born of the 9/11 attacks.’