| Jul 1, 2013
| 8:55 AM
On a sun-splashed afternoon that marked the second day of summer, I joined a diverse throng of men, women and children, all waiting to board the Staten Island Ferry — a hulking orange vessel that provides free commuter service between Manhattan...
| Sep 5, 2013
| 4:41 PM
When you mention the word "museum," many travelers imagine the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the lines of people trying to sneak a peek at the "Mona Lisa" at the Louvre. Though art may be the first thing to come to mind, many other subjects...
| Dec 15, 2012
The bronze figure of Thomas Jefferson rises 19 feet in his Pantheon-style memorial in Washington, D.C. It suits the third president's oversize life. And it underscores the ongoing debate about his stature, examined in five new books about him.
| Oct 24, 2012
| 12:42 PM
Listening to novelist and political commentator Mark Helprin recount his life is a bit like listening to Forrest Gump — an eloquent, New York-born Forrest Gump.
Helprin is hardly slow-witted, but like the titular hero of the Oscar-winning 1994...
| Jan 18, 2013
| 2:28 PM
Airport hotels are this era's Ellis Island, providing respite to refugees who have traveled thousands of miles and often survived horrific circumstances. New immigrants are greeted not by the Statue of Liberty but by the glow of fast-food restaurants...
| Nov 27, 2012
| 2:38 PM
Philip Dawkins, a hugely talented Chicago writer, has, in his newest work, "Failure: A Love Story," penned a Chicago tale full of emotional riches. Alas, this potentially moving drama about three ill-fated sisters in the 1920s has been saddled with a...
| Jan 5, 2013
I have now become the Ellis Island for bisexuals. I tried to avoid it, but they are drawn to me.
Consider my recent experience at the Laugh Factory on the Sunset Strip:
I go there to hang out with some of the comics and watch the show. It's a very...
| Jul 4, 2013
| 8:45 AM
NEW YORK -- The Statue of Liberty reopened to visitors Thursday for the first time since Hurricane Sandy washed ashore in October and severely damaged the island on which Lady Liberty sits.
The statue was spared storm damage, and tens of thousands of...
| Oct 6, 2012
In Sunlight and in Shadow
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 720 pp., $28
It's been 17 years since Mark Helprin's last novel, "Memoir from Antproof Case," and he's lost none of his gift for...
| Sep 13, 2013
| 11:30 AM
When Jeff Bieber was growing up as "a Jewish kid from Queens," his awareness of Mexican American border culture largely consisted of owning a Davy Crockett coonskin cap.
"I suppose you knew about the Alamo, but the word 'Tejano,' I had no clue," says...
| Sep 18, 2013
| 12:27 PM
The American Opera Initiative, a worthy project launched last year by Washington National Opera, will be back this season with more premieres.
Three 20-minute operas on American subjects, including a work by the Baltimore team of composer Joshua...