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Silk City

Paterson, New Jersey, was founded in 1791 as part of Alexander Hamilton’s plan for the United States to gain economic independence from Britain. It became the seat of the Industrial Revolution, earning the nickname Silk City for its abundant production of that and other highly valued commodities. Paterson was also the site of fierce labor…

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Disney World Daze: A Travel Diary

What follows are pieces of a recently unearthed travel diary kept by a curmudgeonly crank visiting Walt Disney World with twelve members of his family. Archival documents confirm that the author went at the request of his sister, who thought it would be fun for the family to vacation together at the Happiest Place on…

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Music at Face Value

The first album I ever bought was by the B-52’s; the yellow one. I was in the 7th grade and moving rapidly away from the Van Halen and disco of my peers. Up until then, I had spent time in the company of my parents’ record collection: folk, standards, and Woodstock-era rock. Ella Sings Gershwin,…

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On the Use of #$!&*

For me, threats are a big part of parenting. So is profanity. In fact, the two go together like “screw” and “this”—though my toddler daughter Tess doesn’t know that because I mostly keep my curses to myself. But every once in a while, a four-letter expletive escapes my gritted teeth. And when Tess recently said…

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Dog Day Midnight

If you were a child living in New York in the 1970s, you may have sensed a certain sexual promiscuity simmering beneath the surface of everyday life. Even if you were too slow or too young to know exactly what it was, something mysterious and dangerous lurked in the yellows and browns of various polyester…

First Aid Kit: “Stay Gold”

Johanna and Klara Söderberg may be rock’s most exciting sister act since Ann and Nancy Wilson. As First Aid Kit, the Swedish siblings delighted the NPR and indie sets with their second release, The Lion’s Roar, a collection of day-glo country folk that yielded the catchiest tune of 2012. “Emmylou” is the kind of charming…