Andrea Crawford


A Staten Island Farm That’s Reinvigorating the Borough’s Farming History

Jonathan Wilson stares down into one of the large white coolers in the back of the van he’s just parked. It’s early evening, later than usual for making restaurant deliveries, and the sun hits Bergen Street at a low angle. Beside him sits a flat of heirloom tomatoes and a box of edible flowers; inside the cooler are bags of Casper eggplants, lemon cucumbers and various peppers …

Read the story in Edible Brooklyn.

The Best Policy

There it was on New York magazine’s “approval matrix” listing current events on a despicable-to-brilliant spectrum: a key piece of public health news ranked as only slightly less despicable than the jailing of journalists in Egypt, Iraq’s violent meltdown, and the 50 percent increase in public college tuition since 2004. “Diabetes lobby’s final victory over Bloomberg’s big-soda ban,”….

Read the story in Columbia Public Health.


(Agri)culture Shock

When people ask Robin Apton what her two sons do, she happily tells them that one is a lawyer and one is an organic farmer. “They’re all intrigued by the farmer,” she says. “Nobody asks me anything about the attorney.” But when Max Apton initially announced that he had quit his job in journalism to farm—in Hawaii, then in Vermont, now in an exurb of New York—she didn’t speak to him for two weeks. …

Read the story in Psychology Today.


What’s the Difference Between a Garden and a Farm? It’s a tougher question than you think.

The Urban Agriculture Conference’s Manhattan farm tour—as in the central borough of New York City, not Manhattan, Kan.—called into question everything I knew about farming. And as a former farm kid, I know a little something about farming. I know, for example, that my family’s Indiana cornfields look nothing like the rooftop of the Waldorf Astoria. …

Read the story in Slate.


The Modern American Farmer: Today’s new farmers aren’t just white hipsters.

A new magazine hit newsstands last week, and, given the state of print media, that fact alone is notable. But the launch of this magazine also reflects a significant shift in American culture. Its cover resembles that of a design publication: It’s matte-printed on thick paper stock, and it features an arty photograph of a rooster so close up as to appear life-size. The bird’s deep red comb against the dramatic black background directs readers’ eyes upward to where, in an elegant font, the magazine’s title appears: Modern Farmer. …

Read the story in Slate.


Talk of the Town: A Former Receptionist Reflects on Life at The New Yorker

In 1957, when Janet Groth walked into the offices of The New Yorker magazine on West 43rd Street for the first time, she was a 19-year-old, Iowa-born, Minnesota-bred college graduate with literary ambitions. During her interview—with no less an interlocutor than E.B. White himself—she said that she wanted “to write, of course, but would be glad to do anything in the publishing field.” The magazine granted that meager wish by installing Groth at the reception desk, where she stayed for the next two decades. …

Read the story in NYU Magazine.


Elsa Morante considered herself a genius. Are others finally starting to agree?

If it often seems that readers’ appreciation for writers stems as much from a fascination with the way they lived as an admiration for the texts they wrote, then Italian novelist Elsa Morante deserves a place among the most beloved literary celebrities. Living in Rome in the tense days of the late 1930s under Fascist rule, the beautiful young woman with sharp tongue and ambitious pen ran in prominent intellectual circles alongside Alberto Moravia, …

Read the story in Tablet Magazine.


After 31 years as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philippe de Montebello begins a fresh career

Any person who has ever undertaken a sustained attempt at the pedagogical arts will tell you: There’s nothing so hard as teaching your first class. You overprepare material and underanticipate the demands of your students. You exert considerable and unexpected physical and mental effort standing before a classroom, trying to keep students fully engaged. One such neophyte sinks into a chair. …

Read the story in NYU Magazine.


Where, oh where, is my cassowary?

My obsession started last summer at the Australia Zoo in Brisbane. There, with a friend we were visiting, my husband, Michael, and I went first to the most beloved native creatures—kangaroos, koalas, wombats, crocodiles and a Tasmanian devil—before reaching the cassowary pavilion. Our friend shuddered, pronouncing them ”frightful things.” I looked at her, puzzled. What, I asked, is a cassowary? …

Read the story in The New York Times.


For writers, the doctor’s definitely in

The literary lineage of those who pursue medicine and also write is long and well known, with Anton Chekhov, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Carlos Williams, Mikhail Bulgakov, John Keats, and W. Somerset Maugham as standouts through history. …

Read the story in Poets & Writers magazine.


After eating for a living, William Grimes turns a page at The New York Times

William Grimes would like you to believe that reviewing restaurants for The New York Times is a tough task. Contrary to what the rest of us may think, it’s not really the greatest job in the world. It’s quite arduous, in fact; it involves a grueling schedule of dining out at some of the world’s best restaurants …

Read the story here.


In 1945, Jerzy Andrzejewski’s novel of the Warsaw ghetto enraged Poles and Jews alike. How will it read to audiences today?

In the spring of 1943, Jerzy Andrzejewski was living in a small apartment on Warsaw’s narrow Nowiniarska Street that offered a view of the ghetto. On the eve of Passover, he watched as German troops marched through the openings in the 10-foot tall brick walls …

Read the story in Tablet Magazine.


Novelist Darin Strauss grapples with grief, guilt, and a new genre

“Half my life ago, I killed a girl.” With these words, novelist Darin Strauss begins his first book of nonfiction. Half a Life, which won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle award for autobiography in March, opens on a Saturday afternoon in 1988 when Strauss was in the final month of his senior year of high school. He was driving three friends in his family’s Oldsmobile …

Read the story in NYU Magazine.


A lapsed Methodist becomes best friends with a Rabbi

As the sun set late one Friday in August 1998, I walked to services in Jerusalem with my best friend. A first-year student at Hebrew Union College, Debbie had just moved into an apartment on the top floor of a bougainvillea-draped home on Hovevei Zion Street, where a Shabbat feast of succulent fruits and olives awaited our return. I was nervous about attending my first service in Hebrew, but I followed along without mishap, and Debbie’s new classmates welcomed me warmly. Afterward, one woman asked me: “So, you’re originally from Indiana? That’s unusual. There aren’t many Jews there.” …

Read the story in Tablet Magazine.


A testament of fate

When Knopf published Daniel Mendelsohn’s first book, The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity, in 1999, critics commended it for being, as David Ansen wrote in Newsweek, “wonderfully unclassifiable.” On its surface, the book is a memoir that explores the author’s ostensible dual life as both a single gay man living in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and as a suburban father raising a son with a female companion in Trenton, New Jersey. It is also a profound, delightful meditation on the nature of desire, fatherhood, homosexual versus heterosexual coupling, Euripides’ play Ion, first loves, intellectual awakenings, and sexual identity. …

Read the story in Poets & Writers magazine.