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14.07.2018

Tom Wolfe: A New York ‘man in full’.

Tom Wolfe not only chronicled the social changes that transformed America and his adopted hometown of New York in the second half of the 20th century. In many ways, he helped to shape them. While he’ll always be remembered for his much-copied, but ultimately inimitable prose style, he was also a man of ideas. His...
Time: 19:10     Date: 15.05.2018
Last US News - Opinion: Tom Wolfe: A New York ‘man in full’. NY Post 24 - US News

His debut novel — published at the tender age of 56 — “The Bonfire of the Vanities” captured the inequities, division, danger and decay of 1980s New York better than anyone — and opened New Yorkers’ eyes to the need for change, much as another social reformer, Jacob Riis, did a century before.

A student of history, Wolfe didn’t buy it, and he began to champion ideas like proactive “Broken Windows” policing, which he believed could improve life for all New Yorkers.

Wolfe would become friends with Bill Bratton and also Bratton’s No. 2 in his first stint as commissioner, the late great, John Timoney, whom Wolfe once described thus: “Even someone in the grandstand, like me, could read the lines incised in that face, punctuated by a blunt nose, and immediately make out the words ‘tough Irish cop.’ Timoney was the platonic ideal-typical incarnation of the breed. He was the real real thing.”

After Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor, he and Wolfe participated in a Manhattan Institute forum in which many policy topics — from crime to education to welfare reform — were discussed. Years later, the Manhattan Institute presented Wolfe and Giuliani with its Hamilton Award on the same evening. It was an honor to fete the author of “Bonfire,” alongside the mayor who had done so much to put out the flames.

In his remarks, Giuliani called Wolfe “the Dickens of our modern age” and noted how he “described the social forces that affect us . . . in ways that explain what the impetus for reform is and the things that maybe we’re doing wrong that we can correct.”

From “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” (1968), his “nonfiction novel” about the counterculture, to “The Right Stuff,” his 1979 treatment of the first American astronauts, to his later works: the Atlanta-set novel “A Man in Full” (1998) and “Back to Blood” (2012), an exploration of 21st century Miami, Wolfe described our social situation with unmatched flair and insight.

“Keep scribbling,” he would advise them.

A son of the South, his love for his adopted home of New York was evident in much of his writing, including this passage from “Bonfire”:

“He could see the island of Manhattan off to the left. The towers were jammed together so tightly, he could feel the mass and stupendous weight. Just think of the millions, from all over the globe, who yearned to be on that island, in those towers, in those narrow streets! There it was, the Rome, the Paris, the London of the twentieth century, the city of ambition, the dense magnetic rock, the irresistible destination of all those who insist on being where things are happening.”

New York has always been a magnet for those whose ambition is to make a living — and make a difference — through the printed word. Tom Wolfe did both. He will be missed.

Lawrence Mone is President of the Manhattan Institute.

Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: MLB may be broken, but better not to fix it. NY Post 24 - US News
MLB may be broken, but better not to fix it.
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Last US News - Opinion: How to take a proud staycation. NY Post 24 - US News
How to take a proud staycation.
Summertime is traditionally a time of movement. People flock to the coasts. Paris is said to empty entirely in August. Your...
Last US News - Opinion: If ridership is down, why are the subways still crowded?. NY Post 24 - US News
If ridership is down, why are the subways still crowded?.
You may not have noticed all the extra seats or elbow room on your local commute, but according to the MTA, bus and subway...
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Scarlett’s white flag will only make outrage mob smell blood.
“I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly.” So said Scarlett Johansson, after withdrawing...

Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: MLB may be broken, but better not to fix it. NY Post 24 - US News
MLB may be broken, but better not to fix it.
WASHINGTON — It is a prudential axiom: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. This reflects the awareness that things...
Last US News - Opinion: How to take a proud staycation. NY Post 24 - US News
How to take a proud staycation.
Summertime is traditionally a time of movement. People flock to the coasts. Paris is said to empty entirely in August. Your...
Last US News - Opinion: If ridership is down, why are the subways still crowded?. NY Post 24 - US News
If ridership is down, why are the subways still crowded?.
You may not have noticed all the extra seats or elbow room on your local commute, but according to the MTA, bus and subway...
Last US News - Opinion: Scarlett’s white flag will only make outrage mob smell blood. NY Post 24 - US News
Scarlett’s white flag will only make outrage mob smell blood.
“I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly.” So said Scarlett Johansson, after withdrawing...
Last US News - Opinion: Why are greens silent over this ongoing ecological war?. NY Post 24 - US News
Why are greens silent over this ongoing ecological war?.
Hamas’ recent tactic of launching fire kites and balloons over the border from Gaza marks something new: ecological war....

Living

US Living News: My nightmare condition makes me feel like I’m constantly suffocating. NY Post 24 - US News
My nightmare condition makes me feel like I’m constantly suffocating.
Take a deep, satisfying breath. Barbara Schmidt can’t. With every breath, she feels as if she is suffocating. About 20...
US Living News: Junzi Kitchen opening Bleecker Street outpost. NY Post 24 - US News
Junzi Kitchen opening Bleecker Street outpost.
Junzi Kitchen, a fast-growing casual restaurant group serving Northern Chinese bings (crepes) and noodle bowls, is opening...
US Living News: There’s nada like these empanadas at pop-up eatery. NY Post 24 - US News
There’s nada like these empanadas at pop-up eatery.
The South Bronx is flaunting Puerto Rican style with a new hot spot from chef Jason Alicea. Empanology, which is open Thursdays...
US Living News: Baccarat Hotel launches special tea and scotch pairings. NY Post 24 - US News
Baccarat Hotel launches special tea and scotch pairings.
There’s nothing more decadent than a proper afternoon tea in a beautiful setting like the Baccarat Hotel New York. Upping...
US Living News: Restaurants near Central Park offering take-out picnic baskets. NY Post 24 - US News
Restaurants near Central Park offering take-out picnic baskets.
Restaurants are getting creative this summer, offering picnic baskets for the park. On the Upper West Side, The Milling Room’s...
US Living News: More than 500 ill after E. coli outbreak at zip line facility. NY Post 24 - US News
More than 500 ill after E. coli outbreak at zip line facility.
E. coli bacteria was found in water at a popular ziplining attraction in Tennessee where more than 500 people reportedly...
US Living News: Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop. NY Post 24 - US News
Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop.
CAIRO — Archaeologists in Egypt stumbled upon a new discovery dating back to more than 2,500 years ago near Egypt’s...
US Living News: Are unpaid internships still considered work experience?. NY Post 24 - US News
Are unpaid internships still considered work experience?.
I was late to the internship game this summer. I found a firm that is willing to offer me an internship but can’t pay me....

Business

Last US Business News: Steve Young’s private equity firm accused of covering up fraud. NY Post 24 - US News
Steve Young’s private equity firm accused of covering up fraud.
NFL great Steve Young is feeling the heat — and this time, it’s not from a 300-pound defensive lineman. The private equity...
Last US Business News: Alarming number of NYC subways are using broken equipment. NY Post 24 - US News
Alarming number of NYC subways are using broken equipment.
The city’s subway system is rife with an alarming array of dangerous problems, from broken speedometers to faulty signal...
Last US Business News: Serendipity pays $975K in labor settlement. NY Post 24 - US News
Serendipity pays $975K in labor settlement.
Serendipity 3, the Upper East Side eatery famous for being featured in numerous movies, is dishing out a hefty payment to...
Last US Business News: Department store drops Ivanka Trump clothing line. NY Post 24 - US News
Department store drops Ivanka Trump clothing line.
The Ivanka Trump fashion brand was kicked to the curb in Canada by the leading department store company there. Hudson’s...
Last US Business News: Don’t be surprised by fast food’s bait-and-switch. NY Post 24 - US News
Don’t be surprised by fast food’s bait-and-switch.
Dear John: I am 67 years old — a dinosaur in the computer age. I’m on a fixed income and angry. I’m especially angry...
Last US Business News: Financial markets are the ultimate predictor of gas prices. NY Post 24 - US News
Financial markets are the ultimate predictor of gas prices.
Dear John: Regarding gasoline prices, I spent over 20 years working in oil refining and marketing. Gasoline and other prices...
Last US Business News: Retail workers are struggling to make ends meet. NY Post 24 - US News
Retail workers are struggling to make ends meet.
Retail workers are doing the hustle just to pay the utility bills. A record number of US retail employees are hustling for...
Last US Business News: Americans are feeling better about the economy under Trump. NY Post 24 - US News
Americans are feeling better about the economy under Trump.
The bread and butter of politics and government for most Americans is … bread and butter. In other words, we care more...

Metro

Metro News: Cuomo throwing cash at CBS, NBC to keep late night shows in NYC. NY Post 24 - US News
Cuomo throwing cash at CBS, NBC to keep late night shows in NYC.
Gov. Cuomo promised NBC and CBS tens of millions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer-subsidized incentives to keep the kings...
Metro News: Barback says he was blinded by exploding beer bottle in lawsuit. NY Post 24 - US News
Barback says he was blinded by exploding beer bottle in lawsuit.
A barback at a trendy Manhattan watering hole was left permanently blind in one eye when a beer bottle exploded as he placed...
Metro News: Teen beaten, fatally shot in gang-related attack. NY Post 24 - US News
Teen beaten, fatally shot in gang-related attack.
A Brooklyn teen was beaten and fatally shot on Sunday during a vicious gang-related attack near his home, according to police...
Metro News: City probing Parks Department ex-con accused of sex abuse. NY Post 24 - US News
City probing Parks Department ex-con accused of sex abuse.
City officials are investigating sex-abuse allegations against an ex-con who rakes in $105,000 as a Parks and Recreation...
Metro News: Cuomo’s $10B economy ‘boost’ results in broken promises. NY Post 24 - US News
Cuomo’s $10B economy ‘boost’ results in broken promises.
It’s a financial wasteland that stretches across the state. Since taking office in 2011, Gov. Cuomo has doled out more...
Metro News: NYC library cards can now get you free entry to some museums. NY Post 24 - US News
NYC library cards can now get you free entry to some museums.
Book-smart New Yorkers will cash in on this deal. The city’s library cards can now be used to save big bucks at some of...
Metro News: Wig-wearing bank robber threatened teller with bomb: prosecutors. NY Post 24 - US News
Wig-wearing bank robber threatened teller with bomb: prosecutors.
The wig-wearing bandit nabbed for a Manhattan bank heist on Saturday is a convicted felon who claimed to be packing a bomb...
Metro News: Pizza delivery driver found dead after being shot, crashing car. NY Post 24 - US News
Pizza delivery driver found dead after being shot, crashing car.
A New Jersey pizza delivery guy died Sunday after being shot and then crashing his car into a tree, according to reports....

Sport

Last US Sport News: Unlikely Dodgers slugger went from out of baseball to folk hero. NY Post 24 - US News
Unlikely Dodgers slugger went from out of baseball to folk hero.
Dodgers third baseman and Home Run Derby participant Max Muncy tries to hit some Q&A out of the park with Post columnist...
Last US Sport News: Three players Mets can ditch to prepare for a brighter future. NY Post 24 - US News
Three players Mets can ditch to prepare for a brighter future.
What might be the most flawed Mets team of at least the last quarter-century — and that’s saying something when you consider...
Last US Sport News: Yankees close to decision time on biggest annual dilemma. NY Post 24 - US News
Yankees close to decision time on biggest annual dilemma.
It’s less a problem and more a dilemma. And for a third straight year, it’s one the Yankees are thankful to have. Between...
Last US Sport News: David Ortiz still deeply invested in Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. NY Post 24 - US News
David Ortiz still deeply invested in Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.
WASHINGTON — All David Ortiz wants for the second half is a few more wins over the Red Sox’s historic rivals. “We’re...
Last US Sport News: Mets prospect’s on-field work not even most impressive feat. NY Post 24 - US News
Mets prospect’s on-field work not even most impressive feat.
WASHINGTON — Andres Gimenez speaks of his goals, and the fact he actually uses the word “goal,” in English, reflects...