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Henry Stewart

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It's May, the end of May, the end of a long rainy May, and by my fig tree you'd think it was February: its limbs are barren and leafless and, above all, figless. Not even a trace of the nubbins that will become the fruit. Thing is, it's not just my tree. A few neighborhoods east, my colleague Sarah Zorn reports that her fig tree has yet to sprout leaves. "The fig trees are...
Bocce, a game in which players try to get throw their balls closest to a jack on the far side of a 16-foot court, traces its roots to ancient Rome. Italians developed the modern game in the 19th century, then spread it throughout the world as they emigrated. The first public bocce court in New York was built in 1934 in Thomas Jefferson Park in East Harlem, then an Italian neighborhood. "By the 1950s,...
Williamsburg has changed slightly since Betty Smith spawned decades of eye-rolling headlines by publishing her first novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, in 1943. But some landmarks have remained, like the 103-year-old Jackson Street Settlement House, which these days provides after-school programs, a summer camp, and other community-focused services. "Betty Smith taught sewing to the kids of immigrants there the Williamsburg institution made an appearance in her famous first novel," the Brooklyn Paper reports—but now the group that...
In the future, will "opera glasses" be slang for Google Glass? For those of you who haven't been to the opera in the last few decades, most companies include some sort of real-time translation feature: when New York City Opera was at the New York State Theater, they used supertitles, the English-language version broadcast on a thin screen above the stage; at the Metropolitan Opera House, they include a number of language options, viewable...