New Yorker Magazine

Cover_newyorker_190I admit it, I am a magazine addict.  I love filling up on all the latest and greatest every month from Vogue, Elle, Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit and Gourmet.  Funny enough, I don’t get any travel magazines but I should.  I also don’t mind picking up People magazine for a fix too.  New York Magazine has been a weekly fix in my Monday mailbox for 25 years.  The New Yorker is also a treat in the Monday mailbox but is a bit more heady. 

When you get that many magazines you get to know the format.  Once in a awhile there are really great articles worth reading but generally it is just a flip through.  This week in the New Yorker there were 2 articles that I found really good – a rarity.

The first one is called Expectations.  It is about the Denver school superintendent Michael Bennet and how he attempted to save a school district that had basically become a symbol of failed reform.  It is fascinating how he goes about dealing with the community and students.  What is also of interest is the insight it gives the reader into how this country has failed our public school system particularly the sections with underprivileged kids.  That would be the immigrants and the first Generation of new Americans who are going to be the leaders of tomorrow.  I really believe that change must take place now.

The next article was fascinating and I read every word.  For anyone who knows me, that is huge.  I tend to speed read and read every few words.  The article is called An Acquiring Eye.  It is about Ronald Lauder’s career in collecting art.  Ronald Lauder is probably worth a couple of billion dollars.  So, his reality is really worth reading because he is able to do what would be most people’s dreams.  He has been philanthropic all over the world and particularly for the Jews from schools to economic investments.  He has lived a life and still lives a life that very very few people in the world get to live and after reading the article I have to give him a lot of credit for how much he has accomplished. 

This is one of my favorite stories in the article.  He started collecting art with the money he got from his Bar Mitzvah.  He went off to Vienna to go to school and traveled all over Eastern Europe where his love for Eastern European art began.  When he was sixteen, a dealer gave him the opportunity to buy a drawing by Van Gogh and one by Lionel Feininger for $150,000.  This was 1960 so that was a big chunk of change but remember where he is coming from.  He tells the dealer, sure.  He then puts on a suit, goes down to the bank and borrows the money against his Estee Lauder stock.  Two weeks later the banker realizes that his date of birth is 1944 so he calls Ronald and says you made a mistake, weren’t you born in 1934?  Ronald tells him, no I was born in 1944.  The banker says that he can’t give a 16 year old money and Lauder tell hims that it’s too late because he bought a Van Gogh with the money.  He had to have his father come down to the bank and sign for him.  Today the drawing, which he still owns, is worth between 6-8 million dollars.  Great story.

If you collect art or are interested in art, this is definitely a story worth reading.  The same goes for the story on the school system.  I have been involved with the school system in NYC through a non-profit that has helped many underprivileged kids so I am always drawn to these stories.  Both of them really interesting.  This is when I am glad I get The New Yorker every week.  I can hardly wait until next Monday.