Author Archives: Andy Merrifield

About Andy Merrifield

Writer, Urbanist, Marxist, Educator

Reclaiming Public Values in the City

These days, with lockdown, I don’t get out much. But I can still talk and meet people—across the airwaves, on Zoom. A few weeks ago, I was in Seoul—well, sort of. I’d been there before, for real, five years back, … Continue reading

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Beyond Plague Urbanism

Our most insightful urban commentators generally agree that the liveliest cities are those with greatest diversity. Diversity of activities, diversity of people. Jane Jacobs long ago highlighted the link between economic diversity and social vitality; how the former fuels the … Continue reading

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September 11

Today, September 11, is a terrible date in New York’s collective memory, a day of mass death and destruction surpassed only by the coronavirus. But September 11 is also awful for New York in another sense: seven years back, the city’s … Continue reading

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Easy on Main

Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to participate in a Zoom book launch of Mindy Thompson Fullilove’s latest creative endeavor, Main Street. I plead guilty to a certain partisan partiality here, because I wrote its foreword. A hundred-plus kindred … Continue reading

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ANDRÉ GREGORY — Living With His Art

Review Essay of André Gregory, This Is Not My Memoir (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, November, 2020) “Ah yes. My impulsiveness had its consequences, my dear Mr. Brack” —Ibsen, Hedda Gabler Theater director André Gregory has had an eye gouged out in … Continue reading

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Surrealist Encounters—When We Could Still Have Them

In June 1933, launching the first issue of the Surrealist magazine, Minotaure, [1] poets André Breton and Paul Éluard conducted a survey that posed two questions to its readers: “What do you consider the most important encounter of your life? … Continue reading

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Over the Rainbow — Pynchon and the Pandemic

“Toto, I have the feeling we’re not in Kansas any more…” — Dorothy, arriving in Oz Maybe it was all those rainbows in lockdown that got me thinking about Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon’s masterpiece from 1973. His rainbow had been there … Continue reading

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Remembering Spalding Gray

Spalding Gray, who died in 2004, would have been 79 on June 5, 2020. Here is my personal remembrance of a sadly missed storyteller and artist. I was so excited waiting in line to enter. I was there early, eager … Continue reading

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BEAT CITY 4 — Emancipation of the Shufflers Passing By

“If you ride around on the subway with Jack,” Kerouac’s friend “Davey” Amram remembered, “or just go out on the street, he would talk to everybody, be natural and real with anybody.” “We used to walk around New York’s streets … Continue reading

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BEAT CITY 3 — Goofing at the Table

My favourite Beat diner image is an inspiring black & white shot, taken in a long lost Lower East Side diner. In the photo, we can see Kerouac (left, front on) sat at a booth with poet friends Allen Ginsberg … Continue reading

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