A Day in the Life of Court 15

A hazy sun rises through the trees of Flushing Meadows Corona Park that overlook Court 15 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The court is empty. It is Tuesday, the second day of the United States Open.

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The Life Cycle of a Book

Where do book ideas come from? That first spark, that moment of conception? If I believed in God, I’d say that book ideas come from Her. Since I don’t, I wonder if they come from an accidental accumulation of living: riding the subway, reading a book, drinking coffee, remembering a moment. Then, wham, book idea.

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After Cancer, A Father Reflects

In the basement dressing room of the David H. Koch Theater, the ballet moms and I watched “The Nutcracker” play on the video monitor. We watched our daughters dance – they were candy canes this year – and we took photos of them as they tumbled downstairs after performing on stage, their costumes jangling with bells. Mostly, though, over countless shows and countless cups of coffee, we dissected the performances of the principal dancers.

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Gentlemen, Start Your Tugboats

As annual New York competitions go, the Great North River Tugboat Race is, not surprisingly, a bit of a plodder. Organized by the Working Harbor Committee, the 25-year-old race is contested over the same mile of Hudson River, often by many of the same entrants, year after year, generally to little fanfare.

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Reading in the Shadow of Sendak

I’m pretty sure I was the least productive Sendak Fellow. The Sendak Fellowship is awarded each year to a small group of children’s book authors, who then spend a month at Maurice Sendak’s summer home, a bucolic cluster of farmhouses, barns, and ponds nestled in the hills of upstate New York. Each Fellow is given a cottage, food, money, a studio, the space to create. But in a place designed for work, I didn’t.

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Somewhere, Under There, Is a Dog

The Westminster Dog Show is much more than the show most experience on TV, a seemingly endless parade of immaculately groomed dogs on short leashes running in long loops. Spending a day backstage, an artist with a sketchbook pulls back the curtain on the pooches, the people and the primping.

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The Ignominy of Aston Villa

Relegation looks all but certain for a legendary English club—a fate made painfully clear with a recent 6-0 drubbing

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Backstage at ‘The Nutcracker’

Thousands experience the beauty of George Balanchine’s classic ballet at Lincoln Center each year. Far fewer see what happens behind the scenes — the makeup and mouse heads — or what life is like for the dancers and workers who put on 49 performances in 38 days. Here is a sketchbook, in pictures and words, of the world in the wings.

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A Terrifically Bad Idea

The plan: 10 cafés, 10 macchiatos, one morning, by bike. Embarking on an adventure that can be described in only one way.

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Beauty

Cycling here, at its best, is better than mere annoyance. It can give us, for want of a better word, beauty.

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