Friday, September 25, 2009

Scattered Thoughts on Reading the NY Times

Just about every day, sometime between 6:00 and 6:30 in the morning, I look outside the front door to see if the New York Times has arrived. If it has, and it usually has by 6:30, I pick it up and begin immediately scanning the headlines, though my eye inevitably drifts toward the below the fold articles, which tend to be more feature-oriented. I will often follow one of these feature articles to its continuation, somewhere in the middle of the paper, before returning to the front page again to begin the forward march through the first section. This march tends to be more like a double time gallop, as I tend not to be very engaged by the international articles. I will often linger over a political piece about the national scene, skim through the articles about New York City, and then settle down for a good long sit with the editorial page, the letters to the editor, and, of course, the op-ed pieces, especially those by Paul Krugman, David Brooks, Gail Collins, Nicholas Kristof, and Bob Herbert (I once went to a NY Times event on a day when I particularly admired a piece by Herbert about the virtues of liberalism. At the end, as he was walking off the stage, I yelled "great column today, Mr. Herbert." He smiled that beautiful broad smile of his and waved enthusiastically). Let me add that on Sunday, Frank Rich is a special and much savored highlight. But, of course, reading the Sunday New York Times is a unique experience that merits its own separate post.

Upon finishing the main news section, I usually reach for the business news, much to my surprise. I don't read much of the news about the stock market or how particular companies are doing, but I find some of the macroeconomic analysis quite instructive, and some of the articles about the economics of culture and leisure surprisingly enjoyable. There are quite a few "Wisdom of Crowds" type articles in the business section, too, that I also find illuminating occasionally, though, on the whole, it rarely takes me more than five minutes to peruse this section.

On Tuesday, the science section is worth lingering over, though at age 59, I find that what captures my attention most often are the articles about maintaining one's health. The style section gets a quick look on Thursday but I pretty much never read the food news on Wednesday (?) or the sports reporting on Mondays.

And that leaves the section that I save for last, because I enjoy it the most - Arts and Leisure. I devour book reviews, usually enjoy anything about live theatre, and cannot resist anything about vintage films. I read Dave Kehr's weekly column about new DVD releases religiously. I often read music reviews, especially of chamber music concerts, and usually at least scan reviews of new museum exhibits. It is only a slight exaggeration to say I live in New York City to experience directly the things that get discussed in the Arts and Leisure portion of the Times. And it certainly doesn't escape my notice that one of the greatest pleasures of the last 20 years of my adult life - reading the New York Times daily - is tremendously enhanced by actually being a resident of New York City.

1 comment:

  1. I 'look' at the NYT every day, also. But I only read it on Sunday, when it is delivered to my door. By look, I mean via the web. Each day I get the 'push' from the Times that reminds me to click to the site for breaking news and opinion, the primary focus of my review. Some days I don't really read anything having heard about the stories in other media or seen them in my own local paper, which often prints NYT stories in its first section.
    Sundays I get the whole experience from news to reviews, features, the mag and ink all over me. This often laps over into Monday or even Tuesday and I agree that it is one of my great pleasures.