I am a writer, urbanist and presenter with a passion for journalism and public life, and a love of people, culture and adventure.
As a reporter and editor, I’ve served as editor-in-chief of the NYC policy journal CityLimits.org, associate editor of the Forward, and as a beat reporter at The Tennessean in Nashville and The Northern Virginia Daily in the Shenandoah Valley. My articles have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic and elsewhere.
As an urbanist, I’m motivated by the imperative of neighborhood preservation. When I lived on Manhattan's west side, I became the founding volunteer of Friends of the High Line in 2000, continuing as a volunteer through the 2015 season following the opening of the wildly successful park’s final section. Now an east-sider, I recently served as Director of East Village and Special Projects at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, where I did everything from leading a successful effort to obtain landmark status for a historic synagogue, to promoting new approaches to small business preservation, to placing historic plaques honoring writers James Baldwin and Frank O'Hara, and much more. I was a fellow of the LABA think tank at the 14th Street Y, where I made my first documentary short film about a major city intersection.
I have a talent for identifying wide-ranging news and trends, writing and assigning articles that are unique, or first in the field. For example, in news I wrote and directed the first substantive investigations of the NYC municipal program CityTime, which eventually was prosecuted as a $100 million extortion scheme; and spearheaded the first comprehensive look at civil liberties curtailment in the post-9/11 era. In cultural reportage, I critiqued a country music number-one hit in an op-ed at the beginning of the Iraq War, which spurred controversy in Music City and was cited in the book “Country Goes to War”; called for a return to public communal singing, in an essay that continues to resonate strongly with readers; and coined a new word to describe a beautiful phenomenon that many people haven’t even noticed.
My love of journalism led me to write a nonfiction narrative of my first reporting job and its milieu. Alone in the Valley: A Rookie Reporter in America’s Cultural Divide is the true story of a big controversy in a small town, and of a young person’s journey as a fledgling reporter responsible for covering it. I’m presently working to publish this book, which explores explores issues from public education to infrastructure to the religious right.
My enthusiasm for public dialogue and skill as an interviewer has led to an emerging role as a moderator and commentator. I'm looking forward to future appearances in NYC Media productions and elsewhere.
I grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. Strongly influenced by the nation’s capital – whether inhabiting the Smithsonian or devouring The Washington Post – I caught the bug for public life, government and media. I spent my freshman year of high school on Kibbutz Kfar Blum in Israel, and later majored in English at the University of Virginia (while spending way too much time working at The Cavalier Daily). These days, when not exploring the five boroughs, I can be found well outside the city, learning to hangglide.
Thank you to James Maher Photography for use of the homepage photo, "Bubble, Fall, Central Park."