2004 Back Issues
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Cover Story
Where to Eat Now

It’s been a great year for food lovers of every stripe, what with a slew of celebrity-chef spinoffs that were not only terrific but easier on the wallet, the rise of barbecue chic and upscale Japanese, and plenty of brilliant new ventures—from ’inoteca, with its perfect paninis, to the Biltmore Room’s sensational Asian fusion. Our annual tour of the city’s best places to eat—and be seen.

The 2004 Hot List

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January 12, 2004
January 12, 2004

Cover Story
Girls Gone Wild

The media have long depicted lesbians as sexless beings in lumberjack shirts whining endlessly about the patriarchy. This month, Showtime’s hot new series The L Word tears away the flannel to reveal a group of L.A. lesbians as obsessed with sex, success, and shoes as Sex and the City’s hetero quartet ever was. As it happens, New York’s lesbian community is ready for an image makeover, too. Plus: ’Atta Boi. Freed from old ideas about sexual politics, writes Ariel Levy, many young lesbians are going beyond butch (the new word is “boi”) to experiment with a new generation of sex roles. Welcome to the play-boi mansion.

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Cover Story
Bullets and Bolognese

With its eleven tables prized by big shots (Ron Perelman’s a regular) and movie stars (Madonna was turned away), tiny Rao’s is the most exclusive red-sauce joint in the world. Ruled by Sopranos regular Frankie Pellegrino, Rao’s has an air of mobsterdom that makes it au courant. And when Louis “Louie Lump Lump” Barone, a 67-year-old numbers runner, was seriously disrespected by a young “made” punk—a member of the Lucchese crime family, no less—did he have any choice but to settle the matter with his Smith & Wesson? Fuhgeddaboudit. Behind the scenes of an East (Harlem) Side story.

Cover Story
Gray Area

For over 25 years, Spalding Gray kept his demons at bay through his work on- stage and in film, especially in the brilliant monologues—Swimming to Cambodia was his best known—that laced fevered confession with a wry, self-deprecating humor. But a devastating car accident sank Gray into a deep depression, leading to several suicide attempts. When he disappeared on a cold night in January, the family and friends who’d been struggling to save him could only conclude that he acted on the impulse that had come to obsess him—to leap to his death from the Staten Island Ferry.

Along the Hudson from the Far West Village to western Soho, ambitious developers and their equally ambitious architects are attempting to turn what was a desolate stretch of warehouses (just try getting a cab!) into the city’s newest Gold Coast. More than half a dozen residential high-rises now going up, with spectacular views and premium amenities (resistance pool, anyone?), are designed to create what developers hope will be California on the Hudson—and detractors worry will be the future East Trenton.

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February 16, 2004
February 16, 2004

Cover Story
Spring Fashion 2004

It’s heartening to know that fashion refuses to be daunted even by the most bitter winter: The spring collections are happily awash with lighthearted florals, bold flashes of color, flirty fabrics, and spangled accessories. Inside, you’ll find the season’s best—from crisp sportswear to gowns hot enough to sizzle until dawn. Plus: Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicilian-sexy red-carpet appeal, and Scarlett Johansson, New York’s favorite acting sensation.

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Cover Story
Fear of Fat

No kid likes being fat. But for overweight youngsters in this thinnest (and vainest) of cities, the scrutiny can be particularly fierce. And now, with childhood obesity in the news, fat-phobic New York parents are trying on their children—even toddlers—the same trendy diets, workout sessions, and pricey nutritionists that worked for them. They’re battling schools over carbs in the cafeteria, doctors over how much baby fat is healthy, and those most intractable of diet-busters: genes.

In 1983, Naomi Wolf was a Yale senior and Harold Bloom was the eminent scholar charged with critiquing her poetry. What transpired instead was a sexual advance that Wolf rebuffed, but kept quiet about. Twenty years later, troubled by her own complicity in a system that rewarded silence, she approached Yale to find out whether the university's record of dealing with sexual misconduct on campus had improved. What she discovered troubled her even more.

What Goes Up . . .

What depression was to the nineties, mild bipolar disorder—with an expanding diagnostic category and a new drug to treat it—may be to this decade. In fact, many patients diagnosed with unipolar depression are being re-diagnosed, since depression drugs can actually bring on the disorder. But when do life’s peaks and valleys verge into pathology? One woman’s exploration.

Cover Story
Martha and Friends

The Martha Stewart trial brought into focus the nuances of relationships in New York in our time. Kurt Andersen views the case as a serial saga of friendships, betrayals, and conflicted loyalties worthy of a nineteenth-century novel.

Cover Story
Best of New York 2004

One of the things that makes this city so great—and so vibrant, and so frustrating—is its compulsion to re-create itself overnight. Pawnshops become florists that become A-list nightclubs with lines around the block—and even the most plugged-in New Yorker can have trouble keeping up. With our annual “Best of New York” issue, we make the selections so you won’t have to. Plus, in the interest of balance, some of the most overrated, as well.

Cover Story
Miracle on Second Avenue

After more than 80 years of conflicts and delays, the Second Avenue subway seemed an urban myth. Now insiders say the MTA could break ground as early as next year and change the face of the city forever.

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