Laurie Sperring’s Staten Island nightmare.
New York Times
Those who survived tell the story of twenty three ISIS hostages’ shared months of brutal captivity before some were ransomed and some executed.
A Jamaican cricket legend bowls in Brooklyn.
How a Canadian used a Mohawk reservation’s lakes to smuggle tons of marijuana to stash houses in Brooklyn and Staten Island, resulting in nearly a billion in profits, which he laundered through the Sinaloa Cartel.
On the cult founder, business magnate, pseudonymous internationally shown artist and ferry owner Yoo Byung-eun, who was found dead in the brush amidst empty liquor bottles.
An investigation into how Rikers Island guards treat the roughly 4,000 inmates who are mentally ill.
A rookie firefighter confronts his first test.
Previously: The Longform Guide to Fire.
Inside the lack of an investigation into Florida State Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
Robert Aaron was a veteran horn player who sold bags of heroin to friends to support his own habit. Then his friend Philip Seymour Hoffman overdosed.
For decades, dozens of men with intellectual disabilities lived in an old schoolhouse and did gruesome work in a turkey plant for subminimum wage. No one noticed.
To his friends and family, Ross Ulbricht was a compassionate, warm soul known for random acts of kindness. To the F.B.I., he was Dread Pirate Roberts, the mastermind behind the Silk Road who was willing to order hits to protect his black market operation.
Investigating the murky reality behind the attack in Libya.
There are more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression. This is one of their stories.
A recent history of ‘bupe’ Suboxone film, which is described as a miracle cure for opiate addiction but flows freely from for-profit clinics to dealers and inmates, sometimes melted into the pages of smuggled Bibles.
How to get Americans to “pay $45 to $75 to run for their lives from 1,500-pound, bad-tempered beasts.”
Inside the N.S.A.’s mission to spy on just about everyone.
What did soccer have to do with two brutal murders after a pickup game?
In the shallow reefs of Ayungin Shoal sits a rusted-out ship manned by eight Filipino soldiers whole sole purpose is to keep China in check.
The bumpy ride from St. Petersburg and Moscow, through a Russia slipping back into the 19th century.
On the online mug shot industry, which posts mug shots of anyone arrested (regardless of conviction) and charges $30 to $400 to have the photo removed.
Charlie Rowan was a small-time cage fighter who couldn’t catch a break. He owed money to impatient people and needed to start over. Late one night, he came up with a plan.
What happens when a pacemaker outlives the brain.
A profile of Russell Baze, the winningest jockey in American history.
How Goldman Sachs made $5 billion by controlling supply and manipulating the aluminum market.
"I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z."
During New York’s ’80s and ’90s crack epedemic, a flashy detective who “imagined himself a crusader who created his own rules” and his star witness, a crack addicted prostitute who seemed to constantly be at the scene of homicides, sent dozens of men to prison for life. Now, they are under investigation.
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling needed funding for his ambitious video-game startup. Rhode Island politicians needed jobs and a vision for how to transform the state’s beleaguered economy. The story of a $75 million bet gone bust.
The origin story of the C.I.A.’s covert drone war, which began with the 2004 killing of a Pashtun militant, the result of a secret deal for access to Pakistani airspace.
The story of Tim Danielson, one of America’s top high school distance runners, who went on to murder his ex-wife.
On the legal and practical details of the drone strikes that killed New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki and later, accidentally, his sixteen-year-old Colorado-born son.
Searching for answers 40 years after a Brooklyn man threw acid in the face of his 4-year-old neighbor.
On the Connecticut priest who dealt methamphetamine from his church and ran a sex ring from his apartment.
“‘If there’s anything I can do to make your trip more enjoyable, let me know.” He walked away, then he strode back to Cree 15 seconds later and whispered, making eye contact, “Anything.’”
A profile of former Duke basketball star Jay Williams a decade after the motorcycle crash that ended his career.
The paper reports on a battle of its own.
After a 19-year-old is convicted of murdering his girlfriend, her family fights to free him from prison.
How John Kiriakou, a public opponent of US torture policy, became the first CIA officer convicted of leaking classified information to the press.
The story of three friends from Texas and the obstacles they face trying to get a college degree in an age of economic inequality.
A rape case in which most of the evidence lies in the archives of Twitter and Instagram divides a football-crazed town of 18,400.
A nationally respected neurologist feeds secrets to Wall Street.
A prolific fundraiser and dean at St. John’s University, Cecilia Chang was also accused of murdering her husband and had connections to organized crime. Two days after she was convicted of stealing more than $1 million from the schoool, she took her own life.
The human lives lost in exchange for cheaper goods.
“Suddenly, he had to ask for help with buttons, zippers and shoelaces. And he loathes asking for help.”
The gamblers and teenage cons who haunted New York City’s 60s-era all night bowling alleys.
“His seeming ease belies the anxiety and emotion that advisers say he brings to his historic position: pride in what he has accomplished, determination to acquit himself well and intense frustration.”
On Queens’ stubbornly unchanging Roosevelt Avenue, where immigrants pay $2 a song to grind against hired dancers and shuttered houses of prostitution have given way to rolling brothel-vans.
For the first time, the giants of the tech industry are spending more on creating, buying, and fighting patents than they are on R&D.Part of New York Times' ongoing iEconomy series.
Inside the business of manufacturing online product reviews.
A profile of the Aurora shooter.
A profile of Salvatore Strazzullo, who represents celebrities, whether major or minor, who get themselves in trouble in Manhattan after dark.
How the self-proclaimed “inventor of all things streaming” went from dot-com millionaire to crime ring accomplice.
The emotional toll on drone pilots.
“Calça de veludo ou bunda de fora.” Why Neymar, one of the world’s best talents hasn’t taken the money and run.
A congressional hearing exposes the hypocrisy of American superiority.
"So that’s where you need these cheap inflation dollars so everybody can pay everybody back, right? See we had this neat idea of this here trickle down theory only it didn’t work out so good, I mean it all like got stuck at the top where 15 years ago this richest 1 percent of the nation held 27 percent of the wealth now they’ve got almost 36 percent, I mean it mostly like trickled up. And see where the Administration’s goal was to end inflation it worked so good that this sudden massive collapse of it brought these terrific budget deficits so like now we’re this world’s biggest debtor nation where if these here Japanese weren’t like buying $60 billion in Treasury bonds a year we couldn’t hardly pay the gas bill, right?"
On life in Los Angeles, and the specter of a second riot.
A look at Apple stores, where jobs are high stress, with low pay and little opportunity for advancement.
During World War II, a young soldier gives a dance lesson to General Eisenhower.
"The two MPs walked him to the door, which opened as they reached it, and a dapper-looking lieutenant asked Kelly to come in and have a drink. He said that his name was Lieutenant Mason, and that he was General Eisenhower’s aide-de-camp. The MPs noted carefully the look on Kelly’s face. They went away with their chins clenched in an effort to suppress belly laughter."
On the Mexican drug cartel accused of laundering money with race horses.
She was a thirteen-year-old from the Chabad Lubavitch community who would dip into a barbershop bathroom to swap her orthodox clothes for those of a streetwalker. Her pimping and rape allegations against a group of black men in their twenties, repeatedly recanted and then reaffirmed, would send the D.A.’s office into disarray.
The search for a missing ultramarathoner in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness, and the life that lead him there.
The tables have been turned – brutally – on Qaddafi loyalists.
The author tracked down “the other” Alan – Alan Z. Feuer – for a story last year. After the other Alan’s death, however, the author learns the truth about the society man’s humble past.
He is a cheerful old farmer who jokes as he serves rice cakes made by his wife, and then he switches easily to explaining what it is like to cut open a 30-year-old man who is tied naked to a bed and dissect him alive, without anesthetic.
An investigative look at the killing of Trayvon Martin.
At 2:11 p.m., as two ambulances waited with motors running, 10 horses burst from the starting gate at Ruidoso Downs Race Track 6,900 feet up in New Mexico’s Sacramento Mountains.Nineteen seconds later, under a brilliant blue sky, a national champion jockey named Jacky Martin lay sprawled in the furrowed dirt just past the finish line, paralyzed, his neck broken in three places. On the ground next to him, his frightened horse, leg broken and chest heaving, was minutes away from being euthanized on the track. For finishing fourth on this early September day last year, Jacky Martin got about $60 and possibly a lifetime tethered to a respirator.
From a small Ohio town to Afghanistan, a portrait of the perpetrator of a massacre.
On prisoners with Alzheimer’s disease and their incarcerated caretakers.
The stories of a record-setting chain of transplants.
The story of Olympic boxing hopeful Quanitta Underwood, who was sexually abused by her father as a child.
“We’re trying really hard to make things better,” said one former Apple executive. “But most people would still be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from.”
Previously: ”Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class”
How the U.S. lost out on iPhone work.
As the critic Lewis Mumford wrote half a century ago, “The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is the right to destroy the city.” Yet we continue to produce parking lots, in cities as well as in suburbs, in the same way we consume all those billions of plastic bottles of water and disposable diapers.
After a Chinese immigrant couple were charged in their daughter’s death, supporters say they’re vulnerable targets of the American justice system.
On “If You Are the One”, the smash hit Chinese dating show that raised the ire of censors.
Paul Auster does his usual blend of fiction and memoir in a recounted Christmas story.
"I spent the next several days in despair, warring with the ghosts of Dickens, O.Henry and other masters of the Yuletide spirit. The very phrase "Christmas story" had unpleasant associations for me, evoking dreadful outpourings of hypocritical mush and treacle. Even at their best, Christmas stories were no more than wish-fulfillment dreams, fairy tales for adults, and I'd be damned if I'd ever allowed myself to write something like that. And yet, how could anyone propose to write an unsentimental Christmas story? It was a contradiction in terms, an impossibility, an out-and-out conundrum. One might just as well imagine a racehorse without legs, or a sparrow without wings."
From a childhood in the Kremlin to a trip to New Delhi carrying the ashes of her Indian Communist lover, defection at the U.S. Embassy… “finally to decades of obscurity, wandering and poverty.”
Tom Wicker was without a notebook on November 22, 1963. Instead, reported Gay Talese, he “scribbled his observations and facts across the back of a mimeographed itinerary of Kennedy’s two-day tour of Texas.”
Here’s the 3,700-word masterpiece he filed.
Billy Joe Frazier was born on Jan. 12, 1944, in Laurel Bay, S.C., the youngest of 12 children. His father, Rubin, and his mother, Dolly, worked in the fields, and the youngster known as Billy Boy dropped out of school at 13. He dreamed of becoming a boxing champion, throwing his first punches at burlap sacks he stuffed with moss and leaves, pretending to be Joe Louis or Ezzard Charles or Archie Moore.
This is what I learned: he was working at this, too. Death didn’t happen to Steve, he achieved it.
Recently discharged, an undocumented immigrant discusses his treatment.
In a city with a large immigrant population, it is not rare for hospitals to have one or more patients who, for reasons unrelated to their medical condition, do not seem to leave. At Downtown, where a bed costs the hospital more than $2,000 a day, there are currently three long-term patients who no longer need acute care but cannot be discharged because they have nowhere to go. The hospital pays nearly all costs for these patients’ treatment. One man left recently after a stay of more than five years.
The Haqqani family, an organized crime militia dubbed the “Sopranos of the Afghanistan war,” will almost surely outlast the U.S. occupation and thus seize tremendous power after the U.S. exits.
Portrait of a Chinese-American family living in New York.
N.K.: So when you saw the photo of Neda Soltan, what did you think? M.A.: It was incredibly sad, due to many reasons. First we have proof that that scene was staged, and she was killed later, at a later point. This footage was shown for the first time by BBC. Our security officers and officials had no information of such a thing. but if BBC makes the complete footage from beginning to end available to us, we will analyze it, we will research it because we do search for those who are truly guilty of murdering this young lady. And also, a scene fairly close to this—almost a photocopy I would say—was repeated previously in a South American country—in a Latin American country. this is not a new scene. And they previously tell those who are due to participate, they tell them that “you will be participating in making a short footage, a short movie, a short clip.” After their participation is finished they take them to some place and they kill them. If BBC is willing to broadcast this film, this footage in its entirety, any viewer would be able to distinguish whether it is as we say or it is as they maintain.
The aftermath of a revolution:
Amid all the chaos of Libya’s transition from war to peace, one remarkable theme stood out: the relative absence of revenge. Despite the atrocities carried out by Qaddafi’s forces in the final months and even days, I heard very few reports of retaliatory killings. Once, as I watched a wounded Qaddafi soldier being brought into a hospital on a gurney, a rebel walked past and smacked him on the head. Instantly, the rebel standing next to me apologized. My Libyan fixer told me in late August that he had found the man who tortured him in prison a few weeks earlier. The torturer was now himself in a rebel prison. “I gave him a coffee and a cigarette,” he said. “We have all seen what happened in Iraq.” That restraint was easy to admire.
On being gay in the military, three years before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:
A vast majority of those interviewed had been interrogated at least once, and what they described was nearly the same. They said those under suspicion of homosexuality suffer bright lights in their eyes and sometimes handcuffs on their wrists, warnings that their parents will be informed or their hometown newspapers called, threats that their stripes will be torn off and they will pushed through the gates of the base before a jeering crowd.
A year with an autistic 20-year-old.
A blow-by-blow account of Howard Unruh’s slow, deadly walk through Camden, New Jersey – written in two and a half hours:
James J. Hutton, 45, an insurance agent from Westmont, N.J., started out of the drug shop to see what the shooting was about. Like so many others he had figured at first that it was some car backfiring. He came face to face with Unruh. Unruh said quietly, “Excuse me, sir,” and started to push past him. Later, Unruh told the police: “That man didn’t act fast enough. He didn’t get out of my way.”
On September 11, 2001, three out of every four people who worked for Howard Lutnick died. The story of a recovery.
It smells of truck exhaust and fish guts. Of glistening skipjacks and smoldering cigarettes; fluke, salmon and Joe Tuna's cigar. Of Canada, Florida, and the squid-ink East River. Of funny fish-talk riffs that end with profanities spat onto the mucky pavement, there to mix with coffee spills, beer blessings, and the flowing melt of sea-scented ice. This fragrance of fish and man pinpoints one place in the New York vastness: a small stretch of South Street where peddlers have sung the song of the catch since at least 1831, while all around them, change. They were hawking fish here when an ale house called McSorley's opened up; when a presidential aspirant named Lincoln spoke at Cooper Union; when the building of a bridge to Brooklyn ruined their upriver view.
A profile of David Yerushalmi, the little-known Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn leading the campaign casting Islamic law as the greatest threat to American freedom since the cold war.
Over the last several weeks, dozens of lawmakers, strategists and advocates described the closed-door meetings and tactical decisions that led to approval of same-sex marriage in New York, about two years after it was rejected by the Legislature. This account is based on those interviews, most of which were granted on the condition of anonymity to describe conversations that were intended to be confidential.
A schizophrenic man kills his counselor at a group home in Massachusetts:
Many people wondered aloud whether the system had failed both the suspect and the victim. How had Ms. Moulton ended up alone in a home with a psychotic man who had a history of violence and was off his medication? How had Mr. Chappell been allowed to deteriorate without setting off alarms?
A brutal story from the Times’ cub Metro reporter:
''We're dying,'' he said. ''Why is this happening? Is it because we loved each other too much or not enough?"
Since being revealed as a CIA operative and selling Blackwater, Erik Prince has set to work building U.A.E. a mercenary army, made up heavily of Colombian and South African troops, to be used “if the Emirates faced unrest or were challenged by pro-democracy demonstrations in its crowded labor camps or democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.”
Bernard Peters and his son, Scott, robbed and shot a Salvation Army worker in 1996. Since then, they’ve been sharing a cell at Elmira Correctional Facility.
At times, Mr. Hsieh comes across as an alien who has studied human beings in order to live among them.
A profile of the Zappos CEO.
On the mysterious relationship between a major New York State power broker and a Brooklyn family. “The Turanos are variously described by friends, neighbors and colleagues as the senator’s social acquaintances, lovers or surrogate relatives.”
How J.C. Penney gamed Google and became the top result for searches on everything from “area rugs” to “skinny jeans.”
How the Taliban reestablished itself as both a “quasi government” and a military force, and what that success means for the Pentagon’s plan to pass responsibility to Afghan forces by 2014.
On the cloak and dagger dealings between The New York Times and WikiLeaks. Adapted from Executive Editor Bill Keller’s forthcoming ebook, Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy: Complete and Updated Coverage from The New York Times.
The transfiguration of Jared Loughner.
The Wikileaks-released documents regarding the polonium-poisoning assassination of Alexander V. Litvinenko speak to the potential involvement of both British and Russian security agencies and hint at the disappearance of a plane that bore evidence of the transport of polonium.
A profile of the late artist and author Norris Church Mailer, who stayed with her husband Norman despite his notorious philandering.
DecorMyEyes is a online eyewear store with an unusual business plan; the owner harasses and intimidates customers who complain in order to get negative reviews posted across the web, in turn making his website more visible to Google searchers.
The latest WikiLeaks unveiling has exposed more than 250,000 sensitive messages from American diplomats. Among the revelations: the plan for a unified Korea, the Chinese government’s hacking strategy, and negotiations with countries for housing Gitmo detainees.
In an elaborate FBI sting to expose corruption, four agents pose as futures traders in Chicago. The plan works–if you don’t count the hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars the agents lost in the process.
A 13 year old gets a webcam and starts doing dirty shows online, ending up running a smut business in Mexico with his deadbeat father.
The New York Times reveals the deception of 27-year-old reporter Jayson Blair.
Selections from the leaked documents about the war in Afghanistan portray a military effort that is ineffective and frequently absurd. (Part of the NYT War Logs series.)
An emerging school of therapy says that scripting your dreams while awake could eliminate the worst ones. Not everyone thinks that’s healthy.
Vignettes of the residents of South Elliot Place.
In January 1966–the same month In Cold Blood was first published–Truman Capote sat down with George Plimpton to discuss the new art form he liked to call “creative journalism.”
Admiring evangelicals are helping David Berkowitz, the imprisoned serial killer who murdered six people in NYC during the summer of 1977, with an unusual image makeover.
A interview with David Mitchell, author of the recent The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Cloud Atlas, on stretching a fictional universe across multiple novels and centuries of real history.
Race relations at the gigantic and soul-crushing Smithfield slaughterhouse, where annual turnover is 100 percent: 5,000 people are hired, 5,000 quit.
Through a series of interviews and historical inquiries, Errol Morris dissects Anosognosia, ”a condition in which a person who suffers from a disability seems unaware of or denies the existence of his or her disability.”
April Savino, a teenage homeless runaway, lived in Grand Central Terminal from 1984 until 1987 when she committed suicide on the steps of a nearby church.
Jung’s ‘Red Book’, a secret journal of dreams and drawings, has been in a Swiss vault for the better part of a century. The burden of its care has fallen on his descendants, who have reluctantly allowed it to be published.
Inside the twisted, half-conscious world of Jure Robic, the Slovene soldier who might be the world’s best ultra-endurance athlete.
Karaoke renditions of ‘My Way’ have led to murders in the Phillipines.
Using several email addresses and a lot of exclamation points, teenager Jonathan Lebed worked finance message boards in the morning before school and made almost a million bucks. Then he made the head of the S.E.C. look like a fool.
How Indians with the surname Patel came to own 1/3 of the motels in America.
Recently, African Elephants have been killing people, raping rhinos, and exhibiting uncharacteristically aggressive behavior. An investigation reveals deep similarities between elephants’ and humans’ reaction to childhood trauma.
Rudy Giuliani’s crackdown on the New York City sex industry was supposed to be a cornerstone of his legacy. Then smut shops and strip clubs read the ordinance’s fine print.
Paul Krugman breaks down the basics of climate change economics, from Arthur Cecil Pigou to Capitol Hill.
David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, has written a new Obama biography expected to be a best-seller. His frugal streak has kept his staff intact. And yet, after a dozen years, he’s still the new guy at Condé Nast.
For Gangaram Mahes, Rikers Island was the only chance for three squares and a “decent life.” So Mahes committed the same crime 31 straight times: refusing to pay the check at New York City restaurants.