Get Happy

April 7, 2013
On West 113th Street, on a hill in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood, the former convent of the Community of the Holy Spirit is undergoing construction. Men in soiled boots and orange hats move in and out of the jungle gym of scaffolding that encloses the brownstone. Behind the black construction fabric, I make out the »

The Kids in the Gray Flannel Suits

January 28, 2013
America, preview your future: a classroom door swings open into a quiet hallway, and students in black business attire file out with purpose. They hold clipboards, laptops and leather-bound notebooks. They can speak with authority, command a wide array of knowledge and, even at this precocious stage, conduct politics with art. For the annual “Grand »

The Garden in the Desert

November 27, 2012
Stacy Spell reaches into a tangle of tomato vines and broccoli stalks and pulls out what looks like a sunken brown baseball. “Cantaloupe!” he exclaims. He cuts open the shell with a pocketknife, revealing the fruit’s orange flesh, then holds out the cantaloupe so I can take a closer look. “It’s a volunteer,” he says, »