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Table of Contents

January 31, 2011 Issue

Cover Story

The West Wing, Season II

In a few short months, Barack Obama overhauled his presidency. To correct his course, he had to look hard at himself and confront the possibility that the source of many of his difficulties was the man in the gilded mirror. By John Heilemann
On the Cover: Photo: Polaris


Travis the Menace

He was the most famous ape in America. But to really understand a chimp, you have to know his mother.

“If I Can’t Trust Donald Trump, Who Can I Trust?”

The Donald has a new scheme. Seller beware.


Quiet Riot

Our interns hit the rails to survey 100 quiet-car passengers about commuting etiquette.

Tiger Mothers in Training

To judge from the backlash, lots of American parents find Amy Chua horrifying.

The Downside of Forgiveness

So now we’re also being too soft on our partners?

The Neighborhood News

Our roundup of news from around the city.

The Geek Gap

Bubblicious tech scene faces HR problem. (Yes, there is probably a Tiger Mom angle here, too.)

57 Minutes With Melissa Leo

The Fighter’s steely scene-stealer makes the most of her second spin through awards season.


Best Bets

A vintage-blanket-upholstered armchair, meet Top Hat owner Nina Allen, and more.

The Look Book

"She cries in the snow."

Come Here Often?

Even the gutters sparkle.

The Restaurant Review

At Shea Gallante’s Ciano, the cooking is opulent, accomplished, and, yes, expensive.

In Season

If you’re like us, you’re always mixing up your persimmons.

What to Eat at Mable’s Smokehouse, Opening Tuesday

Borracho beans, Rotel-Velveeta dip, Luzianne sweet tea, and, of course, pie.

Jody Williams Goes French

Her French-inspired gastroteque, Buvette, is a place where people meet for casual food and drink any time of day.

The Brindle Room to Serve Doughnuts Made Out of Mashed Potatoes

Wonder City Coffee & Donuts will debut in the restaurant's dining room next week.

Chef on the Grill: Nate Smith

Does Brooklyn finally have its own Spotted Pig?

The Pied-à-Terre Downstairs

Who needs two second homes in a single apartment building?


Nobody’s Perfect

Darren Aronofsky, director of arty frightfest Black Swan, has had his own battles with letting go.

The Architecture Review

The Museum of the Moving Image gets a lofty new wing.

The Movie Review

Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher get set up by Hollywood.

The Art Review

With “Singular Visions,” the Whitney offers a show of rare intimacy.

The Pop Music Review

I knew I would like the oddball indie band Destroyer. Which is exactly why I avoided it.

Is This Book Worth Getting?

A no-frills guide to the new biographies-and-letters shelf.


Comments: Week of January 31, 2011

Readers sound off on New York's greatest building ever, the greatest New York art, and more.

The Approval Matrix: Week of January 31, 2011

Our deliberately oversimplified guide to who falls where on our taste hierarchies.

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