This year, Ariel Palitz was appointed as the senior executive director of New York City’s Office of Nightlife, the city’s first. In New York, the idea was championed by a city councilman who saw some of his favorite bars and smaller music venues close, and others receiving little help when threatened by rising rents or trouble complying with city codes. Palitz describes herself as a liaison between the city agencies, nightlife businesses, owners, residents, employees, patrons, and entertainers. Her colleagues call her the night mayor.
Jill Lepore’s new history of America comes at a time when many readers will have a nagging sense of living through a historical moment themselves, whatever that means (the details somehow “organic to the period” yet still lost to us). It also arrives as the raw materials of history seem to be losing their hold. “The era of the fact,” Lepore wrote in The New Yorker two years ago, “is coming to an end.”
The first enslaved African in Massachusetts was the property of the schoolmaster of Harvard. Yale funded its first graduate-level courses and its first scholarship with the rents from a small slave plantation it owned in Rhode Island. The scholarship’s first recipient went on to found Dartmouth, and a later grantee co-founded the College of New Jersey, known today as Princeton. From their very beginnings, the American university and American slavery have been intertwined, but only recently are we beginning to understand how deeply.