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Sam Roberts
Sam Roberts, urban affairs correspondent of The New York Times, is the author of “A History of New York in 101 Objects” just published by Simon and Schuster.

Entries by Sam Roberts

With N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi, John Sexton Pays Tribute to His Mentor

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 10:54 AM

It's no coincidence that New York University's pristine Abu Dhabi campus mirrors the demographic diversity of a New York City subway car. But ask the nearly 900 or so students representing more than 100 nationalities for the one proper noun that encapsulates the school's mission and they'll typically reply in...

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A Look Back as NY Mayoralty Marks 350 Years

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 10:05 AM

Don't take it personally if you didn't get your invite yet to the June 12 anniversary party at City Hall. It's another historic New York benchmark that will be largely overlooked in a city where the past typically takes a back seat in the frenzy to capitalize on the present...

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The Vultures of Albany, Past and Present

(1) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 11:22 AM

Here's how a young New York State Assemblyman from Manhattan described his colleagues in Albany:

One, he said, was "entirely unprincipled, and with the same idea of public life and the civil service that a vulture has of a dead sheep." Another's "intellectual capacity about equals that of an average...

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The Moxie of Rosie Ruiz, New York Marathon Runner

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2014 | 4:26 PM

Nearly a million runners have competed in the Marathon since 1970 when only 127 looped around Central Park (55 of them finished) in the first of the 43 races, so I was momentarily stumped while searching for a single object that epitomized this egalitarian spectacle that galvanizes New York.


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"The Brother" Who Sent the Rosenbergs to Their Death

(35) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 7:32 PM

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs," Sylvia Plath began "The Bell Jar." My sixth birthday was sandwiched between their execution at Sing Sing on Friday night, June 19, 1953, and their funeral that Sunday morning. The somber procession passed by our block in Brownsville,...

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Embracing New York's History, Through Objects

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 12:49 PM

A few years ago, after agreeing to write a book celebrating the centennial of Grand Central Terminal, I casually suggested an audacious but catchy subtitle: "How a Train Station Transformed America." Almost immediately, I was struck by second thoughts: Individuals and events shape history. Could a single building?

Luckily, Grand...

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The Rosenberg Fund for Children's "Constructive Revenge"

(3) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 1:24 PM

Sixty years after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for conspiracy to commit espionage, the New York City Council is mulling a resolution stating that they should not have been put to death.

The resolution, drafted by Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, a Lower Manhattan Democrat, expresses "the shared belief" that the...

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The Toughest Job in America

(3) Comments | Posted June 30, 2010 | 7:23 PM

Who was really "America's Mayor," Rudy Giuliani or John V. Lindsay?

Each could stake a credible claim to that rubric, which was the title of a book by Rob Polner in 2005 about Giuliani and of one that I just edited on Lindsay for the Museum of the City...

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