Jerry Adler

Stories by Jerry Adler

  • Rites Of Comfort

    She was returning home from business in New York, and scheduled to fly to San Francisco aboard United Airlines Flight 93, leaving at 8 a.m. But on the night of Sept. 10, Donna Garton couldn't sleep; she'd just gotten the unsettling news that her best friend's breast cancer had spread. So at 5:30 in the morning on September 11 she got dressed and headed to Newark, where she found a seat on a flight leaving at 7 a.m. instead. And that is why, after Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, she was so happy to wake up at all the next morning--even if it was in Denver, on her way home in a rental car with three strangers whose flights had also landed unexpectedly in Lincoln, Neb. Now, two months later, she finds herself staring at the calendar at a word whose simple English constituents suddenly strike her with the force of revelation: Thanks. Giving. Garton, who has a busy career as a development officer at Stanford University, had been planning a dinner just with her husband and three...
  • Remembering Terror, 1988

    On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am flight 103, a 747 bound from London to New York, exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground. Until this year, it was the deadliest terror attack ever on American civilians. But the United States didn't declare "war" on terrorism--or on Syria and Iran, which were widely suspected of masterminding the operation, or on Libya, which almost certainly carried it out. Instead, the government treated it as a criminal case. The only people charged with the murders were two midlevel Libyan intelligence agents, who finally came to trial in the Netherlands last year. One was convicted; the other went free. For many of the families of the victims, the lack of a serious American response to the bombing of Pan Am 103 felt like a betrayal by their own government. Their demand to hold someone accountable for the murders led them to the radical step of suing Libya in American courts, setting a precedent for the use of legal remedies...
  • Shooting To The End

    Bill Biggart walked two miles from his apartment near Union Square to reach Ground Zero on the morning of the attack, taking pictures along the way, and he went about 100 feet too far. Other photographers were almost as close to the Twin Towers that morning, but Biggart--who disdained the telephoto lens as a device best suited to taking pictures of Jennifer Lopez sunbathing--felt the need to get closer than any of them. As a photojournalist Biggart was drawn to conflict, but the best pictures he brought back were of faces--grinning Israeli soldiers and exuberant Palestinian youths, shot from so close that his wife, Wendy Doremus, didn't dare ask for details of his trips until he was safely back in New York. And from the site of the most recent horror, which struck almost with-in sight of his windows, he would have brought back faces, too, if he had returned himself. Instead, the 300-odd photographs he took that morning with his three cameras--two film, one digital--were buried along...
  • Hitting Home

    You could draw an emotional contour map of the New York region last week, and put shock at its center, in the still-smoldering ruins that tenaciously refused to yield up their myriad dead. Beyond that, a band of fear among the people who live and work in the city itself, which (as they have just discovered) is what military planners call a "target-rich environment." And then, farther still, where on a clear day the Twin Towers were thumb-size bumps on the horizon, a circle shaded by grief in the suburban towns of New Jersey, Westchester and Long Island, on the streets where the flags are the thickest, in the houses with pictures of the missing taped to the windows. This is where many of the corpses now buried in the rubble lived.Stretching east on Long Island, from the border with Queens halfway to the Hamptons, is a jumble of suburbs whose borders are so unmemorable residents sometimes just describe their hometowns as a certain exit number on the Long Island Expressway. Here, many...
  • Connecting In New York

    At 8:55 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, Andrea Popovich, 24, had her last cynical thought for the year. As she emerged from a subway station near her office in downtown Manhattan, she saw a crowd gaping up at the sky. A woman appeared to be praying, and Popovich, with the generous spirit that characterizes New Yorkers who find someone blocking their path to work, thought to herself, what now? A cloud in the shape of Jesus? Then she turned around and looked up.At that moment the sky was filling, invisibly, with phone calls from people trapped in the burning tower. At first the messages were reassuring. "Mom, don't worry," Joyce Carpeneto said in a message left on her mother's answering machine at 9 a.m. "A plane hit the World Trade Center. We are going to evacuate the building. Now pray for us." A half hour later, Daniel Lopez called home and left a message for his wife, Elizabeth: "Hi, hon. I'm OK. There was an explosion. I made it to the 78th floor. I'm helping people to get out. I'll...
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    Ground Zero

    The bombing rippled out to touch all New Yorkers, who responded with bravery, generosity and a deep sense of community. How the city's longest day brought forth its finest hour.
  • Arthritis: What It Is, Why You Get It, And How To Stop The Pain

    Twenty-One Million Americans Suffer From This Potentially Crippling Disease And Account For 7 Million Doctor Visits Each Year. Yet With New Warnings Out About The Best Available Pain Relief, Treating It Is More Complicated Than Ever.
  • So, You Want To Open A Restaurant?

    At the age of 22, Geoffrey Zakarian, who had grown up and gone to college in Worcester, Mass., went to live for a few months near Monte Carlo, where he was researching a thesis on urban development. He took a room in a French town where every corner had a pastry shop with seven different kinds of frangipane tart and where the average lunch lasted as long as Easter services in Worcester. Zakarian loved food, but he had always thought of it as what your mother put on the table at 5:30. Suddenly he saw it in a new light. He envisioned himself as the owner of a stylish restaurant, greeting beautiful women and important men coming to eat his food. Back at home, he announced to his conservative Polish-Armenian family that he had decided to become a chef. ...
  • This Bulb's For You

    Although he grows 87 varieties of garlic on his tiny farm in Sonoma County, Calif., Chester Aaron would readily concede that nobody needs that many different kinds to eat. He himself can identify no more than eight or 10 garlics by taste, and when he exhibits at food shows or fairs, he puts out just three or four--some Creole Red, for its sweet, earthy flavor; a little Asian Tempest, for gum-scorching heat; a few heads of Spanish Roja, with a robust garlic flavor that fills the mouth and everything else between the toes and the scalp. Even so, the same people who insist on extra-virgin Umbrian olive oil in numbered bottles sometimes find it hard to believe they should bother tasting anything as banal as garlic."This is a scam," one woman, a well-known food writer and critic, once announced to Aaron at a Washington, D.C., food fair. "Garlic is garlic."Aaron mashed a little Asian Tempest into a bowl of hummus and fed it to her on a cracker. She gasped in astonishment, mingled with...
  • More On Birds And Dinosaurs

    How small can a dinosaur be? Until now, the answer was, about as big as a medium-size dog--the size of a velociraptor, the swift, ferocious predators that haunt the nightmares of modern humans who saw "Jurassic Park." But last week, in the journal Nature, three Chinese paleontologists reported finding a new species of theropod (the suborder of upright-walking carnivores that includes velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus) that was very much smaller--about 15 inches long, or roughly the size of a modern crow. "For a dinosaur, Microraptor zhaoianus is a very small dinosaur," says Luis Chiappe, head of vertebrate paleontology at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.And a potentially important one, because the specimen may shed light on one of the hottest topics in paleontology, the evolutionary transformation of dinosaurs into birds. By coincidence, a different Chinese team reported in Science last week the discovery of a bird from the Early Cretaceous, Protopteryx fengningensis,...
  • And They're Off!

    Somewhere amid the endless opening procession of fruit-colored blazers, beaming under their hats, were the faces we will get to know so well over the coming days and weeks: the hard-bodied sprinter squeezing out the last few hundredths of a second standing between the human race and the practical limits of two-legged propulsion; the ponytailed gamine who can hurl herself spinning and tumbling into the air and land with the authority of a jackknife stuck in a pine plank; the lithe swimmer with the easy smile and the golden California sun in her hair. Soon the pedestrian hordes of officials and also-rans will fall away and they will stand revealed to us, the fruit of our youth, bedecked with all the swooshes and milk mustaches their grateful nations can bestow. Australian swimming phenom Ian Thorpe solidified his hold on his countrymen with two gold medals and two world records in the first full day of competition. America settled for a silver medal in the men's 4 x 100 relays, but...
  • An American Epidemic: Diabetes

    The Silent Killer: Scientific Research Shows A 'Persistent Explosion' Of Cases--Especially Among Those In Their Prime
  • Management A La Trotter

    Would you like Charlie Trotter to be your cabdriver? Of course you would. If Charlie Trotter, the famously perfectionist Chicago chef, drove a cab, its door handles would gleam like polished flatware, and if you weren't satisfied with your ride, he'd offer to drive you somewhere else, gratis. "It would be so easy to say, 'Hi, how're you doing?' " he mused recently, apropos of his favorite topic: why the rest of the world should be more like Charlie Trotter's restaurant. "'Where can I take you today? Do you have a preferred route?'" So of course you'd want Charlie Trotter as your cabdriver--even if, based on the prices in his restaurant, a ride to Chicago from O'Hare might set you back $175 before tax and tip.Is that any way to run a business? A surprising number of people seem to think so, and Trotter has transformed himself into a new archetype: chef as management guru. He has lectured to business classes at Northwestern and the University of Chicago. Last year Ten Speed Press...
  • The Cook-And-Tell Chef

    He is imposingly tall, and lanky, towering over his crew of Mexican and South American cooks even without the white toque he disdains as effete and prone to catch fire. His hands are strong and his fingers exceptionally long, splayed and knobby-jointed. What you don't see, at first, are the calluses and scars, the little missing pieces that more than a quarter century of working with knives and red-hot sizzle platters and bubbling vats of molten fat got sliced or burned away and never quite grew back -- possibly because instead of seeing a doctor, he just covered the wound with towels and kept on working. Nor do you see the toll taken by 25 years of 14-hour days or the drugs he took to get through the days or the drugs he took to unwind when the days finally ended at 11 or midnight. And the feet. Don't even ask about the feet.In the annals of chef memoirs, "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain is unique, and not only because he fails to provide a single recipe. Bourdain claims...
  • Living Canvas

    Great artistic movements begin in rebellion, and end up in museums. Along the way, there is typically an inflection point, a paradigm shift when the response they elicit changes from shock and outrage to "ummm... is this the only color it comes in?" Michael McCabe has tattoos on both arms down to his wrists; he has written about tattoos and been a tattoo artist for 20 years, during most of which time it was illegal in New York City. So he could appreciate how far the art has come, as he circulated among fashion models, socialites, art-world figures, bikers and interested dermatologists at the opening of "Body Art: Marks of Identity"--a new show at the American Museum of Natural History that may legitimize tattoos and nose rings the way the Armory Show of 1913 did for modern art.On the one hand, McCabe has nostalgia for the days when tattoos were still the badge of the hip and the outlaw, not something a housewife might get to celebrate losing 20 pounds. On the other hand, he can...
  • Bill's Next Move

    For those who believe that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is destined not only to rule the world but to own everything in it, last week unfolded pretty much according to plan. Several hundred billion dollars' worth of stockholders packed Microsoft's 13th annual meeting, confident that, no matter what the United States government did, there would be many more of them. Gates announced a deal to invest $100 million in Tandy Corp. and put what amounts to Microsoft boutiques in 7,000 Radio Shack stores nationwide. The company spun off its money-losing Expedia travel Web site, minting a few new millionaires as the stock soared from $14 to $52. And Microsoft's own stock closed down a barely perceptible $2 or so a share. That seemed to reflect the market's judgment, a week after U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's historic ruling that the company used its software monopoly to hurt competitors and consumers, that in the end the most powerful country on the globe would be no...
  • The New Zen Of Stuff

    If he weren't so scrupulous about his "very minimalist" esthetic, Mark Rose could probably just about fill his apartment with stuff. The apartment, after all, in New York's East Village, is only 600 square feet, and Rose, a florist who is passionate about cooking and entertaining, shares it with a companion, Mehmet Tangoren, a fashion buyer equally passionate about clothes. Which is why, when Rose embarked on renovations earlier this year, the first person he called wasn't an architect; it was a closet consultant.What the kitchen was to the 1980s, the bathroom to the 1990s, the closet may be to the coming decade: status symbol, personal retreat and locus of domestic self-expression. Tangoren's fall-winter wardrobe hangs in the 15-square-foot walk-in wardrobe behind rice-paper-and-mahogany doors; Rose's copper saucepans now nestle on inch-thick melamine pantry shelves behind sliding frosted-glass panels. In the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Peter and Chris Sweders have a 3,150-square...
  • 'I'd Like To Learn My Fate'

    It was minus 63 at the south pole when the go-ahead came through, at 9:27 Saturday morning--Friday afternoon in the United States. About 870 miles away at McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast, Maj. George R. McAllister of the New York Air National Guard revved up the engines on his specially outfitted LC-130 transport, the only large plane in the world meant to fly in and out of the Pole. The planes are not supposed to land or take off below minus 58, but officers were gambling that the temperature would rise enough during the three-hour flight to make the round trip possible. In the 42 years that there has been a permanent American research base at the pole, this was the earliest in the Antarctic spring that a flight in has been attempted. For the 41 men and women wintering there, the start of spring flying season means fresh supplies, visitors and, for many, a flight home to resume their lives. For one in particular, Dr. Jerri Nielsen, the base physician who has been treating...
  • A Sanctuary Shooting

    The day began with prayers for many of the 150 teenagers at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas, and now, at nearly 7 o'clock in the evening, they were worshiping again. Wednesday, Sept. 15, was "See You at the Pole Day," when evangelical students assemble around school flagpoles to hold hands and pray. Fliers had been posted for the evening prayer meeting, and one of them may have caught the eye of Larry Gene Ashbrook, a 47-year-old unemployed loner who lived a few miles away. Wearing sunglasses and a dark-green jacket, smoking a cigarette, Ashbrook marched into the church lobby and asked where the youth group was meeting. A maintenance man asked him to put out his cigarette. Ashbrook pulled a 9mm pistol from his pocket and began firing.The toll this time: seven dead--four of them teenagers--plus Ashbrook, who shot himself in the head as officers arrived. Seven people were injured, three of them critically. Inevitably, the tragedy, in the home state of Republican...
  • Just Don't Say No, Not Us

    Susan, a Los Angeles homemaker and the mother of a 16-year-old son, believes it's never too soon to start lying to your kids about drugs. She began when he was 6 and, all fired up by an elementary-school program, asked if Mommy had done any of those terrible things. "I didn't hesitate to say no," she says, belying a history of marijuana use from the age of 12, LSD at 15 and a two-year addiction to amphetamines. She lied when he asked again five years later, although her husband, with considerably less to hide, confessed. That made her feel even worse. "I lied to him and now he thinks it's so terrific that I never tried drugs," she says. She beats down the impulse to tell the truth. "I think he would feel incredibly betrayed," she reasons.Susan, and most of the 78 million adult Americans who have used drugs, will never run for president. But they have found that doesn't exempt them from difficult questions about their behavior when, like a certain candidate, they were young and...
  • The Big One

    The outside limit of survival in a collapsed building, rescue experts say, is about a week, although as a rule the great majority of victims succumb within 72 hours to dehydration, shock or compression of the internal organs. That is also the point beyond which the will to live becomes problematic for people trapped in the stifling dark, often with loved ones dead and dying around them. But as late as noon on Thursday, 57 hours after a devastating earthquake flattened whole blocks of the Turkish city of Izmit, there was still reason for hope when Coleen and Vasco, Swiss rescue dogs trained to sniff out avalanche survivors, caught the scent of life in a heap of rubblethat had been a 14-story apartment building. The front-loader that had been eating away at the ruins fell silent and the crowd began the primitive, painstaking work of moving debris by hand. From a hole near the bottom of the mound, a child's voice was heard, calling for water. Out of the rubble came a boy of 7 or 8,...
  • One Crazy 'Summer'

    Once, there was another killer who haunted the night, struck out of nowhere and slipped away. Before John Wayne Gacy, the clown-suited slaughterer of teenage boys; before Wayne Williams, the strangler who stalked the poor black kids of Atlanta, there was David Berkowitz, who cruised the streets of New York City after midnight with a loaded .44, looking for young women to shoot. In a terrifying yearlong spree before his arrest on Aug. 10, 1977, he shot six people to death at close range, wounded seven others and wrote his nickname in 72-point type across the front pages of New York's tabloids: Son of Sam.To New Yorkers of a certain age, the name will forever evoke a time most of them would rather forget: a steamy summer in a crumbling city that paused in its everyday mayhem (1,553 murders in 1977, compared with 631 last year) only for an all-night riot touched off by a citywide power failure. But the era also saw the first stirrings of a vocation in a college student named Spike Lee,...
  • Stress

    1) IMMEDIATE ...
  • Yucca-Dusted Foie Gras

    In the history of American dining, there are pivotal moments when a cuisine makes the sublime leap onto white tablecloths. It happened to Italian when the spaghetti joint morphed into the Tuscan trattoria; it happened to Cajun when Paul Prudhomme invented blackened redfish. Now, up from the lunch counters of a hundred barrios, comes the delicious cooking of Latin America: exotic enough for North Americans to play the menu game of "find the steak"; incredibly fattening, yet high in beneficial complex carbs and unsaturated fats--actually, high in everything; culturally avant-garde and politically correct, but with rum-based cocktails of Hemingwayesque potency. ...
  • Devils Lake Gets Its Due

    As recently as 1993, when residents of little Minnewaukan, N.D., went fishing for walleye, they drove past farms and range land to the shores of Devils Lake, eight miles away. But now, after six years of precipitation averaging 25 percent above normal, the lake has come to them. Rising an astounding 24 feet on the virtually level prairie, it has quadrupled in area to 194 square miles, swallowing 70,000 acres of farmland and devastating nearly 500 homes. The creeping waters have been kept away from others by an elaborate breastwork of levees, so that once fashionable lakefront houses in the nearby town of Devils Lake now have views of a wall of dirt. "It's a flood that never goes away," says the town's mayor, Fred Bott.North Dakotans are experiencing the pitfalls of living in "prairie pothole" country. Here rainfall doesn't run neatly into streams and rivers; it collects in low spots scooped out by glaciers, forming lakes that shrink and grow from year to year--and on climatic cycles...
  • Ghost Of Everest

    He must have died near, or even after, sunset, because he had taken off his goggles and stowed them in a pocket. The unnervingly white skin of his back was bare to the sky where the wind had flayed off his clothing, seven layers of cotton and wool. From the evidence, George Mallory, the first man to attempt the summit of Mount Everest, had fallen to his death, landing several hundred feet below the ridge that leads to the peak. The astounding discovery of Mallory's body answers one question about what happened after he and Andrew Irvine disappeared into the clouds one day in June 1924. If it was near dark, he almost certainly fell on his way back down. But that only raises a second question, still unanswered: before turning around, did Mallory reach the summit?Among mountaineers, solving this puzzle would be akin to finding a manuscript of "Othello" in an envelope with Shakespeare's return address. Thus, on the morning of May 1, five American climbers fanned out on a steep and rocky...
  • The Truth About High School

    It was one careless moment in the cafeteria that she now believes will haunt her forever, or at least until graduation, whichever comes first. Blond, smart, athletic and well off, she must have thought she could get away with sitting down with a couple of gawky skaters from the fringe of high-school society, if only to interview them about hip-hop music for the school newspaper. She should have known that in high school, appearance outweighs motive by 100 to 1. There were giggles and stares, then loss of gossip privileges and exile from her seat at the center table next to the jocks. Now, a year later, recovered from a bout of anorexia as she tried to starve her way back into favor, she has found new friends. But the formerly cool sophomore, too humiliated to bear being identified, views her years in a West Coast high school as "hell."It should come as no surprise, given the events of two weeks ago, that teenagers can turn their social lives into a matter of life and death. Since...
  • Now, It's Designer Meals

    Would you like the chef to cook for you? Once, ordering a restaurant meal was a straightforward transaction, requiring only a simple balancing of greed against calories and price. That, though, was before American chefs became almost as famous as fashion designers. Today, the same people who aspire to wear designer clothes want to eat designer meals as well. For them, restaurants have created the "tasting menu," a customized selection of small dishes, inspired by that day's market bounty and prepared personally by the chef, rather than a journeyman cook who turns out the same dishes every night. When the chef offers to cook for you, he is challenging you to match your appetite to his ingenuity, your expense account to his gall in setting a prix fixe. The correct response is not to nudge your wife and say, "No, wise guy, we'll just have these sandwiches we brought." It is, "Of course, and what part of Nantucket Bay do tonight's scallops come from, exactly?"For years tasting menus...
  • At Home In The Big City

    The building was fine when it was built in 1874, a 21/2-story Victorian with 12-foot ceilings, a home for the burgeoning middle class of downtown Indianapolis. By 1981, when Susan Williams and her future husband, David Rimstidt, bought it for $15,000 in cash, it was a dilapidated wreck on a street of flophouses. The only bank willing to make a renovation loan assessed the property at exactly $0. And now the mysterious workings of the American economy have brought it back into fashion, along with the whole Chatham Arch neighborhood and much of downtown Indianapolis itself, where city officials are emptying housing projects as fast as they can find places to move the families--and selling them to developers to convert into apartments and condominiums. Asking price for a similar house on Williams and Rimstidt's block today: $300,000.Less than a decade after Joel Garreau proclaimed the triumph of the "edge city"--a cluster of office parks, malls and subdivisions plunked down at the...
  • Check, Please

    THE LONGEST-RUNNING MANHUNT IN New York--the quest by restaurant owners to lure, identify and stuff foie gras into all-powerful New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl--is over. Reichl, 51, announced last week that she is leaving after five and a half years to become editor in chief of Gourmet magazine. This means she can go out to eat without one of the legendary disguises with which she preserved her critical anonymity. ""In the last year I've had the feeling they're on to me,'' she says. ""Nothing feels stupider than sitting there pretending to be 70 while they're in the kitchen snickering--unless it's pretending to be 30.'' ...
  • Hurts So Good;At Work: What Full Employment Is Li

    FAST-FOOD WORKERS RECEIVE signing bonuses, paid vacations and 401(k) accounts. Salesclerks are in such demand that managers at the mall are poaching one another's employees. And the unemployment line--well, there really isn't one. Virtually everyone here who wants a job has one. Is this a worker's paradise? No. Just Fargo, N.D. In October, greater Fargo-Moorhead--as statisticians call this area of 160,000 people in the Red River Valley on the North Dakota-Minnesota border--became the nation's first metro area to record an unemployment rate below 1 percent since the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics began its current system of record-keeping in 1990. With unemployment at .9 percent, the bureau says, just 957 people here were jobless. ""We're humming,'' says C. Warner Litten, retired manager of the Fargo Clinic and a local civic booster.As Fargo goes, so goes the nation? If you want to know what a zero-unemployment economy could be like, this is the place to look. Full employment...
  • Tricky Dick's Missile Crisis

    FOR HISTORIANS, THIS WAS THE year of the tapes. A new history of the Cuban missile crisis, based on secretly recorded White House conversations, depicted John Kennedy as a thoughtful leader steering the nation through a potentially catastrophic nuclear confrontation. And at just about the same time, a new collection of Nixon tapes showed Tricky Dick as a vindictive schemer obsessed with getting even with his political enemies. Which got us wondering: what would have happened if the Soviets had installed missiles in Cuba on Richard Nixon's watch? Herewith, a fanciful reconstruction of the White House tapes from the great Cuban missile crisis of . . . 1972: ...