Wayne Curtis

Wayne Curtis is a contributing editor at The Atlantic magazine, where he writes a bi-monthly column about cocktail culture, as well as articles on topics such as travel and architecture. He's also a contributing editor at Preservation magazine (published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation), and has written for numerous others, including the New York Times, Smithsonian, American Scholar, Saveur, Men's Journal, Yankee, American Archeology, and This American Life. He's the author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in 10 Cocktails (Crown, 2006), and 2002 he was named Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year. He's lived in New Orleans since 2006.

Now that's Italian!

Reinventing the supermarket: How New York’s Eataly falls short

Eataly is nice, but there’s still plenty of room left to reinvent the supermarket.Photo: Samantha DeckerThe American supermarket experience hasn’t changed much in a half century. It’s basically a connect-the-dots problem each consumer solves differently: How do you get in, get the things on your list, avoid those annoying people with the slow-moving carts, and get out as swiftly as possible?  In the process of solving the puzzle, we all get to know the commercial topography of our chief foraging zones very well: dairy, meat, breakfast cereals, canned soups. But then this: We get to the end of our shopping …

On moving to New Orleans, a city defined by water

Wayne Curtis is a freelance writer who’s written for The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, American Scholar, Preservation, and American Heritage, and is the author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails. He recently traded Maine winters for New Orleans summers. Thursday, 24 May 2007 NEW ORLEANS, La Someone once wrote that eating a tomato grown on a fire escape demonstrated the highest order of faith in civilization and technology. To hell with the tomato. If you really want to show your faith, move to New Orleans. The city that always seeps. …

A controversial New Orleans landfill is set to close, but eco-disaster still looms

 The logistics of cleaning up New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina are almost beyond comprehension. Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality says some 15,000 houses are slated to be torn down, and demolition is the likely fate of 80,000 more. As a result, DEQ estimates, the city will ultimately truck off and dispose of some 20 million cubic yards of waste. Where will it go? To a number of landfills in the region, most of which are designed to handle hazardous materials. But to speed the process, the city converted a deep pit located amid the wetlands of eastern …

Community forests help revitalize New England towns

Beyond a set of granite gates on a hillside in Rumford, Maine, a lost city sits amid silver maples and oaks, just across the river from a sprawling paper mill. It’s called Strathglass Park, and it’s a vestige of an experiment in corporate benevolence. Designed in 1904 by noted architect Cass Gilbert, who later designed the Woolworth Building in Manhattan and the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, this cluster of regal brick homes and boarding houses was built by a paper-company mogul for 266 workers and their families. Same as it ever was? Photo: iStockphoto. The complex offers a glimpse …

Maine woods emerge as ground zero for a grand land conservation experiment

Try this little-known fact on for size: Approximately one-quarter of New England — a region first settled four centuries ago — is almost entirely undeveloped. Never mind images of East Coast overcrowding and sprawl; travel far enough north and east and you can drive for hours and see no Main Streets, no local fire departments, no permanent dwellings, no Wal-Marts. Just forests and lakes and beaver and moose. Here’s moose. Where’s squirrel? Photo: Wayne Curtis. About half of Maine (itself nearly the size of the other New England states combined) is composed of what are called the “unorganized territories” — …

Atlantic salmon are even worse off than their Pacific cousins

To catch an Atlantic salmon in the Machias River back in the 1940s — and we’re talking a legitimate salmon here, maybe 30 or 40 pounds — didn’t require a knack with rod and reel, nor even the wily patience of the angler. Mostly what you needed was decent aim with a rifle or pitchfork or jig hook. The mighty Machias. Or for that matter, a good-sized river stone. “I remember schoolkids hitting them with rocks,” says Nate Pennell, who grew up near the river in the village of Whitneyville in eastern coastal Maine. “When I was 11, I saw …

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