Conversation-starter: Your favorite New Yorker stories?

I’ve been following (and contributed to) a Quora thread about “the most interesting New Yorker articles of all time.” I nominated Calvin Trillin’s “Covering the Cops,” a 1986 profile of author and former Miami Herald police reporter Edna Buchanan.

Here are a few picks from Quora users:

“I enjoyed this article from 2008, which is about Nicholas White’s entrapment in an elevator for 41 hours.” (Ludi Rehak)

“Fans of Anthony Bourdain usually find his 1999 expose ‘Don’t Eat Before Reading This’ interesting.” (Michael Willes)

“Dude buys an entire pig from the Union Square Greenmarket, straps it to the back of his Vespa and rides it back to his apartment. Tells the story of his quest to learn how to be a butcher. Amazing read, even for vegetarians. Amazing read, even for vegetarians.” (Amanda Peyton)

“‘Trial by Fire,’ by David Grann, published in September 2009, tells the story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for an arson and murder he almost certainly did not commit. It’s almost impossible to read this article and still support the death penalty.” (Robin Pam)

“An interesting one from 2009 is “The Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care.” (Ted Suzman)

Your favorite New Yorker pieces? Tell us in comments.



  1. Easy: Jan 11, 1999’s “Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg” an “Annals of Society” piece that was likely my introduction to Malcolm Gladwell. Subhead implores you to read on: “She’s a grandmother, she lives in a
    big house in Chicago, and you’ve never
    heard of her. Does she run the world?” I’ve given more copies of this story to journalism students than anything else I’ve ever read.

  2. Jim said:

    This post has generated a lot of discussion on my Facebook page. Some of the stories people are recommending:

    Hands down, Truman Capote’s profile of Marlon Brando — “The Duke in his Domain”

    Two of my favorites: David Grann’s 2004 article about the search for the giant squid and David Owen’s 2009 article ‘The Ghost Course’ about Scottish links

    AJ Liebling on Archie Moore vs. Rocky Marciano.

    Peter Boyer’s piece on the coziness of Mississippi legal establishment, from 2008.

    Peter Hessler’s story about moving from China to Colorado is pretty amazing. And then there is anything by the long-dead and long-forgotten Robert Lewis Taylor, whose profiles in the magazine are the funniest it has ever published.

    I loved Peter Hessler’s story about the process of getting a drivers license in China, “Wheels of Fortune”.

    John Hersey’s Hiroshima. They dedicated the entire issue to it. Back in the day. 1946.

  3. Kevin Kelly, over at his “Cool Tools” site, maintains a list of “The Best Magazine Articles Ever”.

    This list isn’t exclusively “New Yorker” articles, but the magazine is very well represented.