Readers may notice that this issue of the City Journal looks somewhat different.
We at the Manhattan Institute are determined to keep our magazine easily readable and as habit-forming as mere words can be. The main body of the magazine will remain what it has been: a menu of articles that will examine, interpret, and suggest remedies for the problems of New York and other cities.
But readers who move decorously from front to back instead of skipping around will find that the articles section is preceded by several new features. The first of these is the Forum, an edited presentation by a previous City Journal author, followed by an exchange with an audience of New York officials and opinion leaders who are invited to respond to his ideas. In this issue, economist Stephen Kagann discusses his Autumn 1992 article, "New York's Vanishing Supply Side," in which he argued that high local taxes have been the prime cause of New York's severe recession.
Following the Forum, a straight-arrow reader will come to the Précis, the City journal's variation on the standard book review. Each future issue of the magazine will give an author the opportunity to summarize the central ideas in his new book. All too often a book review reflects the reviewer's own ideas more accurately than it does the author's. The Précis whets the reader's appetite for a book while allowing him to draw his own conclusions about the author's ideas.
This issue also introduces four new columns, by writers whose work is already familiar to City journal readers. Stephen Kagann will discuss economic developments in New York or other cities under the title "Vital Signs." Richard Miniter's "Urban Ecology" column will cover environmental issues. George Kelling, a nationally recognized expert on policing whose cover story on reclaiming the subways appeared in our Winter 1991 issue, will write a column called "Thinking About Crime," and Senior Editor Fred Siegel will contribute a column on political ideas called "The Body Politic."
Six major articles are featured in this issue as well. Stephen Berger offers timely recommendations for the mayor on how to reform New York City's government. Heather Mac Donald writes about the social disaster that has resulted from the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. Peter Salins looks at the city's zoning ordinance, an enormously complex document that has created a chaotic and inefficient regulatory system. Walter Olson describes the immense financial burden placed on the city by liability lawsuits. Tamar Jacoby recounts the history of civilian review of police-an issue that divided the city in 1966 and is doing so again today. And Joel Kotkin, a New York native now living in Los Angeles, discusses the sturdy shoots of economic life that he finds growing beneath the sociological smog of Southern California.
The "At Issue" feature will present either an interview, a roundtable, or a discussion forum. In this issue, Peter Salins, coauthor of Scarcity by Design: The Legacy of New York City's Housing Policies, discusses his ideas and answers questions from an audience of distinguished New Yorkers.
"Ideas and Observations," the balance of the City Journal, will contain shorter pieces about urban culture. This section will include book reviews, essays, articles on the arts and architecture, and excerpts from published literary works which stand by themselves as vignettes of New York life and history. "New York Diarist" will offer commentary on current New York news and politics. Read it all in good health.