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Articles by Jonathan Spira

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible

When Ford introduced the original Mustang in 1964, it also introduced an entirely new class of car, “pony cars,” a new category that comprised sporty yet affordable performance cars with long hoods and short rear decks.
The Mustang’s launch on April 16, 1964 was nothing if not monumental. To build excitement, Ford purchased the 9 p.m. slot on all three major television networks and presented the brand new car to 29 …

Review: ‘The Fourth Wall’ at A.R.T./NY Theatres

A.R. Gurney is know for witty plays such as “The Dining Room” and “The Cocktail Hour,” which explore upper-class WASP life in contemporary America. “The Fourth Wall,” set in a similar household, is the study of a quartet of characters who wrestle with one person’s obsession with the fourth wall in a room.
First staged in 1992, “The Fourth Wall” is being produced, in an off-Broadway revival, by the Theater Breaking …

Why Apple’s New Screen Time Feature Doesn’t Shock Me

Once Apple announced that it was introducing Screen Time, a new feature in its iOS 12 operating system for the iPhone and iPad, I was inundated with calls from researchers and journalists asking my opinion about both the feature and also the “surprising” findings people using the beta version were reporting.
As some of our readers know, I spent over a dozen years as chief analyst at Basex, a think tank, …

Restaurant Review: Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, New York

Back in the 1970s at the original Bobby Van’s restaurant on Main Street in Bridgehampton, the clique of regulars at the bar included famed authors such as Truman Capote, John Knowles, James Jones, as well as Willie Morris, the editor of Harper’s magazine.
Other regulars included the artists Roy Lichtenstein, Warren Brandt, Willem de Kooning, and Lukas Foss, the classical composer and conductor. Frequently diners would find Mr. Van, who died …

Review: Russian Samovar Restaurant and Piano Bar, New York City

Enjoying Russian cuisine and culture doesn’t necessarily require a trip to Mother Russia. New York City has several excellent Russian restaurants, and one of them is the Russian Samovar.
The Samovar, a Russian water heating urn, literally means “self-cooker.” The restaurant was founded in 1986 by the Russian exile and poet Joseph Brodsky, who died in 1996 and whose poetry, with its poignant images of wandering and loss, won him two …

Review: ‘Harry Clarke’ at Minetta Lane Theatre

As a boy of eight, Philip Brugglestein realized he didn’t fit into his Indiana surroundings so he invented an alter ego who came from London and spoke the Queen’s English. This was too much for his alcoholic Midwestern father who threatens to take the boy for electroshock therapy in order to turn off the “Britty Brit” accent and persona.
What eight year old would say, “Don’t get your knickers in a …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD and T6 R-Design

Those not in the know might assume that the typical Volvo wagon driver is a retired college professor, or perhaps a dentist somewhere in New England. Starting with the introduction of the storied automaker’s Scalable Product Architecture and the S90 sedan, Volvo is the epitome of Scandinavian cool, that image has become obsolete.
The new XC60 exemplifies this trend and we spent several weeks with two different XC60 models – the …