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Articles by Jonathan Spira

Ready to Ring in the New Decade? You May Have to Wait Another 12 Months

Ready to celebrate the new decade and the start of what may be the Roaring 20s when ringing in the New Year in a few weeks?
Not everyone is.
The 1920s was a decade of economic growth and prosperity with distinctive cultural developments.  Known in France as the années folles, or crazy years, and also referred to as the Jazz Age, it was the decade that saw the advent of commercial aviation, …

Restaurant Review: Mishiguene at Intersect by Lexus, New York City

Mishiguene.  The Argentine transliteration for the Yiddish “meshugene” (in Yiddish, משוגעןע), i.e. crazy.  This is the name Chef Tomás Kalika, known for his interpretation of dishes of the Jewish diaspora, chose for his restaurant in Buenos Aires, and for its outpost in New York City at Intersect by Lexus.
Don’t speak Yiddish? Neither does the wait staff but you probably know more Yiddish than you may think.  Bagel, blintz, glitch, kvell, …

Review: ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Lyceum Theatre

“A Christmas Carol” is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser whose surname has become synonymous with penny-pinching, and whose transformation into a kinder soul after visits by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, has entered the annals of storytelling as a favored plot device.
Charles Dickens’ novella, published in 1843, was almost immediately adapted into a play although Dickens himself held well-received readings of it until his death …

Review: Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski München, Munich, Germany

Just when you start to think that one of the best hotels in the world cannot top past experiences, it happens. But allow me to set the scene.
After a short flight from London in British Airways Club Europe, I arrived at Munich Airport and took the S-Bahn to the city center.  It was a glorious fall day and the walk from the Marienplatz S-Bahn Haltestelle to the hotel on the bustling …

Hotel Review: Hilton Bogota Corferias, Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá, a booming capital city full of vim and vigor, which was built on a rolling plateau more than 8,000’ (2,438 m) above sea level in the Andes in central Colombia, seems to be constantly in motion, from the chaotic traffic to the outdoor markets crowded with Indians in wool ponchos to its striking new convention center, the Ágora Centro Internacional de Convenciones, where one event or another is always …

Theater Review: ‘Evita’ at New York City Center

Very few countries find themselves so captivated and enthralled by an individual the way Argentina is to Maria Eva Duarte de Perón, a woman whose life (she was born 100 years ago) is the stuff of which legends – and musicals – are made.
As the wife of Juan Perón, the Argentine Army general who was elected president of the country three times, Eva, known by the diminutive Evita, became one …

Mauerfall: The Berlin Wall Fell 30 Years Ago

On November 9, 1989, a somewhat comical slipup toppled the Berlin Wall when Günter Schabowski, the newly minted spokesman of the East German Politbüro, as a footnote to a press conference, added a statement concerning plans to lift travel restrictions between East and West.  When an Italian reporter asked when the change would come into effect, Schabowski assumed it would be the same day and replied, “Das tritt nach meiner Kenntnis …