Sunday Reading: The Promises of the New Year

Out, damned 2020! Begone! This week, with the arrival of 2021, we offer up writing about the turning of the temporal odometer and the cer...


Out, damned 2020! Begone! This week, with the arrival of 2021, we offer up writing about the turning of the temporal odometer and the ceremonies and resolutions that come with it. In “The Arbus Factor,” by Lore Segal, two elderly friends meet at a French restaurant on the Upper West Side and discuss their plans for the New Year. In “ ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and Four Generations of My Family,” Allyson Hobbs explores the history of the holiday song, written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, and its special meaning for her father. In “Why We Make Resolutions (and Why They Fail),” Maria Konnikova examines the psychology behind our annual New Year’s optimism. In “A Few Too Many,” Joan Acocella presents a helpful primer on hangover remedies. Finally, in “Breadline,” Ian Frazier writes about the workers serving New Yorkers on the first day of the New Year in the oldest continuously operated breadline in America. We hope that these pieces bring a sense of hope to your new year.

David Remnick


Photograph by Martin Roemers / Panos Pictures

“The onion soup came, the cassoulet came. Jack asked Hope if she would like to go back.”


Photograph courtesy Allyson Hobbs

The phrase “Auld Lang Syne” translates to “times gone by,” and, although Americans expect to hear this song every New Year’s, few know what the Scottish lyrics actually mean.


It turns out that timing is important in determining whether or not we succeed.


Illustration by Floc’h

Is there any hope for the hung over?


Crushed plastic top hats, ribbons, tassels, and other festive detritus littered the streets as several dozen people lined up on the sidewalk in front of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.

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Newsrust: Sunday Reading: The Promises of the New Year
Sunday Reading: The Promises of the New Year
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