When people hear about the subject of my last book—subways—they usually ask how I got interested in it. There is no great answer, but there are some clues in my background. I was born in Boston (clue) and raised in Barrington, Rhode Island. My father grew up in New York (clue) and my mother lived blocks away from Yankee Stadium (clue). I grew up in New England (clue) with New Yorkers for parents. And eventually I became a transportation reporter at The Record, of Hackensack, NJ (giant clue), where I covered NJ Transit, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and basically Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. (Great movie!)
After a career as a reporter and editor at newspapers and magazines up and down the East coast, I left The Boston Globe in 2018, and accepted a position at Boston University, where I lead a terrific newsroom team as Assistant Vice President and Executive Editor.
A little more background: I graduated George Washington University and spent my first 10 years in journalism as a reporter, at The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C., The Daily Record in Morristown, NJ, (where I covered an ambitious young politician named Chris Christie) and at The Record. At The Record I spent two years covering the case of two suburban teenagers who hid their pregnancy from their parents and threw their newborn into a trash bin. My coverage of the case, coincided with working the transportation beat and in 1998 I was fortunate to be named the New Jersey Press Association’s Journalist of the Year.
After the baby case was finished, I wrote a true crime book, “Always In Our Hearts, The Story of Amy Grossberg, Brian Peterson, the Pregnancy They Hid and the Baby They Killed.” Also while at The Record, I wrote a feature for Sports Illustrated (fulfilling a longtime dream) about 4 young Black men shot by state troopers in a racial profiling stop on the New Jersey Turnpike on their way to a basketball tryout. The story appeared in Best American Sports Writing.
My next job took me to Boston (also a clue), as senior editor at Boston Magazine, where I also began writing for Parents magazine and Runner’s World and teaching Magazine Writing & Editing at Boston University. In 2003, I left Boston Magazine to lead the redesign of the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. I remained at the Globe for 15 years, until leaving in 2018 to join BU. It’s been a great journalism journey.
When I’m not writing or editing, I can usually be found jogging the streets of Needham, Massachusetts, or shooting hoops or playing baseball with my two kids. My wife, Mimi Braude, is a social worker. Back to that question: Why did I write “The Race Underground?” Let’s just say I’m drawn to fascinating stories with fascinating people. And I like trains.
Now it’s onward to my next book: Ships. I’ll keep you posted.