In the title role of director Stephen Frears’s new film, Florence Foster Jenkins, Meryl Streep is more a wonder than ever. Playing a high-society music patron who longs for the operatic limelight but who cannot sing a true note, Streep will split your sides and eardrums even as she rends you in two. Tragedy is wriggling just inside the comic cocoon of this story of a real-life New York City doyenne who, in 1944, at age 76, achieved her lifelong dream of singing at Carnegie Hall—and who brought down the house, though not quite the way she wanted to.

One of the most anticipated movies this summer is Universal Pictures’ The Secret Life of Pets, a 3-D animated feature that’s about, well, exactly what it sounds like. A product of Illumination Entertainment (the ones who brought us Despicable Me and Groo’s adorable Minions), the film provides a solid helping of animation goodness that, while not the tastiest dish on this year’s menu, provides some comfort food for the cinematic soul. Moviegoers are lapping it up.

We all know the stereotype of urban ascetics. They resist material luxury. They make their own yogurt, churn their own butter. They live simply and self-sustainably in a small studio with a foldout couch or air mattress. They have no conventional responsibilities, no goals beyond graduation or the next gallery show. They are single artists in the morning of their life. They are not middle-aged parents. 

When my friend Jane told me she was doing a complete renovation of her pied-à-terre, I was disheartened because I liked the apartment just as it was (and, yeah, because change always depresses me). But when I visited her after the work was finished, I was surprised—and relieved—to find the place looking exactly the same as I remembered. “Yes,” said Jane, “I’ve just spent a fortune on things that only I can see.” I thought of this imperceptibly rehabbed apartment last week, when I paid my first visit to the Met Breuer. 

I’ve been overthinking the new book Humans of New York: Stories, and now I’m lost. Maybe that’s the problem with it—try to remember any of the pictures or captions and they dissolve like old sea monkeys, stubbornly refusing to leave behind anything but dust, no matter how carefully you care for them. With the cover closed, I recall that people think a lot about love and loneliness; they work hard at their jobs; they are derailed by absent parents, drugs and violence. But is that enough?