- New York (magazine)
June 8, 1970 issue
Editor Adam Moss Categories General interest Frequency Weekly Publisher New York Media, LLC First issue 1968 Country United States Language English Website nymag.com ISSN 0028-7369
New York is a weekly magazine principally concerned with the life, culture, politics, and style of New York City. Founded by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker in 1968 as a competitor to The New Yorker, it was brasher and less polite than that magazine, and established itself as a cradle of New Journalism. The magazine has, as a rule, published fewer national and more urban-tabloid stories than its sometime rival, but has also freely veered outside the city's borders, publishing many noteworthy articles on American culture by writers such as Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Nora Ephron, Kurt Andersen and John Heilemann. In its current incarnation under editor-in-chief Adam Moss, "The nation's best and most-imitated city magazine is often not about the city—at least not in the overcrowded, traffic-clogged, five-boroughs sense," wrote Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, as the magazine has increasingly published political and cultural stories of national significance. Since its 2004 redesign and relaunch the magazine has won more National Magazine Awards than any other publication. It was one of the first city magazines, and one of the first dual-audience "lifestyle magazines," and its format and style have been emulated by some other American regional city publications.
Its 2009 paid and verified circulation was 408,622, with 95.8% of that coming from subscriptions. Its website, which receives visits from seven million users monthly, has been recognized as among the industry's most innovative and successful.
New York began life in 1963 as the Sunday-magazine supplement of the New York Herald Tribune newspaper. Edited by Clay Felker, the magazine showcased the work of several talented Tribune contributors, including Tom Wolfe, Barbara Goldsmith, and Jimmy Breslin. Soon after the Tribune went out of business in 1966–67, Felker and his partner, Milton Glaser, purchased the rights with money loaned to them from Barbara Goldsmith's husband at the time C. Gerald Goldsmith and reincarnated the magazine as a stand-alone glossy. Joining them was managing editor Jack Nessel, Felker's number two at the Herald Tribune. New York's first issue was dated April 8, 1968. Among the by-lines were many familiar names from the magazine's earlier incarnation, including Breslin, Wolfe, and George Goodman, a financial writer who wrote as "Adam Smith".
Within a year, Felker had assembled a team of contributors who would come to define the magazine's voice. Breslin became a regular, as did Gloria Steinem, who wrote the city-politics column, and Gail Sheehy. (Sheehy would eventually marry Felker, in 1984.) Harold Clurman was hired as the theater critic. Judith Crist wrote movie reviews. Alan Rich covered the classical-music scene. Barbara Goldsmith was a Founding Editor of New York magazine and the author of the widely-imitated series, “The Creative Environment,” in which she interviewed such subjects as Marcel Breuer, I. M. Pei, George Balanchine, and Pablo Picasso about their creative process. Gael Greene, writing under the rubric "The Insatiable Critic," reviewed restaurants, cultivating a baroque writing style that leaned heavily on sexual metaphor. Woody Allen contributed a few stories for the magazine in its early years. The magazine's regional focus and innovative illustrations inspired numerous imitators across the country.
Wolfe, a regular contributor, to the magazine, wrote a story in 1970 that for many[specify] defined the magazine (if not the age): "Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's". The article described a benefit party for the Black Panthers, held in Leonard Bernstein's apartment, in a collision of high culture and low that paralleled New York magazine's ethos. In 1972, New York also launched Ms. magazine, which began as a special issue. New West, a sister magazine on New York's model that covered California life, was also published for a few years in the 1970s. Later columnists writing for the magazine included Michael Tomasky (city politics), John Simon (replacing Clurman on theater), David Denby (film), James Atlas, Marilyn Stasio, and John Leonard (books).
Well into the 1970s, Felker continued to broaden the magazine's palette,[vague] covering Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal closely. In 1976, journalist Nik Cohn contributed a story called "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night," about a young man in a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood who, once a week, went to a local disco called Odyssey 2001; the story was a sensation and served as the basis for the film Saturday Night Fever. Twenty years later, Cohn admitted (in a story in New York) that he'd done no more than drive by Odyssey's door, and that he'd made the rest up. It was a recurring problem of what Wolfe, in 1972, had labeled "The New Journalism."
In 1976, the Australian media baron Rupert Murdoch bought the magazine in a hostile takeover, forcing Felker and Glaser out. A succession of editors followed, including Joe Armstrong and John Berendt.
In 1980, Murdoch hired Edward Kosner, who had worked at Newsweek. Murdoch also bought Cue, a listings magazine that had covered the city since 1932, and folded it into New York, simultaneously creating a useful going-out guide and eliminating a competitor. Kosner's magazine tended toward a mix of newsmagazine-style stories, trend pieces, and pure "service" features—long articles on shopping and other consumer subjects—as well as close coverage of the glitzy 1980s New York City scene epitomized by financiers Donald Trump and Saul Steinberg. The magazine was profitable for most of the 1980s. The term "the Brat Pack" was coined for a 1985 story in the magazine.
Murdoch got out of the magazine business in 1991, selling his holdings to K-III Communications, a partnership controlled by financier Henry Kravis. In January 1992, New York ran the first big magazine story on presidential candidate Bill Clinton, ten months before his election in November.
In 1993, budget pressure from K-III frustrated Kosner, and he left for Esquire magazine. After several months' search, during which the magazine was run by managing editor Peter Herbst, K-III hired Kurt Andersen, the co-creator of Spy, a humor monthly of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Andersen quickly replaced several staff members, bringing in many emerging and established writers (including Jim Cramer, Walter Kirn, Tomasky and Jacob Weisberg) and editors (including Michael Hirschorn, Kim France, Dany Levy, and Maer Roshan), and generally making the magazine faster-paced, younger in outlook, and more knowing in tone.
In August 1996, Bill Reilly fired Andersen from his editorship, citing the publication's financial results. According to Andersen, he was fired for refusing to kill a story about a rivalry between investment bankers Felix Rohatyn and Steven Rattner that had upset Henry Kravis, a member of the firm's ownership group. His replacement was Caroline Miller, who came from Seventeen, another K-III title.
In 2002 and 2003, Michael Wolff, the media critic hired by Miller in 1998, won two National Magazine Awards for his column. At the end of 2003, New York was sold again, to financier Bruce Wasserstein, for $55 million.
In late 2004 the magazine was relaunched, most notably with two new sections: "The Strategist," devoted mostly to utility, and "The Culture Pages," covering the city's arts scene. Moss also rehired Kurt Andersen as a columnist.
Since 2004, the magazine has won seventeen National Magazine Awards, including General Excellence in Print four times and General Excellence in Online twice. During this same period it has been a finalist 48 times in categories that included Profile Writing, Reviews and Criticism, Commentary, Public Service, Magazine Section, Leisure Interests, Personal Service, Single-Topic Issue, Photography, Photojournalism, Photo Portfolio, and Design. In 2007, when the magazine for the first time dominated the awards, much of the coverage the next day noted that The New Yorker took home no awards that night, despite receiving nine nominations, and also noted that New York was the first magazine to win for both its print and Internet editions in the same year.
In 2010, the magazine won National Magazine Awards for General Excellence in both its print circulation class (250,000 – 500,000) and in Digital Media for its website nymag.com, the first time any magazine has won General Excellence across both platforms the same year.
In 2011, the magazine won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence: News, Sports and Entertainment Magazines, beating out publications with higher circulation, including People and Time (magazine).
The February 25, 2008 issue featured a series of nude photographs of Lindsay Lohan. Shot by Bert Stern, the series replicated several poses from Stern's widely reproduced final photos of Marilyn Monroe, shot shortly before the actress's fatal drug overdose. That week, the magazine's website received over 60 million hits and with traffic 2000 percent higher than usual.
The magazine is especially known for its food writing (its restaurant critic Adam Platt won a James Beard Award in 2009, and its Underground Gourmet critics Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld have won two National Magazine Awards); and also for its political coverage, especially John Heilemann's reporting on the 2008 presidential election, which led to his (and Mark Halperin's) best-selling book Game Change, and for coverage of the first two years of the Obama administration; The New Republic praised its "hugely impressive political coverage" during this period.
The magazine’s current stable of writers includes national political columnist and correspondent John Heilemann, co-author of the best-selling book about the 2008 presidential election Game Change, Steve Fishman, Jesse Green, Vanessa Grigoriadis, Joe Hagan, Mark Jacobson, Jennifer Senior, Gabriel Sherman, Christopher Smith, and Jonathan Van Meter. Its well-regarded culture critics include David Edelstein (movies), Emily Nussbaum (TV), Jerry Saltz (art), Justin Davidson (classical music and architecture), and Sam Anderson (books), who won the National Book Critics Circle's Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing in 2007.
New York has been widely recognized for its design under Moss, with back-to-back design wins at the National Magazine Awards and Magazine of the Year wins from the Society of Publication Designers (SPD) in 2006 and 2007. The 2008 Eliot Spitzer “Brain” cover was named Cover of the Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) and Advertising Age and 2009's “Bernie Madoff, Monster” was named Best News & Business Cover by ASME. Design director Chris Dixon and photography director Jody Quon were named “Design Team of the Year” by Adweek in 2008.
In 2009, after Bruce Wasserstein's death, the magazine's ownership passed to his family. Many obituaries noted Wasserstein's revival of the magazine. "While previous owners had required constant features in the magazine about the best place to get a croissant or a beret," wrote David Carr of The New York Times, "it was clear that Wasserstein wanted a publication that was the best place to learn about the complicated apparatus that is modern New York. In enabling as much, Mr. Wasserstein recaptured the original intent of the magazine's founder, Clay Felker."
On March 1, 2011 it was announced that Frank Rich will be leaving The New York Times to become an essayist and editor-at-large for New York. Rich will begin his relationship with the magazine starting June 2011.
Puzzles and competitions
New York magazine was once known for its competitions and unique crossword puzzles. For the first year of the magazine's existence, the composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim contributed an extremely complex cryptic crossword to every third issue. In the style of British crosswords (as they are sometimes called), the cryptic crosswords feature clues that include a straight definition and a wordplay definition. Richard Maltby, Jr. took over thereafter. Since 1980, the magazine has also run an American-style crossword. For the first 30 years the puzzle was always by Maura B. Jacobson, but beginning in the summer of 2010, Cathy Allis Millhauser's byline began appearing in alternate weeks, and the magazine announced her as permanent co-constructor in September 2010. The cryptic crosswords were eventually dropped.
In the remaining two weeks out of every three, Sondheim's friend Mary Ann Madden edited an extremely popular witty literary competition calling for readers to send in humorous poetry or other bits of wordplay on a theme that changed with each installment. (A typical entry, in a competition calling for humorous epitaphs, supplied this one for Geronimo: "Requiescat in Apache.") Altogether, Madden ran 973 installments of the competition, retiring in 2000. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of entries were received each week, and winners included the likes of David Mamet, Herb Sargent, and Dan Greenburg. David Halberstam once claimed that he had submitted entries 137 times without winning. Sondheim, Woody Allen, and Nora Ephron were fans.
The Competition's demise, when Madden retired, was greatly lamented among its fans. In August 2000, the magazine published a letter from an Irish contestant, John O'Byrne, who wrote: "How I'll miss the fractured definitions, awful puns, conversation stoppers, one-letter misprints, ludicrous proverbs, openings of bad novels, near misses, et al. (what a nice guy Al is!)." Many entrants have since migrated to The Washington Post's similar "Style Invitational" feature. Three volumes of Competition winners were published, titled Thank You for the Giant Sea Tortoise, Son of Giant Sea Tortoise, and Maybe He's Dead: And Other Hilarious Results of New York Magazine Competitions.
Digital expansion and blogs
In 2006, New York magazine’s Website, nymag.com, underwent a year-long relaunch, transforming the site from a magazine companion to an up-to-the-minute news and service destination. In 2008 parent company New York Media purchased the online restaurant and menu resource MenuPages, which serves eight markets across the U.S., as a complement to its own online restaurant listings and to gain a foothold in seven additional cities. As of July 2010, digital revenue accounted for fully one third of company advertising revenue.
"The Cut" features current fashion happenings and is a popular destination for fashion bloggers looking for reliable and recent fashion news. Grub Street, covering food and restaurants, was expanded in 2009 to five additional cities served by nymag.com sister site MenuPages.com.
David Carr noted in an August 2010 column, “In a way, New York magazine is fast becoming a digital enterprise with a magazine attached.”
The New York magazine Blogs are also very popular for their commenters. They have even appeared in the blog posts.
During Adam Moss’s tenure New York has published three books: New York Look Book: A Gallery of Street Fashion (New York: Melcher Media, 2007), New York Stories: Landmark Writing From Four Decades of New York Magazine, and My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City (As Remembered by Actors, Artists, Athletes, Chefs, Comedians, Filmmakers, Mayors, Models, Moguls, Porn Stars, Rockers, Writers, and Others) (New York: Ecco/HarperCollins, 2010).
Michael Hirschorn’s Ish Entertainment is currently developing a TV series for Bravo inspired by the magazine’s popular weekly Approval Matrix feature. The series will have pop culture pundits debating where various items belong on the highbrow/lowbrow and brilliant/despicable axes of the Matrix, which has appeared in the magazine since November 2004.
New York’s art critic Jerry Saltz is a judge on Bravo’s fine art reality competition series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. Additionally, Grub Street Senior Editor Alan Sytsma appeared as a guest on judge on three episodes of the third season of Top Chef: Masters (season 3).
- Media of New York City
- New York Magazine's Cultural Awards of 2006
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- ^ "Frank Rich Joins New York Magazine". New York Magazine. March 1, 2011. http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/03/frank_rich_joins_new_york.html. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- ^ Cat People, Bill Hayward, introduction by Rogers E. M. Whitaker. New York: Dolphin/Doubleday, 1978 (p. 52)
- ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (July 12, 2008). "New York Magazine Buys MenuPages Site". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/12/business/media/12menu.html.
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- ^ Carr, David (August 8, 2010). "New York Magazine's Lessons for Harman and Newsweek". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/business/09carr.html?_r=1&dbk.
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- ^ "Ecco". Harpercollinscatalogs.com. April 29, 2009. http://www.harpercollinscatalogs.com/harper/543_1228_333032343334.htm. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
- ^ He Loves the Approval Matrix: Hirschorn Brings New York Mag Feature to Bravo, an April 6, 2010 article from The New York Observer
- ^ Reviewed by Ken Tucker (June 9, 2010). "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist | TV". EW.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20392595,00.html. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
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