New York (magazine)
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New York magazine is a weekly magazine, founded in 1968, concerned with the life, culture, politics, and style of New York City. It was one of the first "lifestyle" magazines. Founded by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker in 1968 as a competitor to The New Yorker, it offers less national news and more gossip, but has also published noteworthy articles on city and state politics and culture over the years. Its format and style have been copied by other American regional city publications, such as Philadelphia Magazine, New Jersey Monthly and others, although New York is the only weekly among them and therefore contains more immediate coverage. Its 2005 paid circulation is 437,181, with 94.6% of that coming from subscriptions. The website receives visits from 1.1 million users monthly.
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 and Jimmy Breslin. Soon after the Tribune went out of business in 1966-67, Felker and his partner, the designer Milton Glaser, reincarnated the magazine as a standalone 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 the financial writer George Goodman, 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, who would eventually marry Felker, in 1984. The director Harold Clurman was hired as the theater critic. Judith Crist wrote movie reviews. Alan Rich covered the classical-music scene. Gael Greene, writing under the rubric "The Insatiable Critic," reviewed restaurants, cultivating a baroque writing style that leaned heavily on sexual metaphor. 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). Even Woody Allen has published a few stories.
Wolfe was a regular contributor as well, and in 1970 wrote a story that for many 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--the collision of high culture and low parallelled New York magazine's ethos. New York also launched Ms. magazine at around the same time, which began as a special issue. New West, a sister magazine on the same model that covered California life, was also published for a few years in the 1970s.
Well into the 1970s, Felker continued to broaden the magazine's palette, covering Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal closely. In 1976, a journalist named 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, starring John Travolta; twenty years later, in 1997, 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 common problem of what Wolfe, in 1972, had labeled "The New Journalism"--a term for reported stories that used the techniques of fiction to tell a larger truth.
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, until 1980, when Murdoch hired Edward Kosner, late of Newsweek. Murdoch also bought Cue Magazine, 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 scene epitomized by financiers Donald Trump and Saul Steinberg. The magazine was profitable for most of the 1980s, and several stories from this era rose to the level of the larger culture: The term "the Brat Pack" was coined for a story in New York, and the first big magazine story on candidate Bill Clinton was a cover story ten months before his election in 1992.
Murdoch got out of the magazine business in 1990, selling his holdings to K-III Communications, a partnership controlled by financier Henry Kravis. Budget pressure from K-III frustrated Kosner, and he left for Esquire magazine in 1993. 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. Newsstand sales rose, and profits increased to a level not seen since. However, the effective owner of K-III, Henry Kravis, objected to the magazine's coverage of his friends and associates on Wall Street, and Andersen was fired after two and a half years, replaced by Caroline Miller of Seventeen (another K-III title). Michael Wolff, the media critic she hired in 1998, won two National Magazine Awards for his column, in 2002 and 2003. Miller's magazine also ran political columns by Tucker Carlson.
New York was sold again at the end of 2003, this time to financier Bruce Wasserstein. He in turn replaced Miller with Adam Moss, known for editing 7 Days (a short-lived New York weekly of the late 1980s) and the New York Times Magazine. A relaunch of the magazine followed in late 2004, marked by two new sections: "The Strategist," devoted mostly to shopping, fashion, travel, and food, and "The Culture Pages," covering the city's arts scene. Moss also rehired Kurt Andersen as a columnist. In the spring of 2006, Moss's New York was nominated for five National Magazine Awards by the American Society of Magazine Editors; it won in two categories, for design and for general excellence in its circulation class.
 Puzzles and competitions
New York Magazine was once renowned for its competitions and unique crossword puzzles. For the first year of the magazine's existence, the composer and songwriter Stephen Sondheim contributed an extremely complex crossword-style puzzle to every third issue. (Richard Maltby, Jr. took over thereafter; since 1980, the magazine has run a simpler crossword by Maura Jacobson.) 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: "Requiscat in Apache.") Altogether, Madden ran 973 installments of the competition, retiring in 2000. Hundreds of entries were received each week--sometimes thousands--and winners included the likes of David Mamet, Herb Sargent, and Dan Greenburg. David Halberstam once claimed that he submitted entries 137 times and never won. 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 The Style Invitational." 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.