The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the New York Press

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08/22/2011 2:40 PM |

The Awl also used this image, too, but the mix of provactive vitriol and an embarrassing proofreading error was too good to ignore.
  • The Awl also used this image, too, but the mix of provactive vitriol and an embarrassing proofreading error was too good to ignore.

52. The fact that The Awl already did one of these, featuring inside jokes from actual NY Press alums, while I was collecting items for this one.

51. But whatever, The L’s list will have more coprophilia jokes.

50. 1988: Conservative Russ Smith starts a free weekly as a way of trolling the Village Voice, and indeed the rest of the city. Since trolling is not a named behavior yet, he calls his own column “Mugger.” 2011: It’s announced that the Press will become the insipidly named Our Town Downtown, the sub-14th-Street wing of bargain-basement paper chain Manhattan Media.

49. Although really, the Press has been dead since 2005, since Matt Taibbi’s uber-trolling cover feature “The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope” resulted the departure of all editorial stability and much of the paper’s quality.

48. Or possibly it’s been dead since 2002, when Russ Smith sold to the first of several squeamish new ownership groups.

47. “I have not been, and would not be, associated with the New York Press since the pigfuckers who bought it from Russ Smith unceremoniously canned me, via a phone call from a flunky, two days before Christmas 2002… you’re glomming on to a legacy to which you have no claim. There’s NYP 1988-2002, and then there’s whatever it’s been since.” -Ex-Press editor John Strausbaugh, in response to the 20th anniversary issue.

46. “My bosses apparently don’t believe in New York Press‘ right to distribute… It’s been a great run, and I have nothing but respect for everyone in the editorial department I’ve just left behind. Chris Rohland and David Unger, however, are weak-willed and lackluster men who should not be in control of a newspaper, especially not in these times of editorial restriction by way of advertiser dick-sucking. They’re too vulnerable to the appeal of money.” -Strausbaugh’s successor Jeff Koyen, in his exit statement after quitting, in 2005, when the publishers wouldn’t support him and Taibbi after the Pope story.

45. “[I hope] that under new ownership and leadership it can again be an invaluable read for all good Gothamites.” -Koyen’s successor, Harry Siegel, after quitting, along with his core editorial staff, in 2006, when Press ownership refused to allow him to publish the Danish Muhammad cartoons.

44. “About a year ago… I accepted an offer from NY Press to serve as their new Editor-in-Chief. It has been a great year, and a great experience running one of New York’s classic media brands, but it is time to move on, so I’ve given my resignation and my well wishes to the NY Press team.” -Adario Strange, Siegel’s successor, in 2007, quitting after a year.

43. Shortly thereafter, New York Press ownership figures, what the hell, hires David Blum, just off a short, disastrous stint as the Village Voice‘s fourth editor in the less than two years since the New Times merger.

42. Those glorious years when the Press and the Voice were racing to see who would implode faster, back before Tony Ortega discovered the joy of linkbait.

41. Blum’s ten-month NYP tenure most memorable for firing three increasingly bad sex columnists after three increasingly short tenures.

40. First: the hilariously husky-voiced Stephanie Sellars, probably deserves her own entry here. “I’ll just say we played a hot, multi-cultural game of pussy-in-the-middle.

39. And then: “I’ll just say that the thought of Kreth gleefully shitting on Blum while he jerks off screaming, “Yes, yes! I’ll give you a column!” has crossed my mind more than once.

38. Sex columnist number two, Kelly Kreth, whose Press debut was a cover story about her lifelong obsession with a minor Gawker celebrity.

37. Oh, right, and also “‘Baking brownies’ was clearly a euphemism for ‘touching you where you go to the bathroom.’”

36. Sex columnist number three, Claudia Lonow, resigns shortly after the publication of her first column, which just lifted the questions from Dan Savage’s readers.

35. Blum gives up on regular sex columnists, and the Press started running first-person sex essays from who the hell ever; a friend of ours was paid $80 for a first-person sex essay published under a pseudonym.

34. That the Press may only have survived through the end of the aughts because het-up readers, gawking film critics and eagerly bemused media observers couldn’t stop paying attention to the increasingly mad contrarian trolling of Armond White.

33. Wait, does this mean that Armond was just building up a persona to protect the job security of his coworkers?

32. Does this, then, rather than editorial overwork or apathy, also explain the factual errors, typos, syntactical confusion and possible paranoia?

31. And the frantic water-carrying of final Press editor Jerry Portwood?

30. The whole Annette Bening thing?

29. What will will Armond’s fan club think of all this?

28. Does this, then, make Fake Armond redundant?

27. Will the innocuous sandwich website pressny.com continue to receive as much hate mail from irritated Pixar and Chris Nolan fanboys?

26. No, I really did mean “a friend,” in #35 above.

25. “That time I essentially killed off the paper that was then my main outlet” is barely a blip on Matt Taibbi’s c.v. now: You get plenty of people now who weren’t in NYC in 2005, know Taibbi from his Rolling Stone agit-schtick, and it doesn’t register.

24. But then again, speaking of the memory hole, I wasn’t here for the Strausbaugh years, and have barely mentioned the scrappy all-in-this-together newsroom recalled by so many, back when contributors would find work manning the phones.

23. The way the give-anyone-a-column alternative press ethos launched the careers of confessional-essayists-turned-novelists like Jonathan Ames and Amy Sohn, as well as Ned Vizzini, who started contributing pieces while still a student at Stuyvesant.

22. An ideologically diverse crew of commentators and political reporters cut their teeth there, too, from David Corn to Christopher Caldwell.

21. Sam Sifton, Godfrey Cheshire. William Monahan, Mike Doughty.

20. But then again, J.R. Taylor. (See above re: trolling.)

19. And for that matter, Claus von Bulow.

18. Was Taki a real person? Now we’ll never know.

17. The way that diminshing resources and relevance turned the once well-written and passionately schizophrenic free-for-all into a safe place for one-pitch wonders to write a college newspaper-quality cover story and never be heard from again.

16. Like, “My Week of Stalking Claire Danes, An Alleged Meta-Commentary“.

15. Good luck finding that story online now, though.

14. Never again will the poor art department have to desperately cobble together a moderately salacious cover on Photoshop just minutes before the issue is due at the printer.

13. Good thing you can always just put an ad on the bottom sixth of the cover.

12. Even an ad for a candidate for public office.

11. Here are the author archives for former New York Press intern Benjamin Sutton.

10. All this time, New York Press has been considered to still be the Voice‘s main rival, despite now being like 20 pages long.

9. Like, read the last sentence of this article. It’s like we’re not even here!

8. Come on, we fought a boxing match against the Press in 2003 and everything!

7. From the last link: “When the New York Sports Express, a Press offshoot that lists Koyen as its editor-in-chief, launched in June, the New York Press editor noticed that The L used the same bright-orange distribution boxes as the Express. Of course, The L had debuted a month or two earlier, so it’s possible that Koyen realized this coincidence earlier than he acknowledges and wanted to exploit it.

“Either way, exploit it he certainly did. The ‘Billboard’ front-of-book section of short thoughts and notes in the June 11-17 issue of the Press included a caveat intended to prevent readers from seeing the identical containers and picking up the wrong publication. ‘Though an unfortunate coincidence, that dreadful lil’ L Magazine is distributed through boxes of the same size, shape and color as our new darling,’ Koyen wrote. He joked that The Press had already ‘put aside a few bucks to buy’ The L’s boxes ‘as soon as they run through their startup cash.'”

6. Hahahahaha.

5. (And hahahaha, the New York Sports Express.)

4. We have to link to Koyen’s recap of the fight (The L took three; Koyen and L founder Scott Stedman fought to a draw) because we didn’t have a website at the time.

3. If you want to read the account published in The L, you’ll have to find on the shelves in our office the cardboard box labeled “Old/Nostalgic L Mag Stuff.”

2. Which Danny Stedman seems to have done recently.

1. In any case. In the absence of the resources to go after significant web traffic, or a bloodthirstily coveted demographic for your core readership (hi guys), the overextented Press seems to have found an honorable way out: becoming an intensely local paper for the aging community activists who represent the stable population of lower-Manhattan bohemia. Good luck, guys, and thanks for the memories.

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