In 2001, we were walking down Bedford Avenue when we had the idea to get our ten favorite writers to move into a loft together.
We’d throw a weekly debate party over a feast and then write up that debate in a local magazine about Brooklyn and the East Village. We’d call it The L Magazine.
It was idiotic. But Brooklyn was patient; it nurtured us, and nearly 15 years later we’ve had the exceptional luck to have created a company built to celebrate a magical place during a magical time. Obviously there was a vibrant Brooklyn before The L Magazine launched, and there will be a vibrant Brooklyn now, as we stop publishing this magazine in print and continue online. But something new and special happened in Brooklyn between 2003 and 2015, and it changed the world.
There are memories that stand out, like going to Stinger Club on Metropolitan after a birthday party on S. 2nd with Kyp, a barista from the Verb Café, who was just another dude in a band… but the band was TV on the Radio. Or throwing our first real event, a little outdoor film series in the blasted-out old McCarren Park Pool and feeling really psyched when 800 people showed up for The Night of the Hunter, and then being floored later that summer when 6,000 cheering Brooklynites came to Wet Hot American Summer, including Michael Showalter, Joe Lo Truglio, and Paul Rudd, who stood in front of the crowd and introduced the film—an event that was only matched years later by Prince Humperdinck himself introducing The Princess Bride. And more intimate moments like sitting at Verb and talking to a local guy named Mikey about the businesses plans we were working on, ours for a magazine (proudly committed to launching without a website… oops), his for a shop run out of a closet next to the cafe to be called Mikey’s Hookup. It was easy to make these little connections back then; we’d all come to Brooklyn to create something.
It’s fun and nostalgic to look back at the early days. They were much easier to own than today, with all the attention being paid to Brooklyn on a national and international level, by the fashion world, the music industry, the countless brands everyone’s always complaining about. And that’s what they’re really saying: This place is too difficult for me to own. But the truth is that the spirit driving those early moments is as strong as ever—there are just far more people participating. As always, some people are bad at creating things, and some people are good at it. Both are important, and we owe them all a debtof gratitude.
Meanwhile, we continue to have the insane privilege of celebrating this place both online and by ramping up the L’s sister publication Brooklyn Magazine into a monthly magazine. That said, there’s something about ending the L’s print run that feels significant. For many years, we started each L Magazine with a quote and a little thought about the public space of Brooklyn that we were all sharing. So let’s look at this as our last waltz, and end with a quote that sums up our feelings about what this means for Brooklyn better than anything else:
“The beginning of the beginning, of the end of the beginning.” -Robbie Robertson, The Last Waltz
Scott and Danny Stedman