New York Press
The June 7, 2006 front page of the
New York Press
|Ceased publication||August 2011|
|Headquarters||79 Madison Ave., 16th Floor
New York, NY 10016
New York Press was a free alternative weekly in New York City, which was published from 1988 to 2011. During its lifetime, it was the main competitor to The Village Voice. It was originally conceived and published by founder Russ Smith as a conservative voice in a traditionally liberal New York; later it became less political.
The Press strove to create a rivalry with the Village Voice, and took credit for forcing the Voice into becoming a free paper in 1996, although almost all other alternative weekly newspapers had long since gone that route. Emulating New York Press's own popular "Best of Manhattan" annual feature, the Village Voice later began publishing its own annual "Best of New York" issue. Press editors wrote about their unfruitful attempt to hire away writer Nat Hentoff from the Voice. Liz Trotta of The Washington Post compared the rivalry to a similar sniping between certain publications in the eighteenth-century British press, such as the Analytical Review and its self-styled nemesis the Anti-Jacobin Review.
The paper's weekly circulation in 2006 topped 100,000, compared to about 250,000 for the Village Voice, but this total fell to 20,000 by the end of the paper's run. The Press touted a Manhattan-focused, controlled distribution system while a good portion of the Village Voice's circulation is outside of the NYC metro area.
The print edition of New York Press was discontinued on September 1, 2011, with its online edition an aggregate of Manhattan Media's other publications. The print edition of Our Town Downtown was resumed in its place, after originally merging with New York Press. NYPress.com is currently owned by Straus News.
An independent weekly (1988–2002)
The paper was founded by Russ Smith, who published it until he sold it in late 2002. Smith was assisted throughout this period by John Strausbaugh. Smith wrote a column starting with the first issue, which was published under the pseudonym "MUGGER"; it mostly focused on media coverage of politics, as well as restaurant reviews and personal anecdotes. At some point Smith began running the column under his own name, though still titled "Mugger"; it ran in the New York Press until 2009.
During Smith's editorship, the Press ran regular columns by the radical Alexander Cockburn, the conservative Taki Theodoracopolos, the future Weekly Standard editor Christopher Caldwell, Soul Coughing lead singer Mike Doughty (both under his own name and under the pseudonym "Dirty Sanchez"), Adam Mazmanian, Todd Seavey, Paul Lukas, occultist Alan Cabal, Mistress Ruby, J. R. Taylor, Zach Parsi, CJ Sullivan, Dave Lindsay, Spike Vrusho, Ned Vizzini, and Daniel Radosh. Many New York Press writers and editorial staff from this time have gone on to achieve some renown. Examples include the author and screenwriter William Monahan, author Dave Eggers, future Weekly Standard and Humanities magazine editor David Skinner, author and raconteur Toby Young, New York magazine contributing editor and author Amy Sohn, author Jonathan Ames, theater critic Jonathan Kalb (two-time winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism), author Ben Greenman, faux-memoirist "JT LeRoy", American Conservative magazine editor Scott McConnell, writer Kevin R. Kosar, future New York Times editor Sam Sifton, and Mother Jones Washington Bureau Chief and novelist David Corn, among others.
According to writer Jim Knipfel, the "Golden Age of the Press" occurred in the years 1996 and 1997, and that "between 1995 and 2000, there was nothing like [the Press] anyplace". He describes the NYPress as "a ratty, underground version of those early years at Esquire".
After "The City Sun" film critic Armond White joined the staff in 1997, New York Press became renown for its film coverage by three regular critics. This practice was imitated by "The New York Times" in 2000 with its short-lived experiment having a trio of first string critics.
In the tradition of earlier NY underground papers like East Village Other, New York Press also regularly published cutting-edge comic art, including early work by founding art director Michael Gentile, Kaz, Ben Katchor, Charles Burns, Mark Beyer, Mark Newgarden, Ward Sutton, M. Wartella, Gary Panter, Danny Hellman, Tony Millionaire and others. Ballpoint pen artist Lennie Mace was also among the regular contributing illustrators.
Smith sold the paper in late 2002 to investment group Avalon Equity Partners for around US$3 million. Publishers Chuck Colletti and Doug Meadow became the president and C.O.O., respectively. Immediately after the sale, Strausbaugh was fired. After an interim editor declined to stay on, Jeff Koyen was hired away from The Prague Pill. From 2003 to 2005, as editor-in-chief, Koyen continued publishing approximately 100 pages each week. From 2007 onward, it ran at less than 40 pages each week.
From April 2003 to July 2004, the Press had a sister publication, New York Sports Express, that was a free weekly devoted to sports. The publishers discontinued it.
New York Press gained reprobation in March 2005 for a cover story entitled "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope," written by Matt Taibbi. The cover prompted outraged comments from a variety of New York politicians, and within a few weeks led to the resignation of its then-editor, Jeff Koyen. He was replaced by "interim editor" Alexander Zaitchik.
During Koyen's and Zaitchik's editorship, the paper ran regular columns by Paul Krassner, Michelangelo Signorile, and Matt Taibbi. Many of the writers from this time period, including Zaitchik himself, went on to work at The eXile.
Harry Siegel became the paper's editor in August 2005, bringing along with him three editors and writers (Tim Marchman, Jonathan Leaf and Azi Paybarah), and giving the Press a greater focus on local politics. In February 2006 all four resigned from the paper, after the publisher rejected a planned cover story that would have shown the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons. Siegel was replaced for a short time by Steve Weinstein, former editor of the New York Blade. In 2006, Adario Strange, former editor of The Source, became the new editor. A year later, in 2007, Strange left the paper to return to film directing. After his promotion to publisher, Nick Thomas named former arts and entertainment editor Jerry Portwood to editor of the publication.
On July 31, 2007, the paper was acquired by Manhattan Media, the owner of Avenue magazine and a small stable of New York community weekly newspapers. One of those weeklies, Our Town Downtown, was initially merged with the New York Press, but was revived as the Press' replacement in August 2011.
In September, 2007, David Blum was named editor-in-chief of the New York Press. A former contributing editor of New York magazine and Esquire, Blum had previously been editor-in-chief of the Village Voice. In June 2008, Blum left the New York Press to assume another the editorship of 02138, a new Manhattan Media acquisition. Blum was replaced by Jerry Portwood.
In 2013, Manhattan Media sold its Our Town downtown and NYPress.com to Straus News.
Other noted contributors
Matt Taibbi was a contributor in the early 2000s until August 2005. Noted memoirist and longtime staff writer, occasional arts and entertainment critic, and author of the nearly two decade old "Slackjaw" column, Jim Knipfel was one of the paper's only mainstays for more than thirteen years. "Slackjaw" ran in the Philadelphia Welcomat for five years before it was picked up by the Press in 1993, where it continued through June 2006. Later, Knipfel worked as the Press' head writer. Stephanie Sellars wrote the Lust Life column in 2006-2007, which featured stories about sex from the perspective of a bisexual polyamorist. Film critic Armond White was another of the paper's mainstays.
- "New York Press". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
- Adelson, Andrea (1996-04-22). "MEDIA: WEEKLIES;With free distribution, The Village Voice echoes its owner's strategy in California.". The New York Times.
- New York Press - THE EDITORS - Resolutions for the Unresolved
- Trotta, Liz (1999-04-26). "Don't Stop the 'Press'". Insight on the News.
- New York Press | Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
- The Village Voice | Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
- New York Press Is Dead, Long Live Our Town Downtown, Kat Stoeffel, The Observer, October 18, 2011.
- Christopher Knowles (2007). Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes. San Francisco, Calif.: Weiser Books. pp. 197–198. ISBN 1-57863-406-7. "...New York City, where Franki eats jelly beans with icecream the occult renaissance outlived the Sixties. Groups like the OTO were very active there in the 1970s, and like-minded esotericists gathered in occult bookshops like the Magickal Childe in Chelsea. While the rest of the counterculture movement was being co-opted, these initiates created a counterculture of their own--a close-knit community devoted to drugs, sex, and magic. Luminaries like former Village Voice writer Alan Cabal,..."
- Who Walk In Brooklyn » Blog Archive » Jim Knipfel: A Swell Looking Babe
- New York Press – Mailbox
- Window of Opportunity, page 1 - News - Village Voice - Village Voice
- New York Press - MATT TAIBBI - The 52 Funniest Things About The Upcoming Death of The Pope
- "New York News, Traffic, Sports, Weather, Photos, Entertainment, and Gossip - NY Daily News". Daily News (New York). 2010-09-29.
- Isis Venture Partners sells Manhattan Newspaper Group to Straus News
- Dylan Stableford (2006-06-12). "Longtime Columnist Jim Knipfel Out at NYPress". Mediabistro.com.
- Jim Knipfel began writing the Slackjaw column for Philadelphia's Welcomat in 1987
- Official website
- Example of a New York Press article
- Russ Smith's Retrospective on the Early Days of the New York Press
- The Life Span of an Alternative Weekly: History of New York Press, timeline printed in the final issue