Thursday, 23 Sep 2021

How New York Magazine takes the temperature of the city

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All under NYC’s big tent

New York Magazine is NYC’s thermometer. Begun 1968 in a little room with 18 people. Now there’s 207. Editor David Haskell says: “New York’s a circus — 50 square miles of high-pressured drama, tension, conflict, posturing, vanity, shame, anger in the most metropolitan area on Earth. All larger than life characters. Their tensions, powers, struggles, ambition is what we’re covering.

“Best are dinner parties. Hanging with friends. Listening in. Hearing how life’s talked about. We also steal stories from the Times and The Post. The tabloid perspective’s a personality. It’s alive.

“Tuesday 11 a.m.’s our weekly meeting. Pitching a story’s not just saying ‘let’s do a piece on air conditioners.’ Yeah — but what?! Fixing them, they too expensive, bad for the planet? What? The idea’s flat unless it develops an interesting point of view for the reader. Then you need find the writer who can make it happen. Through a load of meetings you have to process a ton of mediocre ideas.

“Like we did one on refrigerators. You learn about a person by their fridge. Champagne in one? Diet food? Leftover pizza? Not everyone’s happy with the coverage. Like our piece on the first ‘Bachelorette’ of color Rachel Lindsay. Had so much attitude but she didn’t like it. She was unhappy. And she let the whole world know.

“This city will come back again. The change could take years for us to pull apart and dissect.”

Welcome to her ‘Jungle’

In ancient civilization — when ladies’ hems covered their navel — “The African Queen” movie existed with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. The idea’s back with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in the new “Jungle Cruise.” The location changed. Now they’re schlepping down the Amazon — the South American river not the delivery service — searching for some ancient tree that has healing powers. A discovery that will change the future of medicine. Lotsa luck. May grouchy Fauci be their pharmacist.

Emily: “It’s like a film you saw growing up. That’s why it feels perfect. It’s infectious.”

Miss Blunt: “To be blunt, ‘infectious’ is the wrong word right now.”

Purr-fect pals

Four-legged companions are family. Mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa’s studio apartment houses 16 cats.

Christina Ricci once bought hers a menorah . . . Paris Hilton’s was named for designer Dolce . . . Even allergic Carol Burnett owned one . . . Animal Fair magazine’s Wendy Diamond: “Celebrities are close to their pets because pets don’t know how famous they are” and reported Kim Cattrall once refused a measly sedan. “Her kittens had to go in a limo.”

Scarlett Johansson’s Gerkin, traveling everywhere with her, had a passport. Per The Globe, Cameron Diaz dreamt people tried to hurt her cat . . . Judy Collins’ black Persians were Midnight and Sunshine . . . Drew Barrymore squatted under a table to feed hers shrimp . . .… Vivica A. Fox: “My Tigger’s stuck up, Snookie’s a lover, and Sheba’s quite talkative.”

Now hear this

These are only my opinions so you needn’t agree with me. But: Could someone stick a fork in Prince Empty and his me-me-me-Meghan?

Also, hasn’t time come to install a toll booth onto Lady Lopez?

Stand-up comic Leighann Lord’s pee on Jeff Bezos: “Listen, if I didn’t have to pay taxes I could go to space too.”

Still locked up at home? Stop grumbling. Read Daniel Silva’s “The Cellist” and John Grisham’s “A Time for Mercy.” Beats any reheated day-old hamburger you’d get at a friend’s house.

Politicians cannot change into animals yet the world’s full of those who are asses and pigs.

And not Only in New York, kids, not only in New York. 

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